I grew up with my mother and younger brother, following the early death of my father when I was 10 years old. I was always messing about with tools and bikes and knew I wanted to do something technical but wasn’t sure what. I was really into computers; my first computer had 48K and each game took 10 minutes to load from a cassette tape!
After much time at school spent between the computer room and metalwork shop I left school before taking my A levels and started an apprenticeship as an engineer (mainly pipe fitting and electrical installation). I do recall painting a lot of pipe, as well as being sent to the stock room for ‘a long wait’ or ‘left handed widgets’ or my personal favourite, ‘tartan paint’. After surviving 4 years of sustained abuse at the hands of work colleagues I finally received my indenture papers and started an actual job as a project engineer. During this time I worked on some of the most prestigious buildings in the city of London as well as projects all over the country and abroad.
Realising that to progress my career I needed a degree, I applied and won a place at Manchester university (UMIST) to study engineering. It’s funny to be called a mature student at 24! I did enjoy university and would encourage anyone to go, just because it’s part of life rather than for any career benefit. A case in point was that I was unable to get a job using my degree and ended up back on the tools, doing commissioning work. The one advantage this gave me was travel and I went all over world with this job; I’m convinced half the time I was in a plane. I did enjoy this but one day, working on a ship in a Dutch ship yard, I had an accident in which I hit my head and broke a vertebra at the base of my neck. Then followed a difficult operation with several months’ recovery. As another colleague had also been killed in an accident it was time to think about doing something else.
From then I started work at Ford Motor Company and this started me on a different track looking at business improvement and processes. We called this approach ‘System Thinking’ and since then I’ve had contracts with other Blue Chip companies such SUN Microsystems, British Airways and BUPA as well as Government contracts with the Financial Services Authority.
I have spent a lot of this time developing large systems and business projects – some of them multi-million pound and multi-country implementations. While this is good, I’ve always wanted to create something meaningful. With Comparethecoffin.com we hope we have achieved it.
I am a keen scuba diver and qualified instructor – having done over 500 dives. I love cycling both on my own and with the children in the Zigo I helped develop. Also I enjoy extensive travel and home hobbies like baking, cooking and eating!
Comparethecoffin.com is so important to me, not only as a business, but also because this free service will help people at a time when they are not necessarily thinking about value. The choice and guidance we provide will be second to none. We aim to help people make funeral plans for themselves or their loved ones, at their own pace and time and in the comfort and convenience of their own home – hopefully with their family and friends around them.
We pride ourselves that Comparethecoffin.com is a social enterprise and that our ethical philosophy is shared with our coffin manufacturers, our funeral directors and our service partners. We are giving 5% of all our profits to various children’s charities as well as promoting the use of charity-giving in the name of the deceased using tribute websites. For example, giving to a particular charity which was important to the deceased can provide a lasting legacy.
Please feel free to contact me with any suggestions of improvement, or messages of support – we look forward to hearing from you.