I was born in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, the son of a cotton mill labourer and a farm worker. I am married to Jackie, who loves golf and is passionate about everything she does, with 2 sons, Philip (35) a business owner and war gaming addict, and Craig (34), a sports and arts fanatic.
My first real experience of independence came at University in London when, after 18 years at home, I arrived to find no accommodation and had no telephone access to home! My career meant living in Scotland, St Helens, Milton Keynes and Harlow as well as Yorkshire. I had great new experiences in the real world and met good people everywhere.
I was shocked in 1988 when I found that Craig had an incurable disease, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and that he was only expected to live to 15/20 years of age. Through determination, he has survived way beyond that age, now has a degree, is a music concert goer and a sports fan.
I am currently a Director of Vanguard Retail Limited, my sons business, and HCT Business Manager. I spend my spare time watching sport (especially football and cricket), eating out, at the cinema and theatre, and sharing time with my very young grandchildren. I like to travel widely in the world and have been privileged to see amazing sights and meet wonderful people.
Most importantly, I am a committed Christian, which now provides the framework of my life.
I want us to help all young people to enjoy living, to get the most they can from life, to maximise their abilities and opportunities and to think worldwide with a “can do” attitude. At the same time I think it is important for them to know how lucky we are in England, to know that we are there for them when needed and to support them as they develop their lifestyles, beliefs and thinking.