I was born in England 1962 and was raised by my mother (Elizabeth, Libby, Liz, Betty), along with my brother Tim, first in the Cotswold’s and then in Stoke-on-Trent. We had a really happy and adventure filled childhood. My mother has always been the biggest teacher in my life, and although she died suddenly in 2009, her influence remains in everything I do. She made life as a child fun happy and exciting. She was very imaginative and always full of wise words. While we had little money, I had a very rich family life.
I fell in love with golf as a young boy and have had a love affair with the game ever since. I have kept a single figure handicap for most of the 40+ years that I have played the game. Since 2006, I have been on a quest to play the top 100 golf courses in the world. That quest has made for great golf adventures and many new friends as I’ve criss-crossed the world seeking out the 100 gems.
I have always been lucky and fallen into new adventures almost by chance. I started out working in a cabaret club as a lighting engineer, which I loved. When the club closed, I was hired as a DJ by some of the biggest nightclubs in and around Stoke-on-Trent, which, as you can imagine, was great fun as a youngster. I then got into fashion almost by accident after a girl in my sociology class told me I should do fashion seeing some of my sketches. So, to get out of studying sociology, I signed up for fashion!
I got into Harrow Art College, received my degree in fashion and moved to Milan. After a couple of designer positions, I became the head designer at Clara Antonini, an Italian Fashion house in Milan.
I then returned to Britain where I did the London Designer shows under my own name, until I realized I had no interest in business, sales or money and was spending far less time actually designing. After working for a while on some design projects and a series of odd jobs, my Mother, who was a Midwife, one day said to me, “you would make a really good nurse”. She was generally always right and probably knew me better than I knew myself back then, so shortly thereafter I found myself applying to nursing school in my 30’s. My Mother was right again, I loved nursing and I was good at it.
To be honest, I would probably still be nursing today had I not met my wife Deirdre in 2000. When we met, she thought she was going to make money selling sandwiches. I thought she was crazy but her enthusiasm and passion for the Subway brand and for life was contagious, and I bought into the dream lock, stop and barrel. We married in 2001, and I put nursing on the back burner to help build the business. Together we have worked hard, along with the efforts of some other great people, to build a successful business and one of which we are both very proud.
I was diagnosed with a lymphoma called Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia (WM) in the summer of 2017. On the negative side, WM is a very rare blood cancer, one that receives very little research funding, and one that currently has no cure. On the positive side, WM can progress slowly, and treatments are improving all the time. I am feeling great, with only minor side effects from WM. I feel extremely fortunate to have access to world class medical care from the team at the Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, and hope to be around for many more years!
I don’t think it would be accurate to say that the WM diagnosis has not impacted me and my family. It’s hard not to be impacted by a diagnosis for a rare and currently incurable disease. What I can say, however, is that WM has not changed my approach to life and living. I’ve always tried to focus on today, and not worry about the past or the future. I have always valued family, and am fortunate to see and spend time with my brother, Deirdre’s brother and sisters, and our nieces and nephews. I am surrounded by people who love me, and whom I love. Life really can’t get much better, despite the WM.