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To start with could you just tell me just a little bit about your disability or health issue?

Well I born with cerebral palsy or spasticity as they used to call it in my day when I
was born. Em I think cerebral palsy sounds a better word. I was born on a farm out in
the Fens, right in the middle of nowhere, born at home apparently... obviously there
wasn’t the scans and equipment and what we have nowadays cos I was born in
1957 so me parents had no idea I was going to be born cerebral palsy and a part of
cerebral palsy is caused by the lack of oxygen when you are born anyway. Em... and
as I was born at home obviously there was a bit of a lack of time in getting from
home to a hospital... and er.... my father who was a farmer, he wanted obviously the
best for his son, the best treatment which is brilliant and em... the doctors at the
surgery where I was born at Ramsay, our local doctor said that they wanted, said
that the best place to go was Great Ormond Street which is NHS, National Health
Service, and that’s where I went. Fortunately I didn’t have to have to spend too much
time there and I’ve only, i haven’t had an operation since 1968 which is quite good
going and the operations I have had are just in my arm, to move my hand around, to
straighten me hand because it would have got dislocated how it was before and I’ve
got some stitches here on me arms, both arms and I think I had my tendons in my
legs loosened because, so I wasn’t so stiff and until 19... until I was 50 I was walking
on crutches... but obviously as I got older it got harder and harder to walk and to be
honest most of the time I have gone around on my knees and falling over but this is
quite a natural progression of people with cerebral palsy obviously as they get older
the disability just gets a bit worse and now I’m permanently in an electric wheelchair
which took a bit of adjusting but then again how bad I was walking anyway I couldn’t
carry on like that... I was driving up to about 7 or 8 years ago and when I had the car
obviously I can’t get in and out of a car now but we could have a bus.....[?] to drive,

em so I rely a lot on taxis quite a bit me, wife is in a wheelchair as well, and er.... now
we have to have, well have to have carers but we went, as I say it was only till I was
about 50 that we had to have carers and I’m 58 now so we were totally independent
as long as we could be but it just got too much and now have to have a carer to sort
of get me out of bed in the morning and to put me to bed at night, but everything else
we can do ourselves once we are dressed in chairs and that’s how we are today
So going back a bit what was it like growing up on a farm?
Well, as I might tell you later I spent most of my time at boarding schools cos that’s
how it was with disabled people in the early 60s, and they hadn’t got the adaptions
what they’ve got in schools nowadays, in mainstream schools, so I spent a lot of time
away and when I came home, it was very isolated and cause obviously we never
had a bus service I don’t think and right out in the middle of the Fens there’s no
facilities at all, though I was a bit more able when I could get in and out of my dad’s
car and everything, but I did find summer holidays quite long. At me actual school
which I will talk about a bit later they actually gave us tricycles which I used to bring
home and go around the Fens as long as it’s flat! On these tricycles they had in
those days. I just had to have my feet strapped on. And to be honest I spent most of,
well all my life, most well I can’t say all my life, the majority of my life, away from the
How did you find being away? Because it sounds like that was, that gave you more
freedom but also you were away from your family so how did that balance?
Well I think if I had been home all the time, I think I might have been less
independent because me mum did tend to spoil me and help me get dressed and do

a lot of things and I am naturally a little bit lazy to be honest and I let her to do, to do
it so of course when I went to boarding school and away you had to do as much as
you can yourself and we had physiotherapy as well to try to, to, going and er... so
that was a good thing but the other thing not so good obviously you don’t know
people where you live and you didn’t have friends, you know, most, well all my
friends really were friends from school not from where I lived, not being able to go to
a mainstream school.
Did you have brothers or sisters?
Yes I got two older brothers and an older sister and there’s about 5 years difference
between my sister and my other two brothers so of course they all grew up together
and there was 11 years ‘till I came along and of course being, not being at home
anyway, quite a big gap, although I get on alright with my brothers and sisters, em...
to be honest it feels more like parents at times because I haven’t got my mum and
dad now and so it’s a little bit not quite the same as it would be if I had a brother or
sister near my age.
So how old were you when you went to boarding school?
Em about 6
And where was that?
Hesley Hall Grange it’s called in Doncaster, I think it’s been closed a long time ago,
in Yorkshire.
In Yorkshire?
Yes, Doncaster, Yorkshire yeh.


