From moving from South Africa to the Isle of Man when he was a teenager, to now being happily settled with a family of his own, Garreth Roome has always enjoyed the island’s all-round appeal.
Garreth arrived in the island as a 21-year-old, with the rest of his family, in 1998, and quickly found himself getting involved in the community.
Sport, in particular, was a way for him to make new friends and find new directions. As well as playing hockey, he quickly made his mark on the island’s cricket scene as a fast bowler. The left-armer, who played first for Valkyres Cricket Club and then Castletown CC, won international honours with the Isle of Man team.
His passion for sport has been passed on to two sons, Cameron, 12, and Lucas, seven. Cameron has already played cricket for the island in his age group.
Making it a family affair, you will also find wife Fiona on the boundary edge, helping with the organising and coaching of the junior teams at Castletown.
The island is the perfect place to bring up a family, says Garreth, 42.
‘The Isle of Man provides everything kids should have to grow up,’ he said. ‘The safety, the education, the sports, the outdoors.
‘If you are not too fussy about having to go a bit further to get off the island every now and then , the Isle of Man is a perfect pace for bringing up a family in a reasonably protected environment.’
Originally from Alberton, Gauteng, Garreth’s family moved here at a time of upheaval on a national level in South Africa. It was also a transitional time, on a personal level, for Garreth, who was part way through a university degree.
But juggling his studies with part-time work while he was in South Africa had been difficult, so he opted to go straight into full-time work when he arrived in the island.
As his career in the finance sector has progressed, however, he has worked his way through Association of Chartered Certified Accountants qualifications. There are plenty of opportunities to develop your career in the island, he said.
He recognises the importance of the finance sector as being crucial to the island’s continued economic growth.
But another strength of the island was its size, meaning a strong sense of community – and friendliness.
‘For me, getting involved in sport at the outset was a huge help,’ he said. ‘It immediately gets you meeting people and making friends.
‘That’s an important part of coming to the island. It’s important to get yourself involved. It can be sport; it can be arts or it can be something else.’
Fiona, a teacher, is also a talented musician and plays with the Isle of Man Symphony Orchestra. Aside from following his father’s sporting path, Cameron is also keeping up a family tradition on the musical side, as a member of Rushen Silver Band.
Away from sport and music, Garreth has taken up a new pastime, pyrography, which involves decorating wood with burn marks.
He has even set up a workshop at their Ballasalla home.
‘I find it very relaxing,’ said Garreth. ‘If I am in a creative mind, I can come up with something half decent!’
Whatever your interests and whatever your pastimes, the Isle of Man will have something to offer you, Garreth said, but you have to put in some effort.
‘It’s important to take up some of the many opportunities that living in the Isle of Man can give you,’ said Garreth.
‘There is so much available, both for kids and if you are older. And those opportunities will connect you to a lot of people, which can help you, both in terms of feeling at home and also in your career.
‘The Isle of Man is a very special place if you do that.’