I was born in Castleford, West Riding of Yorkshire, in a private maternity home. It cost £10, no NHS then and I still have the bill. My father was called up soon after my birth and I did not see him again for several years. He had a good war he, survived. He trained as a pilot in Hollywood USA, meeting many British stars he then moved to Middleton St. George flying Wellington Bombers with the Canadian 420, Snowy Owl Sqn. Here he flew missions to France and Germany moving to Africa to bomb Italy. He was promoted on finishing his tour. and moved to a flying school where my mother and I joined him we billeted on a farm with giant, but gentle carthorse called Dobbin.
After leaving Willow Park Infant and Junior School, Pontefract, with the best school lesson that was recorded as playtime. I then moved up the secondary school. This was built during the 19th Century as a Militia Building, troops from here march out and went to Featherstone and opened fire on striking miners, killing a poor woman hanging out her washing. My father went to the same building but by it was a Grammar school. By the time I went it was a secondary school. Opposite its Great Double studded Doors across the road a very old ancient stone cottage. This was where father and his two siblings where born. We moved to Selby in my final term and left school at Christmas1955.
I started the very next week for a very old firm of W.E Smith, 8 The Crescent, Selby. Seedsman. I stayed there for 9 months earning £2 3s 9p for a 48hr week over 5 ½ days. Then I joined the West Riding Council Highway and Bridges Department as an Apprentice Stone Mason, for £3 7s 6p of a 44-hr week over 5 days. A part of my training was to attend technical college at York, there I met the late great Bill Holland, Master Mason, Foreman Mason at York Minister. He taught me a lot, he set me work which he took to use in the minister itself. I then worked then of Castleford and the Pontefract Corporations, A last working on the castle. By this time, I had moved back to Pontefract got married and started a family. Years of working stone had taken a toll on my shoulders and I had to give up the tools.
I then had a wide variety of different jobs all adding a new skill or area of knowledge or point of contact. Or a new experience. for example, I was once working at a flour mill, I was on the top of the mill having a smoke when a Cooling tower drop to the ground than another one. Also at this time I had developed a interest in youth work and became a part time paid youth leader and undertook training to get the West Riding Certificate of Part time Youth Work, which under Sir Alex Clegg was a much valued qualification to have.
My wife wasn’t too keen on Pontefract and didn’t care too much about the developing rumours about Poulson and connections with the council. We decide to move to Saltburn where Betty had Family. So, in 1969 I started to work for I.C.I Wilton. The work was light, and the pay was very good indeed. After a time, I became unsettled and tired of been treat as a child by the management I started to look to the future. I needed new base. On the advice of a neighbour I started to attend Cleveland Technical College at Redcar, where in 15 months I gained 1 A level and 5 O levels and applied for Durham University. I was accepted and after qualifying I did several jobs until a found work with Cleveland County Social Services as a Care Officer at Farndale Child Care Centre. I was place in the Remand Unit, But I steady rose through the ranks to Unit Leader, Gaining both social work and management qualifications as well a hill walking qualification.
About this time, I became interested in local affairs. as it appeared to me the then Borough Council appeared to be out to destroy then fabric of Saltburn. So, I stood for a place on my Parish Council, which I did at the second attempt. I was invited to join the Community Network, becoming in its Chair for many years, sitting on the L.S.P. and other committees and at the request of the Borough Council I took the Chair of the Older Peoples Partnership. At the same time I became the same time the Chair of Cleveland Local Council Association, with a place on the then National Council now the National Assembly as well as serving on the Policy Committee as well acting on working parties with Parliament to increase the influence of the sector. Over a ten-year period, I chaired the Saltburn Gill Action Group. A group of people who did the impossible and solved the severe pollution of the gill. When the Council said it could not be done.
I am also active within the Training Partnership of North East Area Town & Parish Councils and the Northern Region of Local Councils. I am also active member several national and local organisations and have many interest, all legal. Including local and family history. I contributed to the Talk of the Town, Saltburn’s famed community magazine.