What are you doing now?
Currently I’m enjoying being an artist, although I am best part retired and do pretty much whatever I wish. I mostly paint oil onto canvas, support my wife and daughter and do DIY.
How did you get to where you are today?
Aged 16, I undertook a Graphic Art apprenticeship at Hardy Printers in Castleford (now Freeport).
Aged 20, I decided to join the Royal Air Force as an Intelligence Analyst and moved to Cambridgeshire where I predominantly lived for the next 10 years, I became a Sergeant and worked in Northern Ireland, Germany and Washington DC. I worked in Northern Ireland in 1990/91, on the first Gulf War, the Bosnian War and many exciting and interesting missions. I met my wife in the RAF (1991) and moved around a little with her also, living in Portsmouth, Hampshire and Reading, Berkshire for one year each.
Aged 30, I left the RAF and followed my wife’s career as a Nursing Officer for a short while. This enabled me to do a few different things, such as working for a communications company in Reading, Berkshire and I also worked for several months in both Aylesbury and Morocco as a film extra in ‘The Four Feathers’ with Heath Ledger, Michael Sheen and Wes Bentley (casting and screen shots were at Pinewood and Shepperton studios).
Aged 32, we moved to Cardigan in Wales and I then joined the Police. Initially serving as a uniform constable and then as a Detective Constable, leaving after 8 years.
Aged 40, I decided I wanted a degree, something that eluded me on leaving school, so I became a mature student as Swansea University studying to be a Mental Health Nurse. I achieved a 1st Class Hons Bachelor of Nursing degree and worked in the community as a Psychiatric Nurse for the next several years. I taught student nurses and paramedics at Swansea University and then at the University of Sunderland, so I did teach after all.
Aged 47, we moved to England and settled near Durham which is my wife’s home town. I worked as a nurse at an older adult home, I worked as an intelligence analyst for Durham Police and finally for 18 months with Durham Council as a menta health worker.
Aged 50, I decided to spoil myself and become a freelance artist, househusband etc, mainly working for myself, painting what I like and maybe selling some art?
So I have had a very fortunate existence.
What’s your biggest achievement to date?
I have enjoyed so many achievements, from saving or helping to save lives in the RAF, Police and in nursing, to gaining a 1st degree in my forties. Working closely with various security agencies from all over the world, including the CIA in Langley, USA and even having lunch in the Pentagon.
What advice would you give?
During some of the high level and dream job meetings, I would just sit there in my own disbelief and would say to myself, “I can’t believe I am here, I am just Carl from Chequerfield and I went to Carleton High School, but yet here I am sat in these meetings.”
It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you are from, life is exciting if you work hard, keep positive and go for it! Also a job/career isn’t necessarily for life, you can change and improve yourself if you wish. I have won some and I have lost some, I have had many rejections and some successes, but I have enjoyed every minute and I have many stories to tell my grandchildren. So, go for it, why not?