“The best reason to start an organisation is to make meaning; to create a product or service to make the world a better place.”
“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”
My home town
I was born in Doncaster in South Yorkshire in 1967. I attended my first Doncaster Rovers match on 8th November 1974 to see Doncaster Rovers get thumped 3:1 at home to Shrewsbury Town. Before John Ryan bought the club there was not much success being a Doncaster Rovers fan. Billy Bremner was manager for a while and we won lower league promotion and I remember the thrill of running on to the pitch after full-time to celebrate winning promotion. A couple of the Rovers players lived in the village where I lived and it was exciting to see them outside of football and also with some of the ladies team, Doncaster Belles. I was not much of a footballer (Captain of the C team).
I have had a number of part-time jobs whilst being a student in Doncaster, including: delivering newspapers (I had 2 rounds on the go at once), labourer for a plasterer (hard work), working in a supermarket where I became a fork-lift truck driver, working in a local pub and delivered milk on a milk round (when milk used to be delivered to the door). I also helped my Mum out cutting cloth for her business! I was later to receive a scholarship from the Clothworkers Foundation.
I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth, I didn't attend a private school, I had a solid Mum who taught me decent common sense values that have remained with me for my whole life. Being born in Doncaster has given me a grounding in the reality of ordinary people. I know that poverty is not a destination and great teaching gives people opportunities in life. I lived through the major industrial disputes of the Steel Strike and the Miners' Strike that ravaged Doncaster and South Yorkshire in the early 1980's. Given this background I am passionate about extending opportunity for others to break into the elite professions. I found it daunting becoming a Barrister, each step of the way I met people confident and familiar with the path whilst my background had not quite prepared me for the life at Middle Temple. The Inn was great providing a mentor, Simon Walsh, who helped bridge the gap for working class kids like me. I am indebted to Simon for explaining the mysteries of the Bar and its etiquette. In 1999 I introduced to BPP Law School a series of scholarships to help widen access to the legal professions. The scheme continues to this day providing either full fees scholarships or partial fees scholarships to students and we regularly provide up to about £1 million in scholarships each year. Since 1999 this scheme has helped over 1,000 Law students to break into the legal profession. The Scholarship that bears my name is awarded to a student who is a first generation law student, educated in the state system and has overcome major obstacles to make it this far.
I played a bit of rugby league whilst at School for the Dons - Doncaster Rugby League team were at that time famously the worst team ever. At 6 foot 3 I was a born rugby player! A TV documentary was created about how bad they were "Another Bloody Sunday" linked below:
I have 5 children; 4 sons and 1 daughter. Two of my children were born on the back seat of my car enroute to the hospital in Ashford. The second time it happened it was reported in the Daily Mail and in local media. At least two of my children are dyslexic which is something they have inherited from me. I have learnt to overcome this by hard work. When I went through my education I did not realise that adjustments could be made for assessments etc for those with dyslexia. How things have changed! I have written this website because I hope it might spur others on to achieve their dreams. Be prepared for others to knock you along the way but don't let dyslexia hold you back. This website was even mocked because I wanted to share my journey with you. When you have come from nothing you have that fire inside of you to want to prove you can achieve. I love the challenge of adversity.