My father [Len], was a sergeant major in the army and following that, went to a tech college to learn shoemaking. After that, he went into making shoes and got a job in a shoemaking firm.
A diligent worker, to please a client one day, who needed his shoes fixed quickly, Len decided to take them home to work on overnight – a practice which was forbidden. For this “gross misconduct”, he was sacked.
None the wiser, the client returned some weeks later with more work for Len. When he heard of the redundancy, he marched straight out of the shop to give the work to my father direct.
He then decided to give all future work to my father and encouraged him to set up on his own. So he turned his basement into a workshop and set about making shoes. I was 11 years old then.
After school each day, I would go downstairs to help him, staying up till midnight most days to get through the workload. So it was that I followed in my father’s footsteps.
And nearly 56 years on, I am still as passionate about making shoes as I ever was. Along the years I’ve had many fascinating customers and made many friends. Now, I have an amazing team I work with, skilled guys who take a real pride in what they do.