How was that?
I think I would have been better if I’d actually went to the school where I eventually
did go, which I’ll tell you later, in the first place, I don’t think I learnt as well as I
should have done. But I got treated fine and I, my parents, obviously being quite a
way from home, my parents used to come about every other weekend and I only had
one day so they used to take me all round Yorkshire, Yorkshire moors and the
Penines and that. And so I saw quite a bit of the country probably because of being
in school up there. And in 1969 I think, or 68 probably, 68 I went to Wilfred Pickles
school which is run by the Spastics Society then or Scope as they call it now and the
education was a lot better to be honest I think and the parents were a lot happier me
being there than they were at Hesley Hall and I certainly had to learn to be more
independent there than what I was at Hesley Hall probably.
What sort of stuff did you learn?
Em I think the main thing to be independent, more independent, and my favourite
classes really were art and English... and I think to integrate with other people, social
skills and whatever and I wouldn’t say it was always brilliant, you know, but I didn’t
have any major issues. We used to have, there were 5 or 6 of us, we just had one
house parent to 6 of us living in cottages that was the first time I had sort of been in a
cottage other times I was in sort of a big hall with loads of other children so that was
different and er the last year because they were worried that I wasn’t as independent
as I should have been and in my last year they put 6 of us on our own, without any
house parents at all, and the day were they were going to, or when they were going
to do it I went and fell over and broke my thumb! So of course they said to my mate,
my friends, and myself you know are you going to be alright? Do you still want to do


this because this was the first time they did it this experiment and they were very
supportive of me, me mates, pulled me leg of course. And I think my last year of
schooling was probably my best actually.
That was because you were living independent there do you think?
I think so yeh, yeh, yeh.. I took me to Duke of Edinburgh so I managed to get my
bronze, I wasn’t there long cause I went and broke my thumb so I was a bit behind
everybody else. So I got my bronze Duke of Edinburgh and I had to cycle for about 6
or 7 miles I can’t remember now, probably did less than that, and go and be out in a
camp for one night. And tried my first pub but they saw I wasn’t 16!
Can you remember what you had to drink?
No, lager probably, we’re going back a long while! 40 years! But er.
Are you still in touch with any of your school friends?
Em.... not at the moment, I was until a few years ago. Em my friend who lived in
Crowland which is not too far from here and Papworth, near Peterborough, and I did
keep in touch with him yeah, it’s only a few years ago I haven’t completely lost touch
now. If he is still living with his parents I could find him. That’s about the only one but
saying that here at Papworth I have had a few people that I was at school that have
become clients here at the Papworth Trust as well as myself and there is one here at
the moment actually who lives in Papworth who I was at school with. That’s about it
really I think.
From what I understand Wilfred Pickles Schools were quite revolutionary at the time,
there weren’t many schools like that, em....


No, em quite sad really, well I don’t know about sad, but whichever way you look at it
a lot of the special schools have closed, especially the ones which were by Scope,
the Spastics Society, they call it now and I still think in some circumstances em...
there is a, still a need for special schools. We adopted, well fostering a boy who had
Downs Syndrome about 8 years ago I think it was and when he was at primary
school he was ok, he went to Stukeley Meadows and went there but as soon as he
left, there wasn’t a school suitable for his needs so he ended up at mainstream
school in Huntingdon. It seemed a bit sad that it wasn’t just followed on from
mainstream all the way through. Yeah at the time I didn’t have much choice to be
honest, no choice at all.
So what did you do when you left school?
Well I went to further education, which was at Ullenwood Manor in Cheltenham in
Gloucestershire, which just happened to have a documentary about the college, sort
of a fly-on-the-wall programme, at the moment actually.
Is that, I think I watched that is it the Un…
Untouchables, that’s right, that’s the college I went to.
Oh wow.
They didn’t have a bar when I went there! But er but yeah very much different to the
school, just had a good time to be honest! I can see why people don’t want to leave!
Cause you are only there for about 3 years at the most then you move on.
Was that, even though it was a college, was it a bit like a special college or was it a
mainstream college?


