I was born in Sheppey, Kent, but left the UK when I was 11 years of age to live with my family overseas. We lived in South Africa for about 10 years and in this time I was fortunate to travel to many other African counties including Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Botswana, Angola and Swaziland.
In 1991 I returned to Europe to complete my musical studies and lived and worked in Finland, Spain and Holland, finally coming back home to the UK in 1997.
As a result of my time living in Europe I can speak fluent Dutch, passable French and Spanish, and Finnish for beginners!
My early years as a professional musician was spent playing in various symphony orchestras. I was fortuntate to travel widely and have performed in most European capitals, the USA and further afield including China and Japan.
In 1997 I began my Ph.D in British Clarinet Music here in Sheffield. Since then I have taught music at the world renowned Purcell School, a specialist music school. I now lead the instrumental department at Birkdale School in Sheffield.
My wife Gabrielle and I live on the South Yorkshire – Derbyshire border have three children. Francesca is 17, Sebastian is 14 and Theodore is 10.
Politics & Me
I was a local Councillor for 8 years, holding various Portfolio Holder positions and also becoming Deputy Leader. At the 2005 General Election I contested Sheffield Hallam against Nick Clegg MP. In 2010 I was the Parliamentary Candidate for Penistone & Stocksbridge. At this election the campaign team and I achieved an 8% swing from Labour to Conservative. We were able to drop the Labour majority from over 9,300 votes to just 3,000. I care passionately about working hard to make a difference for all people. It is the small things that can really help peoples’ lives to be more comfortable and I honestly believe a committed and hard working local candidate can make a huge difference.
Since December 2010 I was Board Representative for the City of Sheffield Association and continue to speak for the Party across Sheffield and South Yorkshire. In February 2011 I was appointed Conservative Policy Forum National Chairman for the Learning & Culture Sectoral group. I was appointed Conservative Policy Forum National Voluntary Director in April 2012, a role I held until after the 2015 General Election. In Autumn 2015 I was asked by the Conservative Party’s Deputy Chairman, Robert Halfon, to lead a new organisation, Conservative Trade Unionists. We launched at the Party Conference and are making the case for Conservatives being the real Workers’ Party. I was also honoured to be awarded the OBE at the end of 2015.
I am a Trustee at Paces Charitable Trust in North Sheffield – our school for young people with Cerebral Palsy is making fantastic progress and we continue to work hard to provide the very best learning environment for our pupils.