I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian cult, so unfortunately was completely devoid of inspiration in my formative years. Everything was about following the rules, and the best ‘followers of the rules’ were seen as role models. Perhaps one of the reasons why I left the cult at the age of 17 was that I didn’t want to be like any of the role models that were held up to me in there.

It was a year or so after i started my new life that I met John Davoren. i had been indulging in petty crime, having fallen in with bad company. After a few arrests, and a couple of stays in a remand centre, I had decided that I hadn’t left my entire family behind in a cult to end up as a criminal. I left the bedsit I shared with my negative role model and fellow petty criminal, and walked the streets of London for a few hours with my meagre belongings packed into a holdall. I slept on Victoria station that night, my one and only brush with homelessness, The next morning, I decided to walk around the pubs in the vicinity of Victoria station to see if there were any bar jobs available. The first pub I went into, the manager looked me up and down and said ‘We don’t have anything available’. Remember, I had been sleeping rough and I must have looked somewhat dishevelled. In the second pub, the response was more encouraging. The landlord sent me to his friend’s pub a few hundred yards away. It was there that I met John Davoren for the first time. He took one look at me and offered me a job and a place to live.

Not only did John, and his wife Pauline, take me in off the street, but months later, when the police caught up with me for some of my previous misdemeanours, and I was sent to Borstal, they kept my job open for me until I was able to return over a year later. John was also the first employer ever to praise me for my work. I learned so much from him, although I didn’t appreciate it at the time, looking back over my life, John was my first positive role model and therefore the first real inspiration in my life. RIP John Davoren 1936-2008.