No a special. All disabilities not specific ones.
So what did you get up to....
I mean I didn’t have any care staff there actually I was totally independent then and
we lived, I lived in a cottage, on the grounds of the college, only about half a mile
well quarter of a mile from the main part of the college. And at first I was actually
walking there with my crutches, I could walk quite a way then. And when I had an
invalid carriage which is one of the three wheel invalid carriages when I went to
college that’s when I sort of learnt to drive and. Yeah I had a good time there to be
honest. I wouldn’t say I learnt much!
What did you study there?
Er not a lot! I had RSA in English Language, I passed on that, I can’t remember
what my grade was. I have always been good at art though I don’t think I ever took
any exams. What I remember to be honest was just social skills and a bit more
independence for sure, and learning to sort of go out more on my own, go on public
transport all that sort of thing, which I didn’t do before and when I had my own
transport anyway, invalid carriages they had in those days.
So that would have been about, like the mid to late 70s I suppose, would that be
So what was public transport like then, how easy was that to navigate?
Well not easy at all, actually to be honest with you now I think about it, the college
had their own transport, it was just that I was able to walk round Cheltenham and


whatever which obviously I couldn’t do now, though I have always had a manual
wheelchair I can’t push it anywhere so I have to be pushed all the time which you
don’t always want that do you. So em, I was a lot fitter then. But saying that to get
onto a public bus was always a problem. It might be better now because you can
have them low down flat and go straight in but in those days obviously it was going
up and down steps which I did, but it wasn’t easy.
So what did you do when you finished college? At Ullenwood Manor?
Well I came to Papworth Trust where I am now 1976, when I was in a hostel which
has been pulled down a long time ago now. Where it was all males hostel em, I was
mobile then cause I had my invalid carriage for a few years which was a bit of a
death trap really, they are not very safe, and my dad bought me a car and I passed
my test and had a car with controls so getting about was not a problem then really,
and Papworth South Park Hostel there was a sheltered workshop which is attached
to the hostel so everything was all in one building and you didn’t have to go outside if
you didn’t want to, the dining room was there and everything and at first you didn’t
even have your own bathroom or toilet, it was all in one big block. And the baths, or
sometimes you felt more dirtier when you got out than you did when you got in! They
weren’t tin baths but they were close to it to be honest. Er and then eventually they
did modernise it a bit by then. And at work I met me wife who we’ve been married 31
years now, got married in 1984 and we sort of met at the workshop really, she lived
in another hostel which was a bit more modern than where I was and er when we got
married in 84 we were lucky enough to be able to move in a bungalow, just before
we got married actually which was good cause there were people around those days
who had to actually live in a hostel until their bungalow was built, but we were one of


the lucky ones who were able to move straight in to a two bedroomed bungalow
which is where we are now.
You’ve been there ever since?
Yes since 1984. Yeah we were one of the first people to move in in our close where
we live.
Were you, how did you come to Papworth, were you offered a place here or what
options were open to you then?
Em, I was offered a place here. Obviously I had to come to an interview and the
interview process is completely different now, to what it is nowadays, what it is now, I
think I only spent one day, one night here they tried me in a place which was then
called, which is not here anymore, the Electronics. We had more industries in the
village then than what we have now, found out I wasn’t able because of my hands
really, to do that so I would have to go into the sheltered workshop which you don’t
get paid in wages, I think we had about 4 or £5 a week just pocket money! Just to
keep you interested but it wasn’t work as such, proper work. And I think I went up to
the hall which is a, what the hospital have got at the moment, and met about three or
four of the trustees and er that was it really. And then I moved in South Park about a
month after me interview I think it was and er I did have a chance, well I will say, I did
go actually, to another school which was connected at the time, that’s closed down
as well now, but at the time it was connected to the Wilfred Pickles where you could
go even higher education but when I decided, as I decided to go to Ullenwood Manor
anyway.. then I had a choice then but I don’t remember having much choice to come
to Papworth but I think one of the things which was a bit of a plus for me was it was


nearer home for me so I could come home and take myself home every weekend
which I did at first until I started courting, I didn’t always want to go home then!
What did you do then, what was your job here?
Well as I say I was at a sheltered workshop most sort of things I found quite
mundane to be honest, quite boring but I do know a lot of people do miss that sort of
9-5, a lot of it were just packing, quite simple things that were what you were capable
of doing really some, obviously some people were capable of doing more than others
but it was manual work, screwing screws together, all sorts of different things.
Packing sponges or whatever, all contract work as well. And that’s all changed a lot
nowadays and em there was, with the clients I would have got a few people I don’t
think I was involved so much, at the workshop, that they wanted to get away from the
workshop cause at that time you was either in the workshop or you were fit enough
and able enough to go and work in the industries which we had in the village that
would be industries that we haven’t got anymore. But I was never able to progress
that forward unlike my wife who did. So you think well I’ve got to spend the rest of my
time in a sheltered workshop. So anyway we tried to get things changed, well we did
em with the trustees and everybody to try to do well it was called progression at the
time and er and then we had what we call learning for life which is what we got now,
well it’s not called learning it’s been called all sorts of different things which is, if you
are funded and its a big if, if you are funded, you can do different things throughout
the week for example cookery or drama, which I’m doing or art, English, literature, all
sorts of different things and er as I say it’s a little bit of a lottery as you’ve got some
people funded for about 9 sessions and other people like myself who were only
funded for 2. But then again my wife who was working anyway until she got made
redundant can’t get funded for anything so now I am quite lucky to be funded for 2

