I have been interested in Astronomy from a very early age and I was influenced and encouraged by my mother to engage in the hobby. At secondary school there was a small astronomy interest group run by our Physics Teacher Mr Nichols which I attended regularly where Mr Nichols introduced us to the fascinating subject of astronomy. Astronomy was not on the school curriculum at the time.
In 1975 whilst still at school I joined Wolverhampton Astronomical Society to further my interest. During those early years I had the opportunity to study and complete Astronomy at “O” Level examination through private tuition. In 1976 I achieved my o level astronomy, a full one year before I took my own CSE exams at school. I enjoy announcing that the only o level I have is in Astronomy!
I remained with WAS for some 35 years and took part in the running of the Society taking positions on the Council of Secretary, president, and editor and gave occasional talks to the group.
In 1993 I travelled to the USA to visit Florida and the Kennedy Space Center as an amateur reporter for Wolverhampton AS Newsletter to cover the first Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission. And in 2001 I organised a day long astronomy conference at Wolverhampton Science Park to celebrate the Society’s 50th anniversary.
In 1990 I was present at the formation of the Midlands Spaceflight Society (MSS). This group was to further my interest in the space exploration side of my astronomical interest. MSS was set up by David J Shayler and the late Andy Salmon. Since 1993 I have been editor of the MSS Newsletter CAPCOM. In 2016 I re-joined the British Interplanetary Society following several years of absence from the group. And in 2020 under the suggestion and encouragement of David Shayler I had my first paper published in the BIS Chronicle space history magazine.
For my professional career in 1977 I joined South Staffordshire Waterworks Company as an Office assistant in accounts. Then in 1983 I changed direction and took a draftsmanship job with the same Company after studying draftsmanship in my own time. In 1990 after achieving a HNC in Civil Engineering I joined British Rail Civil Engineering department. I had the opportunity to experience different roles in the department but eventually, and after reorganisation I settled on a Maintenance Planning role. With this role I worked in Birmingham, Gloucester and Worcester before moving to Network Rail Stourbridge Maintenance Depot in 2009. After 38 years in the Rail Industry in 2018 I took early retirement to take the opportunity to follow my own interests.