I live in the Cathedral Close, Lichfield. I’ve lived here since 2014 and am lucky to live in such a beautiful and historic place. I volunteer at Erasmus Darwin House on the edge of The Close. I work at Lichfield Cathedral School as Chorister Matron to the Cathedral Choristers and part-time as a graphic designer.
I am also an artist, and although I haven’t done any artwork for a while I will be starting again some time very soon.I’m single, gay and have also been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.
I have always loved outdoor pursuits and spent a lot of my time in my teens and twenties caving, mainly in the Staffordshire and Derbyshire Peak District, but sometimes further afield as in this photo of me in Swildon’s Hole in Somerset.We spent much time exploring and searching for caves which had never been seen before such as some we found in the Manifold Valley in North Staffordshire.
I’ve had a very varied career. I trained and qualified as a graphic designer but soon after qualifying I joined Staffordshire Police where I worked for several years. A complete change led to training as a journalist and working for the BBC for several years before redundancy in 2002.I then set up as a self employed designer before moving to Lichfield and my current job as Chorister Matron at Lichfield Cathedral School.
Having stopped exploring underground in my twenties I then took to exploring some of the wilder mountain areas.I walk and climb in the mountains of Snowdonia but have also visited the Swiss and French Alps many times. Here I am half way up the almost vertical cliff above the village of Les Vigneaux in the Ecrin National Park in France.
A violin illustration I created in Xara, from my own violin.Ii took a long time to create . You can see some of the complexity by hovering your mouse over the image.This reveals the wire-frame view of the layers which made up the finished illustration.
I was born at my Gran’s house in Sheldon in 1959 and lived there with my parents until my sister Caroline was born. It was my favourite place to go at weekends and during holidays after we moved to Brownhills in 1964, right up until my gran moved in with us many years later.Me in September 1959, probably my Christening.
After my cousin Angela’s Christening, at my Gran’s.I still have the bureau behind!
A formal portrait photo of me and my sister Caroline who I was holding tightly as it was a slippery table!
We lived at Brownhills for five years and that’s where I started my schooling.Three doors up the road lived Martin who became my best friend and in fact we remained friends for many, many years, starting caving together in 1977. We lost touch after we stopped caving so much but I saw Martin occasionally for a drink. Sadly he passed away in 2015.
Martin’s mother and father, my grandad, mom, me, Caroline and Martin in Sutton Park, 1966. Dad was taking the photo. I remember it.
In 1967 we moved to Rugeley, where I lived until moving to Lichfield. In our late teens, Martin, my sister Caroline and I started caving in the Peak District. This grew into a small group which steadily expanded as we gained experi-ence. Trent Valley Caving Group lasted for many years.The photo left is me in the Wagon Gate of Hillocks Mine.
Excavating Darfar Ridge Cave, First pitch in P8 and caving in Hillocks Mine.
In 1987 I joined Staffordshire Police where I served until I faced a lot of problems when I ‘came out’ as being gay.I really enjoyed my years in Staffordshire Police and it might have continues had it not for the very real problems which arose once they knew I was gay.However, it made me a stronger person and I don’t regret what happened at all.
Policing the parade in 1992.
From 1995 started working for the BBC at Pebble Mill in Birmingham. After leaving Staffordshire Police I went for some careers advice and ended up working for the Careers Service for six months! At the same time, I met John and through his advice gained a place on a media journalism course which got me in to the BBC at Pebble Mill in Birmingham.I worked on Countryfile, Good Morning with Anne & Nick, Midlands Today, the Press Office and then the News Video Library before working in the newsroom again helping set up BBC Birmingham Online and then looking after their arts coverage. I was made redundant at Easter 2002. I loved all my time working for the BBC.
Soon after redundancy from the BBC in March 2002, dad became very ill. In fact, I finished on Thursday before Easter Day and dad was taken ill on Saturday and rushed to Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor. He was diagnosed with cancer and died later that summer.I went straight from working for the BBC to tak-ing over from dad, mom didn’t drive. I set myself up as a graphic designer again and mom and I spent several years going back to the caravan in North Wales regularly and climbing and walking when the weather was good, I loved those years together. Mom became ill in 2012, diagnosed with demen-tia and then an aggressive cancer, She died in 2013.
Dealing with a consumer societyBlog post July 2012A polite smile and “No, thank you” are all it takes when you answer a knock at the door to be greeted by someone with a badge and a clipboard. Well, that’s all it usually takes anyway. Sometimes they respond by INSISTING that they are not selling anything, when you know full well that they are. Then a slightly more abrupt approach is needed. …Read more (External link to WordPress Blog)Being autistic in the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic lockdownBlog post May 2020The period we are all living through in this Covid-19 pandemic is proving to be a steep learning curve for everyone. Life has changed beyond anything we could have dreamed of even just a few months ago. …Read more (External link to WordPress Blog)The discovery in Darfar Ridge CaveBlog post June 2020… After some discussion back at Wetton Mill we decided that the only dig worth pursuing now was the passage which Martin had noticed in Darfar Ridge Cave the previous year. We had spent some time then digging a small low passage to a tight bend which we could not quite get to.Read more (External link to WordPress Blog)Building bridges – being gay in the policeBlog post June 2020As a direct result of the treatment I received from my police force I have thought long and in depth about the issues raised. When I first joined the police service as a special constable back in 1987 I knew full well that I was gay but my sexuality was pushed into the background, my prime concern at that time was my career, I hardly ever thought about my sexuality.Read more (External link to WordPress Blog)