About Me

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Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, United Kingdom
Broadcaster, musician, song writer, tea drinker and curry lover.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

My 5 Life-changing moments - Part 1

I guess one major consequence of posting bulletins asking for people's "Top 5's" is that you will be asked for yours too. So, in response to those who asked, here are my top 5 life-changing moments (after, I might add, some considerable thought).

I should say too that these are most definitely, "so far", since there may well me more life defining moments to come, and I may well have already experienced moments that will change my life, even though I don't know it yet.

Anyways, in no particular order....

I've tried to be chronological in the way I've done this, and so 1 would be the decision my family made to change churches when I was in my early teens. This might not on the surface seem to be that significant, but what the move from St Peter & St Paul's Tonbridge (known by most in the town as "The Parish Church", although by Duncan Price as "The OTHER Parish Church"!) to St Stephen's did was to introduce me to a group of friends who have remained my strongest in my home town. People who were a part of the Wayfarers youth group, and with whom I really started to grow up.

People like Tim, Helen, Gordon, Alan & Alison (okay, Boy and Girl!), Neil (miss you, my friend) Duncan & Colin, Jill (and later Malcolm) , Graham & Lynne (now in New Jersey), and the family to whom I am closest back in the UK, my dearest friends Mike, Cherry, Ben and Laurie.

If it hadn't been for that church move, I would never have met these people, which is what makes it a life-changing moment, and my life is all the richer for knowing these guys.

Next, two moments which are defintely the 2nd and third top life-changing moments in my life, and both of which happened relatively close together in the early 1980s.

First, was a meeting in Tonbridge with a guy called Steve Chalke. He was at the time a local junior Baptist church minister (pastor) with big ideas, and absolutely no knowledge of the word "impossible".

Steve dreamed up cool ideas for youth work in the town, one of which was a temporary cafe over Christmas raising funds for famine relief and run by the kids. Another was even more revolutionary, using temporary radio frequencies (although it started as a cable radio project) to broadcast locally in town for a month as a fully-fledged radio station, again in aid of famine relief.

This came the year after the cafe idea, and was in 1984, the year of "Band Aid" in the UK. It was called "Radio Christmas" and was cabled into all the town's stores for a month. I was a dj on that station, and together with it's nationwide launch on separate FM frequencies in towns all over the UK and Ireland as Radio Cracker in 1991, it is what propelled me into eventually taking up a career in radio. For that I will always be eternally grateful to Steve Chalke (who now is a household name on UK TV and who heads up Oasis Media).

Incidentally, it was also down to Steve that, as part of Oasis, I spent 8 life-changing months in Mumbai, India in 1992/3. Quite a guy!

That's the first two. Stay tuned for more...

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