sessions. And also I do a bit of voluntary work which is in St Ives which is nothing to
do with Papworth Trust now, they’ve been really good to me, on a Monday just
working on a till taking people’s money at the Free Church, that’s been very good.
And I got about 2 days when I just, just my own, just whatever I want to do I
What was Papworth like back then, was there like shops, was there a pub then?
Well we had what we called a social club which, in those days obviously people
could smoke in it and what you wanted and sort of guess who were going to be in it.
And then of course I had a car then so I was able to get out and about quite a bit and
then em.. we had a pub called Kisby’s Hut as it was then but we never had a very
nice landlord to be honest so I didn’t go there much and now it’s an Indian
restaurant. So at least we, at the moment we haven’t got no pub at all well here, it’s
going to be open soon and, but what was the big difference really, and is an issue
but, was that every weekday the bus, which belonged to Papworth - buses, not just
one we had about 5 once upon a time - used to go out every evening in the
weekdays to different activities which are nothing at all now cause we’ve only got
one bus and that only goes to do with the functions in daytime, to go to the centres
and that, but no, can’t use it for social at all. So we had at one time, about 5 buses
and we had one bus you could take about 8 wheelchairs so we had 3, we had 2 fulltime drivers then and so socially it was a lot better place to be honest.
Why did Papworth stop that?
Money I think, funding, Papworth has grown so much, not just in the village, but all
parts of East Anglia so money has been going in other directions not just the village
anymore. We built about 500 houses all over East Anglia and em, and a bit in the

West Country as well and the whole Papworth Trust has just changed altogether and
we’ve got work centres in Ipswich and Basildon so the money has been a lot spread
around a lot more than what it was. Well you wouldn’t recognise the place, the
Papworth now to what it was then. And we don’t have any hostels anymore which is
not a too bad thing. Most people got their own place to live, their own front door key
and bungalows and that. But of course they are a bit more isolated but I think if you
are a bit old, a lot old, a lot older and you’ve been here a long while you probably
don’t want to go to anything new and when you got to find friends and that you’ve got
a lot of friends here. So people have settled here but other people have gone into
flats in Huntingdon which was built to replace the hostel which we had in the village
in Papworth.
Was that Saxongate?
Yeah Saxongate where there’s flats there. Cause they did a survey before they
closed it down obviously to get the clients to ask the clients what they want, I think
they expected that most clients would say oh I’d rather to have a place in the village
and that but the majority of people said oh no I would like to be in a town where all
the shops are, facilities and by and large most of the people have moved there. And
haven’t regretted it.
Would you consider that yourself? Have you ever thought about moving there?
Yeah, I wouldn’t want a flat though as I say we are two wheelchairs we need 2
bedrooms which is another issue about the bedroom tax because we use our
bedroom all the time to supply and keep all medical stuff and to be quite honest we
would have to have a bungalow, a flat wouldn’t be big enough I don’t think. I wouldn’t


miss the garden but we do need 2 bedrooms at least and a large kitchen which
we’ve got at the moment.
Has the bedroom tax affected you in your current place?
Yes yeah yeah we are paying £12 a week, which we weren’t paying, at the moment,
because we are both on benefits anyway our housing would have been totally paid
for but now because of the bedroom tax we do have to pay some money towards
housing now and we didn’t have to do that before.
How did you feel when the industry here ended?
I wouldn’t say it affected me personally, myself, and it didn’t happen all of a sudden it
was gradually and as far as I know most of the people who were disabled who were
working in the industries kept their jobs because the industries they went private,
Papworth Trust sold it, they did have, wel,l still got factories just outside the village,
on the edge of the village, em, and as far as I know all of them are still carrying on
even though it’s not run by Papworth Trust anymore.
Does it still employ people from the village?
Does it still employ people from the village?
Yeah yeah yeah a lot yeah, able bodied mostly but there are still some disabled who
were there originally when it was under Papworth Trust and are still there so that
went quite smoothly.
Yes apparently the red boxes that the ministers use used to be made here?


