The couple’s affection for the town ignores the fact that both John and Kath actually hail from over the border in Sheffield. Born in the Park district, where Park Hill flats are now, I went to the local junior school and later to Norfolk secondary School in the Arbourthorne area.
“My father was a plumber by trade,” he said “As a youngster I watched him repair any a burst lead pipe and also replaced panes of glass – some of which, I might ad, I had broken. This gave me an insight into the building trade and when I left school I had decided that I wanted to be a carpenter and joiner. By chance I managed to obtain a joinery apprenticeship at Shardlows Engineering, where some 2100 were employed urging and machining crankshafts.
My working career at Shardlows lasted for 40 years until the company finally went into receivership. For a short time I worked as a Regional Development Officer for UCATT – the Union of Construction, Allied trades and Technicians – before securing a part time and then full time position as lecturer in carpentry and joinery at the Sheffield college.
My working life at shardlows was coloured by my trade union work – I was secretary to Rotherham Trades Union Council – and so it was a natural progression to me to become a Rotherham Councillor. The boundary changes gave me a break in service but I returned in 2006 to stand as a candidate in what is now the Rotherham West Ward up to the present time. As a councillor I am currently a member of the authority’s Improving places Select Commission as well as being a member of the Licensing Board. I have also been a long-term governor at the Old Hall, now Winterhill, school.