I Lost my sight aged ten from a firework accident near my home in Hackney.
I was probably going to pass my 11 plus but was more interested in sport than my schooling and both my education and sporting life massively changed on that day in November 1960.
Initially I had some sight left and then I attended a football match and I wanted to make a lot of noise to support so blew a trumpet (which I was studying) and the pressure of blowing the trumpet, haemorrhaged the back of the eye and detached my retina and I woke up totally blind aged 13.
I eventually got sent to a boarding school and then was told that “people like me, did either shorthand, audio typing or telephony!”
So I went for shorthand and qualified and started work in the Civil Service which I hated as I wasn’t very civil or anyone’s servant.
Over the next six years I studied for 2 “A” levels and having got them via evening classes and correspondence courses, I decided that I was not as thick as I or others thought and decided to see if I could branch out and applied to go on a CQSW social work course.
Nobody in my family had gone to Further education and of course all was in print with little in braille or audio.
I qualified and got a job in London Borough and then got promoted to manager, I then left to manage an assessment unit in a secure unit for adolescent girls!
Following this I became an area manager in a third London Borough and then I moved to my last borough where I ended up as an Assistant Director for Children’s services.
I then gave this up to set up VISION 2020 UK and retired from that job in 2012.
Since then I have written two books, undertaken dozens of after dinner speaking engagements for charity and served as a trustee or Director of numerous charities, bodies or companies.
My parallel career has been in sport -competing and managing.
I represented Britain at the first Winter Paralympic Games in 1976 skied in a further 4 games, then managed in a further 9!
I have been chair of BBS, Set up and chaired the British Paralympic Association, and now serve on the DFT’s transport advisory committee.
I was a member of the 2012 bid team in Singapore bidding for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, and then served as a full member of LOCOG UNTIL 2009 WHEN I STOOD DOWN AS CHAIR OF THE BPA.
Lots more but is that enough?
My two books are “Where There’s A Will” and “Don’t Ask Me, Ask the Dog”.
I was also featured on the programme “This is Your Life” with Aemon Andrews.