Yeah well that got opened somewhere else but not sure if that’s still open to be
honest. Leather goods they were called.
Right. I heard something that they make the Queen’s luggage here as well.
They did yeah. Yeah but I think it moved to Bar Hill when it became independent you
know when someone else bought it up I’m not too sure whether it’s still going on or
not to be honest. I wouldn’t say it affected me personally but as I said earlier I think
the Trust wanted to give disabled people more choices it was a bit ironic into doing
different things, or just learning for life and doing different sessions which we do now
and I think originally as I said it was called progression so I think if you’ve got
progression you’d move on but no-one was moving on! All the same things all their
lives but, but as I say it’s a little bit of a lottery whether you get the funding to do
these things. They have one session when they’d go, or two sessions actually, when
they go out for a day and but maybe it’s the people who don’t go out much who, but,
personally wife and I well we might have to go in taxis in that we don’t get out and
about when you’ve got to pay for it you don’t have much choice you don’t want to be
stuck indoors.
You follow the music scene quite closely don’t you, locally?
Yeah yeah we go to quite a few local music festivals and go to the Corn Exchange
quite a bit and the Junction, all at Cambridge. More local things. When I had a car
we used to go to Wembley a lot and more further away. We did get to the
Paralympics in London and we had Olympics and Athletics track that was good. And
we been to, well my wife more than me to be honest, into ska music and we have to
go for 4 days, we have to take a carer with us to go to what we call Skamouth! 4
days of ska music, it’s pretty good.

Do you stay there?
And we’re going again. Yaeh, with a carer, luckily we got one carer specially who we
get on with, well with and it’s more like a friend going with you than a carer to be
honest and I, we like that, sometimes we can go on holidays and you get carers
when you get there but of course you are not too sure if you are going to get on with
them are you. So it’s quite good if you get someone who you know and you get on
well with. So she comes with us, I think she’s coming again with us in November.
Is that when it is November? Is it annual, every November?
There’s two yeah one in November and one in March, it’s out of seasons, cause
they’re the holiday camps so it’s to keep holiday camps open out of season I
suppose. Well it’s all under cover you’ve only got to get to the main event and to the
Are the facilities at the holidays camps where you go, are they good?
Yeah everything there. Yeah everything’s there, I mean my wife’s been twice but she
went once on her own with a friend. I’ve been once as I said I’ll go again this year
and it’s not just ska music they do a rock legends and all sorts of different things,
different musics. Just to suit different people what they want, long weekends now,
not too expensive either. Course we have to pay our carer to come as well and then
the taxi to get there so obviously it does work out a bit more expensive than it would
for yourself to go. But it’s worth it yeah.
Do you want to tell me, or would you like to tell me about how you met your wife and
stuff because I think that’s a-


Well as I said before actually we met at the sheltered workshop at work, cause I’d
been at Papworth about 4 years before me wife came to Papworth and er we met at
work and er had a lot of long tea breaks! And then of course when I found where she
lived I spent most of my time at my wife’s hostel than I did at me own! And of course
I could get there quite easy then with my car and we were together about 2 years I
think and oh I’ll just tell you this story. I had a few accidents in my car, I won’t go into
too much detail and er... me dad had to come and pick me up to take me home at
weekends as usual and em... I kept saying to them oh they’re building some new
bungalows up there down the road, he said oh yeah, I said yeah, and of course he
knew I was courting Trish then and er when I told me mum and dad I was going to
get engaged me Dad said yeh I said yeh I said to her mum I think Philip’s got some
ideas here! He said I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s going to get engaged or married
soon cause he keeps going on about his bungalows being built, so it wasn’t a
surprise to them to be honest, no surprise at all. And they actually, to be honest, said
when me wife met me parents I never told her, I didn’t even plan for them to meet,
me parents, we just got in the car, went for a ride and of course I only lived about 20
miles from here and I just happened to go to my parents house! And got out and em,
you know, they were pleased to see Trish but I think she would have liked a bit of a
warning! But er you know, no time to get nervous cause she didn’t know she was
going to meet them. But that went very well yeh. That’s about it really.
Where did you get married?
In Papworth in the church which is up Church Lane not surprisingly, in the village,
and then we had our wedding reception at a place been knocked down a few years
ago now, in St Ives, St Ives Motel it was called then. But now it’s a block of flats on


