I was born in Gloucester, 110 miles west of London, England on 7th May 1940. My father was serving his country in the Eighth Army Signals at Alamein, and he returned about the time I started at Kingsholm Infants School. One of his achievements was teaching me to play the ‘tin whistle’ or flageolet, and I built up quite a repertoire. I joined the St Mary de Lode Cub Scouts and also became a choirboy at St. John the Baptist Church in Northgate Street. My father played for the Bohemians’ Cricket Club, and I often accompanied him to matches. Two memorable sixes, where a very solid ball connected with my head put me off cricket for life! However, I played for Sir Thomas Rich's Grammar School rugby team and also for the All Blues Rugby Club, of which my father became Honorary Life President. My Scouting interests continued with appearances in the local Gang Show and achieving my Queen’s Scout award.
I spent a year in North Devon as an unqualified teacher at a preparatory school, where I lived in and did after-school and weekend duties. I enjoyed cycling round the local countryside in my leisure time. Securing a place at St Paul’s College in Cheltenham, I took the opportunity to study Music. As I played the piano only ‘by ear,’ it was a struggle learning to read music, but my experience with the flageolet enabled me to transition smoothly to the recorder. Having achieved the required Teaching Certificate, my lifelong career was launched.at a Gloucester primary school with a class of 35 seven-year-olds in a temporary building nicknamed ‘the hut.’
I joined the basses in the choir at the family Anglican Church, but my way of life fell short of my professed beliefs. I was becoming increasingly aware of my hypocrisy, and a crisis was approaching, in which I had to face up to the truth about my inadequacies. As a Sea Scout leader I went to church parades at the Mariners’ Church and attended church council meetings. The new minister had been an RAF padre and encouraged the church to befriend the scouts. He arranged a party for us, told me he was praying for me and gave me Billy Graham’s book, Peace with God. As I devoured its pages in the summer of 1964 I came to understand that Jesus Christ truly is the Son of God and had died on the cross for me personally. I accepted His forgiveness and my life began afresh as a committed Christian. Patricia, who served on the church council was beautiful with brown eyes and shapely, sun-tanned body. She was the Sister in charge of a female surgery ward at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. We fell in love and married the following year.
First a son and then a daughter were born to us, and Pat took a break from nursing. We moved house and settled in the suburb of Tuffley, where we joined Grange Baptist Church and served in leadership roles. Pat returned to nursing, our son settled in London to develop a musical career and our daughter migrated to Australia after getting married. We visited her frequently and were delighted when she produced a granddaughter for us. Three years later we were in Canberra for the birth of our grandson.
In the course of my career I had special responsibility for Games, Maths, School Journeys, Religious Education, English and French. I accompanied worship in Assemblies and trained the school orchestra. My Spelling Scheme was adopted by the whole school, and to this I added a Tables Scheme. In 1996 I was presented with my 35 years’ Long Service Award as I took early retirement. I continued teaching as a Relief Teacher at numerous local schools until 2001 when I had to bow out with prostate cancer, but through prayer and medical intervention I’m still experiencing healing from this.
In England we supported our elderly parents and Pat nursed each of them in turn through their closing years. Our daughter then encouraged us to settle in Australia. It was a tough decision, leaving our relatives and friends behind, but we maintain contact through social networking, phone-calls and emails. Our son has paid us a couple of visits, but normally lives in London, immersed in the music scene. We migrated here in September 2004 within four months of applying, settling in the Australian Capital Territory, and we love living in this beautiful country. Our daughter has an Accounting Business in Kingston, our son-in-law is an expert builder, our granddaughter has excelled at ice-skating and dancing and our grandson is an academic sportsman. They live near us in Canberra.
As a Registered Nurse, Pat took up her career at medical centres in Wanniassa and Phillip. After we became Australian Citizens in December 2007 she worked for Defence at Russell in Canberra until she experienced a heart attack! We thank God for her miraculous recovery from this, and after a brief ‘retirement’ she resumed employment in Tuggeranong and then Calwell, finally retiring in 2013.
Pat and I have put down roots in C3 Church Monash, where we have found a great host of friends. We started off by volunteering as ‘Greeters,’ then leading a ‘Connect Group’ and later were ordained as Pastors of the 50 plus demographic. For a time we became Connect Pastors, focusing on growing our network of small intimate gatherings of Christians learning how to do life better. Currently we are leading our own Connect Group. Besides church tasks I’ve found plenty to keep me interested including holidays and activities with my wife Patricia, daughter Deb and son-in-law Andy, exploits with our grandchildren Gemma and Charlie, work around the house, gardening, emailing, swimming, cycling, Toastmasters and even book writing.