I was born in Frenchevile (a Normandy name traceable to 1060), S. Yorkshire, on 4th February 1943. Childhood was spent, with younger brother David and sister Margaret, in Killamarsh, before the family moved to Sheffield where we went to school.
I was encouraged to learn piano but it cut down playing out time. I could sing, so I joined Eccleshall Parish Church Choir and became head chorister and soloist. The choir cut a seventy-eight and one side was my solo. A small claim to fame. I was also lead singer with Sheffield Boys Choir and ‘soloed’ with The Halle.
I gave up singing when my voice broke, a mistake which many young people make. I could have had all the help I needed – uncle was a Doctor of Music who set The Royal College of Music exams and my aunt was a talented singer.
After school I attended agricultural college, was apprenticed to a plumber and started a business. Then I got married and needs must, I got a steady job as a bus driver for Sheffield Transport where my grandfather was an inspector. Other jobs included farm bailiff for Sir John Compton-Englefield and herdsman for Lord Emley before I went back to driving.
I’m licensed to drive fork lift trucks, registered as a HGV instructor, qualified as a high crane driver and bandsman (the guy on the ground who tells the crane driver what to do) and I’ve driven everything from small trucks to low loaders, from dumpers to big cats. At one time it seemed all I did was work to provide for my wife and family. NMMVC was a casualty of this period – I was a member in the early nineties but as I was forever having to leave early to be ready for an early start next morning I had to resign.
Life events eventually took their toll, but with help and support, especially from my second wife, Margaret, I’m better.
I’m back in the choir as well, with some pushing from Margaret, and I love it. My personal listening taste ranges from heavy metal and jazz to classical and choral. For the choir though, I prefer the traditional repertoire, but as long as we sing well, I’ll try anything. The choir has developed such a lot and I’m proud to be a part.