St Louise's Comprehensive College
Subject: Substitute Teacher.
Your place of birth: Belfast.
Studied at St Mary's University College Belfast.
First job: Waiter, Pass ‘N’ Grove
What it taught me: I was 14. My parents had helped run the teenage disco, the mods and skinheads had great fun, usually. And stole my records! It was 1981, £3 a night plus tips. It was £5 for the big nights when The Circle, New Ideal and the big groups played . I loved it. There was always great craic. It taught me that even in the most difficult times people could come together and enjoy themselves no matter what was being thrown at them. And there was plenty being thrown!
Family/status: Married to Wendy, with five wonderful children.
Best advice anyone ever gave you: None, really. I saw how hard my parents worked, my late father in Michelin doing shift work from 1965 until 1984, never missing a day no matter what was happening on the Falls, and my mum making his dinner for dad's return at 11.30. I can always remember the beef curry in a packet, and the World at War ending at 10 when he left for work. Also, I recall he had to get a taxi to work once, and he was terrified as the driver drove him through very dangerous Loyalist estates. That made me sad, what he had to endure just for a job.
Best advice you could give someone thinking of a teaching career: Very very simple response to that: enjoy every minute, go into every class with a clean slate. As a sub I have the genuine privilege of working with so many classes and pupils, and the range of pupils and lessons and teachers is fantastic fun. Furthermore, having recently seen some beginning teachers at work, the training and resources being used now are superb.
I have read the Andytown News voraciously for so many years, it's an honour to be included in these awards. Thanks so much to the nominator! I have had enormous good fortune in my life, with my family growing up and now my own wife and children. I was lucky to get a great education in St Mary's CBGS, and this also introduced me to Gaelic football where we had great success and wonderful times. In 1982 we lost in extra time, missing the opportunity to play in Croke Park! I boxed for Beechmount ABC, and got to play for Cromac Albion and then 19 years with Peter Pan. After working for 14 years in the Civil Service, where I spent two years signing-on in Holywood Orange Hall under an enormous portrait of the Queen (in particularly dangerous times), I became a mature student in St Mary's University, where I made up for missing out at Croke Park by winning the Collingwood Cup, which was an astonishing achievement for us. Sport, education, family and community have been very good to me. I have indeed been blessed. PS: I'd be absolutely thrilled to meet Squinter.