John’s history with St Loye’s goes back nearly 50 years having trained at the charity’s former site on Topsham Road in Exeter straight from school in 1963, before retraining in a new course 30 years later!
He started a course training to be a draftsman in ’63, but being paralysed on one side meant John could not hold the rulers steady with one hand so he switched to a woodworking course.
He said: “I was making joints better with one hand than those with two hands.” Nevertheless, because opportunities were not quite so equal in those days, he was advised that his disability would make it unlikely he would get past the interview stage and secure a job in the trade.
Undaunted, John took a bookkeeping course, passed a number of exams and worked for the next 28 years as a bookkeeper before redundancy led him back to St Loye’s in 1993. This time, he took a computer skills course and passed enough exams to land a job with the Devon & Cornwall Police where he worked for the next 15 years before his retirement.