It is a real pleasure to be able to introduce myself as a new trustee of the NCCF. It is my first appointment of this kind and, as such, I am still finding my feet. I am looking forward to developing a role that serves the community which, of course, will take a little time.
I was born in Colchester, Essex a few months before England won the world cup for the one and only time in our history. I was born at home, as was the fashion in those days, and the story goes that it was the doctor who suggested the name of William. The name obviously stuck and I enjoyed a happy childhood with my three siblings.
My father had married quite late in life and I recall seeing pictures of his in his RAF uniform. Everything was great until my father developed cancer and passed away at the age of 59. It was whilst I was listening to the Eulogy at his funeral that the full extent of his experiences became known to me. At the tender age of 19, my Dad had found himself sitting in the rear cockpit of a Lancaster bomber over occupied Europe. He flew a total of 42 missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
The upshot of his death was that my mother was left to bring up four children. She did a great job and we have all gone on to lead happy and productive lives. My Mum developed Parkinson’s disease in her fifties, and I found myself increasingly taking on the role of her carer as her condition worsened. One thing I learned out of that experience was the heavy price that carers pay in terms of their life balance and physical and emotional health. I researched the effects of carer syndrome and have written two books as a result.
Most of my career was spent in what was HM Customs and Excise. I had a varied and enjoyable time as a Customs officer and later I became a trainer. It was during my trainer days that I first met Nigel Heaps. I spent a lot of time training with Nigel and I recall tasting his home-made wine on more than one occasion. At his retirement event, Nigel sold me on the idea of becoming involved in the NCCF.
I now live in Derbyshire. I am married to Mel and we have two children and three grandchildren. Our son is also in the RAF and has just spent four months training in the Falklands. We love living in the area and are keen walkers, taking full advantage of living so close to the Peak District.
I see a very important future for the community as it serves its members. I believe that the cutting- edge medical research being funded will continue to reveal the full effects of the nuclear testing carried out decades ago. Anyway, that’s a little about me and I look forward to meeting many of you at future events.