I am a new, or at least, a returning committee member, I was brought up on a small dairy farm in Lincolnshire by my mother and step-father alongside my twin brother and my half brother.
Being on a dairy farm with eventually 70 or 80 milking Friesian cattle I/we were not unused to hard work, frequently having to get up early on a Saturday morning to help milk the cows when the herdsman had his day off. We all went to Louth King Edward Grammar School. I left in 1959 half way through VIth form and joined Lloyds Bank at a small town called Alford eventually moving on to the Boston branch. I have to admit I did not enjoy being a bank clerk giving money away all the time so I left in 1962 and followed my uncle into the meteorological office where I stayed for 41 years, retiring in April 2003.
My first posting was at a small RAF airfield called Strubby where they flew Meteors, Vampires and Canberras. At this stage I was obviously a very junior assistant but through hard work I was eventually promoted to a junior forecasting grade in 1979. I spent most of my career based in Lincolnshire either at Scampton or Waddington but I did also spend 12 years on and off in Germany both as an assistant and later as a forecaster. I suppose my only claim to fame was as the weather forecaster for the Red Arrows at RAF Scampton in the mid-eighties. In 1996 I was promoted and moved to Wattisham Airfield with the Army Air Corp as Senior Met Officer. Apart from two trips to Ascension Island to help boost my pension, I stayed at Wattisham until my retirement.
I retired from the Met Office in 2003 when I reached my 60th birthday. Then you had no choice of staying on until 65! After leaving I could not sit on my backside and do nothing, so I joined the Ambulance Transport service, which I enjoyed immensely. I suppose I enjoyed helping people and also the driving. My only regret was not being taught driving under ‘Blue-Light’ conditions – that would have been fun! December 2007 is when things started to go wrong! I was at the Ambulance Christmas party at the Sicklesmere pub when I started to feel unwell, so I quietly slipped off home. My stomach was sore and no matter what I took it did not get better. So at 07.30 on the Saturday morning I called an ambulance. A crew from Stowmarket turned up and asked ‘Who is it?’ ‘Me’ I said. ‘Ok get in the ambulance’. They gave me an ECG and said ‘You have had a heart attack’. That is when it all starte.That Saturday night I was taken to Papworth and the following Friday 21st December I was under the knife having a triple by-pass. That Christmas Day was the worst I had ever experienced but I distinctly remember waking up on Boxing Day and thinking to myself ‘I feel better today’ – and by the weekend I was on my way home. I did the usual re-hab at WSH and then joined Upbeat around July 2008 and I returned to work with the ambulance service in the August just 6 months after my attack. It could have been earlier if the physio at Ipswich hospital had not gone on holiday and forgotten to give me the ‘all-clear’.
People are frequently commenting that I look brown. It is because I spend most of my holidays since my retirement in Malaysia. I was first introduced to the area when in the Met Office at a base called Labuan in North Borneo in 1965. Since I have been single I have returned at least 9 times in the last 12 years. My favourite destination is a hotel just outside Kota-Kinabalu in Sabah, North Borneo. I have been many times and this year they gave me a wonderful birthday party. At Sepilok in Sabah is the Orang-Utang sanctuary which you may have seen on TV. Paul O’Grady did a short series of programmes from there. I have visited 3 or 4 times, I think they are beautiful animals – such beautiful eyes. The only problem with going to Malaysia is the length of time it takes there and although food is cheap and very good alcohol is relatively expensive, being a predominately Muslim country, so it is always nice to get home for a decent pint of bitter and of course a return to exercising at UPBEAT!!