there now. And er for wedding present, me brother bought us, paid for us to go away
abroad so I went to Venice on our honeymoon.
Oh lovely.
We had a few issues there to be honest em, obviously when you need special
facilities and er obviously you couldn’t look it up in the internet then like you can now
you are looking for hotels, cause even then there were leaflets or booklets from the
holiday agencies about accessible hotels for disabled and of course we read all
about this hotel and it seemed brilliant but it wasn’t as accessible as they said it was
on the brochure. On the brochures. For example, well in some ways it was our fault
we forgot to say we needed a bath and er course we got a room with a shower which
wasn’t suitable at all, and then when we said we need a bath, they said well we’ve
got one but it’s 12 floors up, luckily the lift didn’t break down. But we had a few
problems with the man who owned the place cause at night you know they wake up
at night and they’ve got these boat pegs and making so much noise, but apparently
some people were complaining about my wife and I making noises when I walk
cause at that time I was walking and I had this metal clip on my shoe so I was
making, and that’s, apparently I was making too much noise! Which I find a bit hard
to believe when they wake up after about midnight in these hot countries as you
know. Em so I wouldn’t say it was the best hotels and er we did go to Venice and me
wife wanted to go on the gondola and obviously because we was on our own and
that we had no-one to help us get on it so they wouldn’t do that unfortunately. And it
rained all day! Though we did, they did let us go outside on the boat at night and
come back on – to get back to the mainland, yeah... just wondered why we weren’t
on a boat? Well we did go on boat... oh we went on a boat to different islands round
there, round where, where Casanova was born and that sort of place, I can’t

remember the name of the islands. And different things. But then when I couldn’t
walk about I was in a wheelchair so of course we didn’t have a carer then or anything
that made it a little bit harder but er we enjoyed it but I wouldn’t say it was a perfect
honeymoon but I appreciate me brother paying for it cause we wouldn’t have been
able to afford it all.
Yeah. So you mentioned that you’ve done fostering, would you like to tell me a little
bit about that?
Yes yeah yeah. Em well it’s called Family Link, there are different names for different
counties wherever you live but this was Huntingdonshire at the time it was, and er
originally it was sort of like respite care. It was people who got children with special
needs and just needed a break at weekends or whatever, it was supposed to be
once a month but it got a bit more than that and er, they, the parents, actually select
who fosters their children and Family Link they call it, and this couple actually chose
us which was great, which was even a, more better actually cause at the time, cause
obviously we had to go for an interview and that, and when we got the, got through
the interview with the people at Boxgrove as it was, think it still is, Boxgrove House,
Social Services, me wife unfortunately was in hospital but the people who, the
parents of the boy we found a link with, said they would wait until she comes out of
hospital, ‘till my wife comes out of hospital, and er start the process with Ashley. And
we had Ashley as I say, once a month then and that worked very well. Very well. And
er, we had Ashley with us until he was 18 and in the end actually to be honest he
was nearly here every week, every weekend and his parent, well his mum was living
with another lady I think they thought once he was 18 he didn’t need to be at home
which doesn’t always work that way unfortunately so we had Ashley nearly
permanently for 6 months but that was a little bit hard work for my wife when she

was out of hospital as well then. So he temporarily went to foster care and we, and
then they was lovely people they were, and they used to invite us over to their house
as well to meet him at weekends, we got a few weekends, brilliant family. Until he
found a place permanently which is where he is now in Cambridge in his own flat
and he has keyworkers and that sort of thing.
Do you still see him?
Not as much as we should, em, if we do have any parties we invite him and that, but
em, we have lost a little bit of contact. And then when we had him I was driving and I
could get about a bit though now he gets on and off buses now apparently. No we
haven’t seen him for quite a while but I know he’s ok, I hear about him, and er as I
say he’s only in Cambridge, he’s got his own friends and he’s 28 now.
Brilliant. How do you think things have changed for people with disabilities since
when you were, well, since from any point when you were born or when you were
just a toddler or school age or anything, how do you think....
Well I think as far as sport is concerned, brilliant. I think children have a lot more
choices to participate into different sports than what I had when I was at school and
obviously, we had Paralympics has helped and er, that is certainly better. Obviously
more disabled children now are going to mainstream schools which I think works a
lot better I think a lot more of their friends will be able bodied as well as disabled as
well so they are integrating more as I said before, when I was at school, the only
friends I had were disabled, not that there’s anything wrong in that but they had more
chances of making friends and er more integrating than what there was now, than
what there was in my day. Obviously they’ve got the computers now, and there’s all
sorts of different ways of communicating which probably good they didn’t have

