September 2019

Welcome to Westbourne, Neil. You're not from round these parts are you?

No.  I'm originally from Brentford in West London but have spent the last 17 years in and around Birmingham so this is a big change for me.

How are you finding it so far?

Loving it!  Not missing the 'big smoke' at all. Actually we made a lot of good friends up there over the years so we're missing the people but we've been made to feel really welcome here and it's already feeling like home...only with cleaner air!

Who's we?

Good question!  I am married to Jenny and we have three grown up sons, two of whom have moved down with us but are intending to move away shortly - one with the army, the other with VSO in Kenya.  Obviously we'll miss them but are glad they want to make their own mark on the world.  Our third son moved out eight years ago to attend university and never came back.  We still talk though...honest!

Back to you Neil, to borrow your own phrase, how have you made your mark on the world already?

Well for the last five years I have actually made a temporary return to industry as a medical engineer in hospitals but that was just a break from my passion which is as a community builder. For eight years I worked in the largest Sixth Form College in the country - twice as many people as the whole of Westbourne - encouraging a very diverse population to get along with one another.  It was huge fun....until the funding ran out!

So what's the plan for the Meeting Place?

Well I've been bowled over already with all that is happening and the great community spirit you have here.  Somebody told me that villages are dead boring but I realise that's just a rumour you spread about to keep city folks from coming and ruining your fun.  Seriously, I believe there's always more fun to be had and more opportunities for getting together and learning from each other. So more of the same and some new stuff I've picked up on my travels.  As they say: "Watch this Space!"

We certainly will Neil.  Thanks for your time.