I was born in 1961 to a loving stay-at-home Mum and forklift truck driver Dad. Our family moved from Liverpool during the slum clearance programme of the 1960s to the promise of a new utopia in Kirkby. Where we had, not only the luxury of an indoor toilet, but a front and back garden!
I left school at 16 with very few formal qualifications. By then I’d already decided if I couldn’t play for Liverpool FC, I wanted to be a bricklayer and was lucky enough to get an apprenticeship. I then began my construction career building a new glass plant at Pilkington’s in St Helens.
Person you look up to?
My late mother, Dorothy. Not only did she provide a loving home for me and my seven brothers and sisters but she also was a great example of commitment to lifelong learning and always striving to better yourself – returning to college in her late 60s
Best book you’ve ever read?
The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell.
Pinch yourself moment?
Walking into my office at Mann Island after winning the election to be Metro Mayor, and looking out over the city region that I am fortunate enough to represent.
Something people wouldn’t know about you is?
I was one of the thousands that did what Norman Tebbit suggested in the 1980s, I got “on my bike” to find work and headed off to the Falkland Island to help repair the damaged Port Stanley infrastructure following the conflict.
How do you switch off ?
Playing and watching football.
Best piece of advice for others?
Trust your instincts and never, ever let anyone stifle your ambition!