I lived in Ashburton Avenue and attended Mayfield School for Boys from 1949 to 1951, when I passed the Late Developers Exam. I continued my studies at the South East Essex Technical School until 1954 when I took the GCE ‘O Level’ exams, then passed on to the Technical College in the same complex, training to become a commercial artist. I left in 1959 with a Diploma in Design.
While at college, my former art teacher of the Technical School invited me to join a group of pupils on a trip to Florence and surroundings to visit museums and beautiful sights. It was here that I met my future brother-in-law. The following year, he invited me to stay at his home for a few days during another holiday that I had arranged in Italy, this time to include Milan and Venice. It was on this occasion that I met his sister Anna Maria. We married in 1961, even before I had started a career. I was working then as an assistant nurse at Goodmayes Hospital. I had applied to work in a hospital as an alternative to military service as I had been recognised as a conscientious objector. After the completion of this term of duty in 1962 we moved to Italy to set up home with my in-laws. I was lucky to find work with a stained-glass firm in the same year, and I have been designing stained-glass windows for churches ever since. I have been a pensioner for some years but I still work a little, because an artist never puts down his brushes. We have two sons and three grandchildren. We have been living in Campi Bisenzio, close to Florence, since 1972. As an extra activity, I collaborated with my wife and a number of volunteers to establish a small consumers cooperative, opening up in 1991 the very first fair-trade shop in Florence. Our cooperative, through a scheme called CowFund involving young people, also supports microcredit projects in various poor countries throughout the world.
I am grateful to Paul Wiltshire who sent me two photos of drawings from his autograph book, made by me when we left South Park Junior School to go to Mayfield.
The following photos are of portraits I painted of my three grandchildren Giorgia, Maria Laura and Eric.