At the age of 13, I had a large paper round, before going to school. After school, I mopped supermarket floors, stacked shelves and spent the rest of the evening peeling and chopping potatoes, for the local chip shop. I also spent 2 – 3 hours a week as a runner for the fruit and vegetable van, who used to visit the estate. Even at this early age, I was determined to make a better life for myself.
At 16, I joined the British Army with my cousin Melvin. This decision was made after having a brief chat with an older gentleman who told us that the Army was really exciting, challenging and mostly outdoors. He also mentioned that the Army gave you 3 meals a day, a uniform to wear, a roof over your head and a comfy bed. To be honest, I was sold at the 3 meals a day, but he was `fibbing` a little, when he mentioned a comfy bed!
Eight months after joining the Army, Melvin tragically died from a heart condition; he was only 17 years old at the time. This sad event taught me a powerful lesson, early in life and I vowed to live my life to the maximum and always strive to be as happy and as content as possible.
During my career, I quickly learnt how to coach and guide others to be healthy, happy and successful. Following a stint as a Paratrooper, I qualified as a Physical Training Instructor, in 1991. I loved the fact that I could assist others, achieve their optimum health, fitness and wellbeing. Delivering exciting and engaging physical training sessions to work colleagues and friends, was a brilliant way to help others.
My interest in team and individual competitive sports increased. I trained hard and developed myself in various sports such as Athletics, Decathlon, Rugby, Boxing, Triathlon and Gymnastics and went on to represent the Armed Forces in nearly all of them. I thoroughly enjoyed the participation and ethos of team representative sports, but I also relished the personal individuality and steely eyed focus required, when you’re a lone boxer in the boxing ring. Coincidently, my own psychology when alone in the boxing ring, with just the referee and the other boxer, was at its infinite peak at this time. I never ever allowed myself to contemplate losing. The thought wasn’t allowed to enter my mind, and I retired from the boxing ring years later as an undefeated heavy weight boxing champion. The thought of failure in front of my friends, family and work colleagues was a huge motivator for me.