I was born in Sunderland General Hospital on 14/8/1950.
Married 1973 to 2011.
My childhood was spent in Blackhall Rocks which is a small mining village in the North East of England. It was here that I attended St. Joseph's Junior School before travelling to the nearby town of Hartlepool to attend St. Francis Grammar School. I completed my education at De la Salle Manchester. For many years I taught science in secondary schools in the north-west of County Durham. After a brief spell, working for a high street bank I joined the Prison Service.
Although I worked full time as a prison officer, I also ran a property business. When the business ran into financial difficulties I took the drastic step and successfully faked my own death from 2002 to 2007 using a kayak. This would be later be referred to as a "canoe" by the world's media. My "death" enabled my wife Anne to successfully claim the mortgage insurance money. Whilst "dead" I had a few adventures and travelled to eleven different countries on the false documents which I received from the authorities. In December 2007 I returned to the UK from Panama to hand myself in to the police, knowing I would receive a prison sentence. During this period in prison I continued writing another set of daily diaries, "The Other Side of The Door", portraying life in the 3 different prisons in which I was incarcerated.
Since returning to the UK in 2007, I have been know world-wide as "The Canoe Man"
I have always had a sense of adventure and enjoy discovering new places and meeting new people on my travels. Travel and architecture are my passions. It is fascinating to visit other countries to experience the people and their different cultures as well as the buildings and their history. These trips were often combined with my love of photography. Venice and Paris remain my favourite cities, full of beautiful buildings and romantic locations. I prefer to make my own arrangements rather than use a package holiday; and this has resulted in many fantastic experiences such as a holiday to Norway. We drove to Nord Cap, the northernmost part of Europe, which is 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle. This sometimes involved driving off-road over mud tracks through remote valleys because the roads were closed with deep snow. Due to my conviction and imprisonment in 2007, I still have severe travel restrictions imposed until 2014. However, after that date, I intend to once more travel to foreign countries having had invitations from many friends to visit them again.
My hobbies are extensive, having participated in a wide variety of activities in the past, which include; hiking, reading, computer programing, horse riding, cycling, photography, kayaking, caving, travelling and gardening. I have also added "author" to my list of pastimes.
After being released from prison in January 2011, I have been working on the various diaries that I have written over the years. Since moving back to Seaton Carew, I have also had the opportunity to spend more time outdoors tending my garden and walking along the sandy beach which is only a five minutes walk away from where I live.
There have been several interviews for magazines, national newspapers, television, and radio and I have also appeared on several UK television chat shows, with several requests for me to appear on international chat shows. There has been interest from a number of sources to turn the book Panama and Back into a film.
“Panama and Back” is the first book in the “Canoe Man” series of my diaries and is available in paper back or electronic book from Amazon.
“The Other Side of the Door” is the second in the "Canoe Man" series and is about the time I spent in various prisons during my sentence. It depicts real prison life as seen by a jailed prison guard.
There is also an adventure series set in the Amazon jungle, which is in the latter stages of development.