What do fountain pens and top flight football managers have in common?
Not a lot, you may think. Not unless your name is Kirit Dal.
Mr Dal, of Two Mile Ash, designs bespoke fountain pens – receiving commissions for people from all walks of life including the president of Tanzania and Roberto Mancini, the former manager of Manchester City Football Club.
He was also asked to design a pen gift set to mark Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement as manager of Manchester United FC but had to turn it down because he was too busy.
Mr Dal works in the stationery department at John Lewis, where his interest in designing pens and pen nibs began.
He said: “I like writing and wanted to encourage others to enjoy the love of writing.
“I then started designing pens as a hobby about two years ago, and it’s grown from there.
“I work for several of the leading manufacturers who recommend my work.
“For instance I was recommended to and approached by the Italian Embassy in London to design a pen for Mr Mancini in recognition of his footballing excellence.
“When I had completed the pen I was invited to Manchester City’s ground to meet Mr Mancini, spending the day with him. We had lunch and I met and watched the team in training.
“I am not a football fan, but took along my son who is. We had a great day out.”
Mr Dal, who is also media spokesman for BAPS, the Hindu centre based in Milton Keynes, is currently working on a new project in partnership with Harrods.
It is a commission by the luxury goods department to create pens to be donated to school pupils to encourage children’s handwriting.
He added: “The art of handwriting is dying out, particularly with children using computers more and more in the classroom. So this is to encourage handwriting and something I am particularly inspired by. Part of the Hindu ethos is ‘In the joy of others’ giving back to society. This is what is important to me.”
Mr Dal has also received commissions from the Swedish ambassador to England and businessmen in the Middle East, including a pen made from mother-of pearl, costing $1.5m.
Mr Dal was born in Kenya but sent to England to complete his education, and after going to university worked as an agricultural economist.
He initially lived and worked in London before moving to Milton Keynes 12 years ago.