Whilst my accent has a certain lingering of ‘West Midlands’ in it, some people locally are surprised when I tell them I am actually from Yorkshire. I was born in Wakefield and lived there until I was five when my family moved to the Midlands for work.
Where I was born
Wakefield to me has many great memories. I still remember the house I was born in, my first school (which later got demolished and replaced with a playground), the town centre where the Ridings shopping centre installed a brand new at the time glass lift feature which was certainly memorable when you’re little at the time.
When I was young, my dad used to take me and my brother to watch Wakefield Trinity play rugby league at Belle Vue. Obviously, I don’t remember much about the matches, but I do recall us buying something from the club shop and it had a big RL on the bag, which made me feel like it was a personalised bag just for me! Hehe! I remember there being a big deal about a player called Wally Lewis coming to play for Trinity. I recall it being a big deal even though I was young and had no idea who he was really, other than having a funny and memorable name from the perspective of a child.
My grandparents lived in Wakefield, so even after we moved away my family often visited, and I have happy memories of visiting them and the journeys up north from the Midlands and spending time with them.
Moving back home
I was made redundant from my work in Wolverhampton in 2010 and from then at the age of 35 I decided that I needed a change of scenery and with support from my family decided to take a leap of faith and move back to Yorkshire, so back to Wakefield I went.
I had got a stop-gap job that I hoped would tide me over while I found a job at the level I wanted or needed. That stop-gap job didn’t work as they lost a big contract and laid off 1/3rd of their workforce not long after I had been there. I landed on my feet later that year when I started working for what was at the time the NHS Information Centre, which went on to change its name to the Health and Social Care Information Centre and then in more recent times NHS Digital where I work now.
Outside of work, in 2010 I had got involved with playing amateur touch rugby and tag rugby for a local team and had established a good group of friends and connections through this sporting pastime. This certainly helped me properly get established back up north and feel like it was becoming home again. The stability brought about by the new job helped me grow and develop routines and patterns.
After a couple of years, I ceased playing and coaching rugby and started up running. Team sports had been part of my life for so long, but I needed to do something for me and my own fitness and to take a new journey in a slightly different direction.
In 2017, I moved in to a lovely house in Carleton, Pontefract.