mobiles or mobile phones when I was a kid, or child, or computers or anything. Er
and as far as the education is concerned it’s hard for me to say really cause as I say
I’ve never been to a mainstream school em well I have seen that they seem to have
more choices and I think, oh one thing is for certain – a child with a disability now
has got more chance of going to a University cause they are trying to be more
accessible to cope for wheelchairs and for their needs to what they were in my day.
Because obviously access especially when you are in an electric wheelchair is very
important, with steps and ramps and everything and em there is more, not just for
the child but as an adult now, chance of having one to one and having your own
carer, personal PA which I do know people have got that we haven’t but that’s only
by choice, which is better. So yeah I should think a disabled child now would get a lot
more choices, more chances of education, go higher education, up to University as I
say or higher.
Do you think people’s attitudes have changed?
Yes. Yeah, for the better mostly, I have been very fortunate that I haven’t had any
issues with people with my disability to be honest, nothing too major. I sometimes
have had, as I say I work at a Free Church and I have had sort of elderly people sort
of say oh, ‘gets you out, doesn’t it!’ and I think oh I’m always blooming out! You know
and that sort of thing but that’s no big issue I think that’s fair enough. It’s educating
people really. Younger people especially round here obviously a lot of the younger
people we knew them when they were children, so they are used to seeing
wheelchairs and people with disabilities and not asking questions to their mums or
staring at you and we don’t have any problems in the village. I haven’t anyway. And
could go out any time at night, even midnight and feel pretty safe, and feel safe
really, well I always have. But it’s not the same for every disabled person I know.

Do you think, I know this is a huge question, but could you, could you say if you
think, what changes, what other changes could be made for, just generally within
society or in any way really, that would benefit people with disabilities, what do you
think more needs to happen.
Em I think transport is still a big issue, public transport especially if you live out in the
middle of nowhere like we do, it seems ironic really that in Cambridge you’ve got the
Park and Ride thing and at St Ives as well but you still got to get up there in the first
place which is about 12 miles away so obviously you go by taxi and you might as
well have stay there anyway by taxi, so transport needs to be a lot better. And
people’s awareness as well as well, I know once we actually, we were at
Hinchingbrooke Hospital and we wanted to get down to the town which was only half
a mile away, and they said at the Hinchingbrooke Hospital they said oh yeah you’ll
be ok for travel there’s loads of buses come with two wheelchairs, well we stood
there for 2 hours and we never saw an accessible bus. And in the end the bus
drivers said oh you might as well go down in your chair which we did in the end!
Good job it weren’t raining, that’s one example. The other example which I notice
more now but is getting better, is steps. Getting, but things are a little bit better than
they used to be in public places. It’s not, I wouldn’t say it’s an easy question for me
to answer.
I’m aware of that.
I think with me being disabled all me life I’ve never known any difference of what it’s
like being abled or anything so er, you know, we just sort of get on with life. It’s no
good complaining, nothing’s going to change.


Do you have a philosophy or something you’d say you, I don’t know that you would,
some kind of belief that helps you or anything like that?
No, no. I think the most important thing for everybody, not just disabled, is that you
are healthy and, touch wood, I have been pretty healthy all me life. And er all the
problems I might have had or having now are just the usual problems with getting
older my eyesight and me ears and that sort of thing. And er but I think if you’ve got
your health that’s the main thing and we would never let anything stop us because
we’re disabled you know, like I’ve been on a glider, I’ve been water skiing in the past,
and would like to go on an air balloon actually, I don’t know if that would ever happen
but hopefully it will. And we used to go to Jersey, went about seven times, and as I
say we go to a lot of music festivals so, I wouldn’t say, I don’t wake up in the morning
and think, I wish I wasn’t disabled, I’ve never thought that or most of our issues
would be just like everybody else’s, like paying the bills! Or getting on with your
relationship with your partner. But er there’s always ways round these things anyway
but you can always get round. Just get on with life. I like my football so I can do that
as well, go to football matches.
Oh who do you support?
Peterborough United. So I go to most home matches. Which is quite a commitment
cause I have to pay taxi to Peterborough and back though he does do it a little bit
cheaper for me but it’s still quite a bit of money but I enjoy it, I’ve been supporting
them since the 70s one other time I used to take myself out. So I’ve got that interest
football as well, and music. So er...quite a bit of sport on telly as well.
What do you like? What do you watch?


