I graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University in 1993 with a Bachelor in Education specialising in Design Technology. Tracey and I then permanently moved down to Devon where I started my career in management.
I started managing a hugely popular public house in an equally popular tourist village. Here I learned quickly the fine art of managing people and customers. I settled into the restaurant side of the business, organising events and themed evenings. I managed to satisfy my passion for art with designing and making props for some of the outlandish themed evenings.
After a brief spell of running our own cultural shop with Tracey, a spot of supply teaching and still holding down the bar job, I then went onto work in an advertising agency as a graphic designer. Learning the ropes quickly, I soon became the studio manager, running a team of designers, creating adverts for newsprint and magazines. This was a great change, as I was able to get more involved in designing again.
Having learnt about graphic design and the associated computer programs, Tracey then put me to work for the charity at evenings and weekends, designing logos, stationary, leaflets, posters, certificates and anything else she thought of. This seems to be a never ending job with something always needed for Dogs Helping Kids.
Three years ago, 2009, I changed my career and had an opportunity to make use of my teaching degree and became a general subjects teacher at Chelfham Mill School, a special behavioural school. I have been very lucky in my present role with heading up the art department for the school, fueling my passion for all things arts and crafty. I have learnt a lot about education and behaviour in the time I have been at school and it has proved valuable with supporting Tracey and the charity.
I qualified as a Solicitor in 1964. I spent many years in local government with my career ending as Town Clerk of the City of London Corporation. After retirement I have held the following posts: Member of the Council of Tribunals, Member of the Adjudication Panel for England, Chair of Westcountry Ambulance Service, Chair of Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee and Chair of North Devon Primary Care Trust.
Now that I am fully retired, I am happy to support, as a Trustee, a charity which helps children to improve their abilities with help from fully trained dogs, who give a new dimension to the children's lives.
After many years of living and working in London, the pull to live in North Devon was too great and I left the corporate world behind. The desire to have my own dog finally happened in 2007. When the timing was right, the big decision on the type of dog was made and Maisie entered into my life.
I first met Tracey through puppy training, then advanced puppy training and finally dog agility. After being a novice in the dog world, my eyes were opened by Tracey and her great team on how dogs operate, their needs and how to recognise their signals. Through walking Maisie I started to notice how many children were scared of dogs and this I have found to be very disappointing as I was brought up with dogs and I never feared an animal, to the extent of screaming and running away. So when Tracey asked me to be a Trustee of Dogs Helping Kids I felt honoured.
My background is corporate sourcing, business communications and PR. I have extensive organizational experience in many different types and sizes of businesses globally. My role within Dogs Helping Kids is to help with anything that is thrown my way!