There is no mistaking the unparalleled focus and commitment Giles Hilton displays when talking about subjects and causes close to his heart. It is clear this approach, let us call it the ‘Hilton Method’ has guided him personally and professionally through his life. Testament to this is the number of people from all walks of life who volunteered a singular voice of approval and support for his nomination for inclusion in the Queen’s Honours List.
To understand the man behind the award we need to focus on a part of his life that can be regarded as a microcosm of the wider word in which he inhabits. So, Giles Hilton Chairman of Canterbury RFC it is. Not one to sit in an air-conditioned office issuing edicts to subordinates, Giles is often found weeding and watering the 1st XV pitch, working the bar, supporting club staff, raising prizes and eyebrows when giving pre and post-match speeches. There is hardly a day of the year you will not see Giles at the club. His energy and charisma pervades all, and his kindness of spirit sets the bar for other around him.
Giles leads from the front. He motivates and inspires in equal measure bringing people along with him and focuses them on the common goal of making the club not only a club that plays competitive rugby, but also one that has a very clear place and purpose in the community. His vision for the club is clear and one that he has articulated numerous times over the last 16 years. The principles established then still ring true now, to become a top club in Kent, to enable every player to reach their full potential, at whatever level and to reach out into the community to support everyone into sport. Diversity and inclusivity are central tenants to achieving his and the club’s ambitions. This has allowed Giles to introduce many forms of the game to the club including Wheelchair and Touch, both having players that have represented GB and England at the highest level.
Giles has always put people at the centre and goes out of his way to ensure all, from current players, ex-players, staff, and club members are supported and never have to feel alone in times of hardship or difficulties in their lives.
Giles’ tenure has always been one of striving for continual development whether it is getting the club to the 3rd tier of English Rugby, or improving the facilities the club offers its players, staff, members, and visitors.
Giles takes pride in the club’s standing on the local community and puts huge effort into fundraising for those less fortunate and very much embodies Canterbury RFC’s One Club ethos.
Giles is widely respected across the board at a club that he has dedicated a large portion of his life to. Supported by his wife Phillipa, their two sons, family and innumerable friends, Giles has applied the Hilton Method, and it has worked.
On a closing note, if you do bump into Giles, I will wager he will tell you that the honour bestowed on him is fantastic for the clubs he represents, before acknowledging it is his name in front of the prestigious letters.
Congratulations Giles Hilton MBE.