GOODWAYS AT WOODSTREET
I was born in 1949 and lived in Dorset until I was 17. Disliking school and preferring to look after pheasants, as my dad was a part time gamekeeper. The only thing I passed in my school years was the gate going in and out and that was not that often. I am one of 5 children, 3 girls and 2 boys. Father was a staff Sergeant in the army at Bovington camp Dorset.
I have been involved in many kinds of work, but always knowing that hard work was the norm, this my dad taught me along with many other skills, shooting, hedge laying from the age of 7/8, tractor driving, most things rural except engines! Dad taught me many things, but he never knew how to show that he loved me; I had to earn his attention
I left school at 15 and became an assistant gamekeeper. We moved to Berkshire in 1966 where my dad’s new boss Brian Rootes, gave me the choice of continuing to work with dad as an assistant gamekeeper, or to work at his house as an under gardener, which was the one I chose, my dad took this as a rejection, we were never close again.
The family moved to Margate a couple of years later as Lord Rootes had died, and the estate had to be sold off to pay death duties. I followed some months after, I had been asked to keep the gardens tidy till after the sale, I lived in a pub, and this for a teenager was a good deal.
Soon after going back home I found a job in a local garden nursery in Margate, this was so good; I learned how to grow all manner of plants for food and decoration. The bonus was I got to go out in the van most mornings selling our produce to local greengrocers and florists etc. around Margate and Birchington. All my life I have loved collecting records, and whilst in Margate I got the chance to use them as I was offered a job as a Disc Jockey, in a Cabaret club in the town, this I accepted and left the nursery. Later I learned there were great opportunities in Brighton, so I moved there. I found a job with Unigate Dairies in the early mornings, and was a DJ in the evenings, this I did until I could afford my own roadshow, operating as Diamond Disco’s; I left the dairy after a couple of years.
In the early 80’s I got married and felt the need to get back to my horticulture, getting a full time job in Dyke road Avenue, sadly after around 3 years my boss committed suicide. This was my first real encounter with religion. My boss was a Jewish man, and because of his suicide, he could not be buried in his family plot, causing his wife and family even more heartache. I now needed a job and landed a Head Gardeners job near Burwash, looking after 56 acres. This was a real challenge as I had not handled anything this big, plus at the same time my wife Christine was diagnosed with cancer; sadly she died 5 years later.
A friend gave me a weekend manager’s job at Burwash newsagents, as I was finding the situation in the big garden too tough to handle, the loneliness, etc. I had no experience of this work, but the people there had faith in me. With the experience I gained there, two years later I brought a franchise milk round with Unigate dairies, this I loved and as mornings as a widow were tough, having to be out by 3.30 am suited me. Most of my life I have been an early riser anyway!
Spending most of my life not knowing or caring about whether there is or isn’t a God. I was shocked when one day I was challenged by the realisation that for 7 years I had been angry at a God I claimed I did not believe in, and if there is a God, like you I wondered how He could allow some of the awful injustices in our world, babies dying, people who are disabled, criminals getting away with murder etc. Why would He allow this stuff to go on, why does He not step in and change things?
How then could I be angry at someone who is not there? This got my attention, I read in a “Good News Bible” I had been given, that actually this God cared about me, even though I denied His very existence and there was nothing I could do that would make Him love me more! I could not work for His love; I just had to accept it! And in a powerful way, this changed my life completely (Ephesians chapter 2) I contacted the person who had given me the bible; she took me to church and helped me see how God was truly there. I gave my life to Jesus, and was baptized in the January of 1997. The person who gave me the bible was called Avril we were married in Kenya in the April of the same year, and we have now been married 17 years!
I gave up my milk business, and went to Ashburnham Christian centre on a part time course entitled “Training Together” a 2 year course covering Genesis to Revelations in year one and looking at all aspects of Christian ministry in year 2. This course so blessed me, I knew from early on that I wanted to be an Evangelist, and after much prayer and perseverance joined Outreach UK, I have been a full timer with them as I remain to this day, I love sharing the “God News” of Jesus, let’s face it, He changed my life so much. Considering my lack of education, God has used me to teach and preach His word too so many.