Motor racing or football. And oh I do participate in a sport called boccia which I forgot
to mention before which is similar to bowls. The balls are sort of made of plastic
really and they are quite light so you can actually throw them and they do bounce a
little bit, they do bounce a bit, or you can go under arm which is what I do, and er
compete in competitions, though my wife is a lot better than I am at it but we have
been all, we went to Sheffield the other, few months ago, and we went to Guildford
and Mansfield and all over the place. And it’s a paralympic sport and its funded, run
by Boccia England which are based in Nottingham and we meet every Sunday but
we do have a break in school holidays, we play at Impington Village College every
Sunday when the schools are back and er, yeah, I quite enjoy that, it’s a social thing
as well as sporting thing as well.
I’m not massively into sport myself but I do enjoy watching bowls on TV. I find it very
soothing somehow and I like watching snooker as well.
Yeah so do we. I did go to a final once. At Sheffield.
What the Crucible? Who did you see?
Well just to show how long it was it was Jimmy White and Steve, Scottish bloke..
Stephen Hendry? They are good pair to see that’s really good.
Yeah well there’s a little bit of a story behind it actually cause em, I think originally we
were going on a bus we are going back early 90s now I mean that never happened
and anyway they got these tickets for us, I could still go, my wife and I could cause I
could drive then and I drove all the way to Sheffield but we only got tickets for the
morning one, the morning match, and unfortunately at the time the bloke who was
playing in the morning he only had to win one match! And I’d gone all that way! So

anyway, we got there very early and was in the...had a meal and we met Ted Lowe,
who unfortunately has died now, Ted Lowe. And I just mentioned jokingly I said oh
can you get us any tickets Ted, to be your guest and much to my surprise, he gave
me three, cause there was a friend with us as well, gave me three tickets so er that
were brilliant yeah so. Course Steve Davis, Steve Hendry won.. Keep saying I’d like
to go again but obviously it would be a bit more costly this time but we did go to
Sheffield for Boccia so... I might try and get some tickets actually.
Yeh I’d love to go to The Crucible.
It’s a lovely place. It’s a bit close...
It’s what sorry?
The tables, you are not far away, all compact.
Is there anything you want to add is there anything we haven’t spoken about you
think you would like to talk about?
Em, not really. Going back to sport again I’ve been to the British Grand Prix 4 times,
I used to go with my father to that as well.
Where is that, is that Silverstone?
Yeah yeah yeah. I saw James Hunt, Nicky Lauda, Emerson Fitipaldi, so that’s a
good thing. Erm not really, I can’t think of anything else to, em, as I say we said
about philosophy and that I don’t think too much about it, I just get on with life and
not a religious man or anything like that at all, I just go to churches for weddings and
funerals! And er just try and be happy really as much as you can, try and be happy
as much as you can that’s the main thing. I’m probably not as ambitious as I should


be but I’m 58 now so I think I’ve done quite a few things and plan to do more things,
as I say I would love to go on an air balloon to be honest and do that, that’s my only
other goal now.
I’m really petrified of heights so I don’t know if I could do that and the gliding thing I
think I’d find that really difficult.
My wife done a parachute jump I wouldn’t do that.
Wow. Yeah I would like to do a parachute jump but I think it’s the kind of thing when
you came to it I would bottle it to be honest you know.
I think integrationism is something that can always progress, it can always get better
integrating and there should be more choices and chances of being able to work
than what there is now. I know the government wants us to be working more but it’s
not just finding somewhere to work its getting there as well especially when you live
right out in the middle of nowhere like we do which is...and though I do realise that
there are a lot of benefits cheats about and the cutbacks which have been going on
for a few years, I wouldn’t say I am totally against it, but when it does affect people
who really are not cheats and really are genuine, that’s not good and I think there are
more people out on the streets than there has been for a long while and er.... I don’t
want to get the violins out we have found it a little bit harder to pay for things but er....
yeh it’s alright the government saying about what people should be doing but they
don’t look at the details of what people problems, people problems have and not
everybody are cheats I assure you. There are a lot of genuine people out there
looking for support. That’s about it really.