John is from Derry City and came to England in 1959. Before he left he was working in Ireland as a labourer.
He applied for a job with the Imperial Civil Service and hoped to work in the Northern Ireland branch. Though his interview was successful he was informed there were no vacancies in Northern Ireland but that there were opportunities in England and Scotland. Deciding to relocate in order to work, he was asked if he would prefer an urban or rural location, John opted for a rural posting as he was used to that way of life coming from a small town. When the offer came for an opening it was in the city of Birmingham.
Despite not being the location he desired, John fortunately had some cousins in Birmingham and his mother contacted them so they could assist John when he arrived. He soon found his own accommodation and worked in the city for the next five years.
In 1964 John left the Civil Service to work for Mobil Oil Company as an administrator. After three years he graduated to the position of sales representative and was responsible for accountancy and monitoring in the Warwickshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire areas, which included the Morgan Motor Factory in Malvern.
John’s next job was at George Wimpey when he joined the house building company as sales negotiator in 1971. Two years later he was promoted to assistant regional sales manager for the Nottingham region. In 1976 he was transferred to the Luton area performing the same role. There were a lot of Irish employees working in the construction team for Wimpey Homes and they were proud to have an Irish manager in John. The staff canteen was set up so that workers collected their meals and sat in a designated area while management sat at tables laid formally with table cloths with waitress service. John endeared himself to the staff as he preferred to break ranks and sit with the employees. He remained with the company until 1985.
He moved on to work as group sales and marketing manager for Rialto Homes in Hertford with a remit that extended as far as Hastings, though he continued to live in Luton. In 1989 John was made redundant due to the recession that affected the housing market.
Afterwards he had roles at Gresham Financial Services and Legal and General, selling mortgages and life assurance.
He kept in touch with goings on in the housing sector and set himself up as a self-employed consultant for construction sales. He carried out research and wrote site appreciation reports for builders who wanted to buy land for housing development.
John took an interest in personal development and training to further his career taking courses in speed reading, public speaking, amateur dramatics and others. He was also an active participant at the St Joseph’s Parish Centre and states that he “made a point of mixing with everybody from the time I came to England through social integration with the community and on my own through Irish dancing and other community work associated with the church parish activities”.