Jake’s baby Break
PUBLISHED: 11:11 16 May 2013 | UPDATED: 11:11 16 May 2013
Sitting with his feet up on the desk and casually reclined in his chair, Jake Humphrey is tired.
Three days ago he was in South Korea, now he is in Norwich, ignoring the jet-lag and enthusiastically trying to persuade people to part with their cash for Break, the charity which he so passionately supports.
“I am always jet-lagged but you have to push through. It is rubbish for my wife Harriet, because I come home and I haven’t seen her for a while, but by 8pm I am falling asleep on the sofa and then I am wide away at 4am; it is hardly romantic,” he laughs.
It has been a momentous year for Stoke Holy Cross boy Jake – not least because he fulfilled a long-held dream of presenting the BBC’s London 2012 coverage.
“I was doing hand-overs to Sue Barker and Clare Balding, and I just kept thinking what am I doing here? It was madness.
“One of the greatest moments for me was walking out into the Olympic Park for the first time before the Games even began, I couldn’t believe what we had created.”
Did he enjoy the popstar-like adulation he received when he presented the evening coverage from the roof top overlooking the park?
“For the first time I was doing a television programme which completely connected to a live audience. I loved being on that roof, the atmosphere and response was absolutely amazing, it was buzzing,” says Jake, who went to Framingham Earl High School and Hewett School in Norwich.
For someone who is on our screens so often, he remains refreshingly unchanged by the attention.
“I felt the Games gave us all a bit of a reality-check, with our morals, with the people who we put on pedestals,” he says.
“We are guilty of celebrating mediocrity, where people are famous for being famous, for not having achieved anything.
“Suddenly we saw these real people who are not megastars, who get very little money, are not glamorous or lauded in celebrity magazines, yet for two weeks it was their moment.
“Mind you, I felt a huge sense of responsibility, like I was the conduit for their big moment - what if I messed it up?”
Jake says he will never forget presenting the live coverage in the velodrome when Sir Chris Hoy won his sixth gold medal.
“I was with Mark Cavendish and it was the point when Chris Hoy overtook Steve Redgrave as the greatest British Olympian ever. The atmosphere was like nothing I have ever experienced.”
Was he aware that he and Cavendish created their own Olympic golden moment?
“The kiss?” he laughs. “During the day they were doing a kiss-cam among the spectators (it wasn’t shown as part of the coverage), so when I kissed Cav, I didn’t actually think it would go out on television.”
This year marks perhaps the most momentous chapter in Jake’s life yet - he is set to become a dad for the first time in March.
“I am just so excited. I have just been staring at the scan picture all the time I’ve been away.”
He says his Norfolk-born wife Harriet, daughter of former head of Great Yarmouth High School Ivan Pegg – who he married five years ago at Caistor St Edmund church - was relieved he would be around for the last few weeks of pregnancy.
“She hates me being away, so it is great I am around when the baby arrives.
“I don’t want to be a dad who is never there. When I am 60, I don’t want my kid saying ‘he’s a great presenter, but I couldn’t tell you what he was like as a dad.”
He has plenty of parents-to-be around him for advice – his brother and sister are both having babies around the same time, as is his close friend, television and radio presenter Fearne Cotton.
“We are meeting up with Fearne soon to plan their futures together,” he laughs. “And I am definitely doing NCT classes.”
In the summer he starts his new job, presenting premiership football for the new BT Vision channel, but despite being a mad football fan he admits he will miss the adrenalin of F1.
“I do worry that nothing will ever beat the excitement of it, but I needed a new challenge. This was a combination of a dream job at a perfect time in my life, enabling me to be at home, and I am just so excited about it.”
His visit to The Forum in Norwich this time was to launch an exciting new initiative that he hopes will raise thousands of pounds for Break, which supports children, young people and families across East Anglia and for which he is patron.
“It is always a humbling experience meeting the young people the charity helps. They are amazing kids.
“But life is really difficult for all charities at the moment, so we are launching our special Go Go Gorillas which will soon start popping up everywhere.
“A business, or several business together, can sponsor one of these big gorillas and it can be designed how they want and then will go on display in the city.”
With family and friends still living around the Norwich area and his local charitable commitments - he is also trustee for the Norfolk Community Sport’s Foundation - he reveals that a move back to the county he loves so much is not out of the question.
“Actually I am thinking about moving back to Norfolk. I want a really nice rural upbringing for my child. I want them to enjoy the countryside, to be able to bomb off on their bikes on Saturday morning, or to take them to the beach. All the things I did as a child.
“I really want them to have that strong connection with where they are from like I have.”
And is he planning to give the baby a racing driver inspired name?
“I was thinking Kamui Kobayashi,” he laughs. “But I’m not sure Harriet would go for it”
Get up and Go Go!
There are lots of Go Go Gorillas! events happening in the coming months, leading up to the Gorilla trail around the streets of Norwich, starting on Friday, June 21 for 11 weeks, which it is hoped will raise both vital funds and awareness for Break.
Martin Green, project manager for Go Go Gorillas! 2013 says: “This is going to be a massive event for Norwich and we really hope that businesses will embrace this fantastic opportunity to promote their services to a wider audience.
“The opportunities are endless with the use of the latest technology and multiple social media platforms. We can’t wait for the gorillas to hit the streets.”