I was trained as an enrolled nurse at Dudley Road Hospital (Birmingham) in 1978. I worked for one year at the hospital then joined the Royal Navy and was in the Navy for 14 years.
When I left the Navy I went into private nursing, so I haven’t been in the NHS for a long time…
I had a fantastic time in the Navy, went to Gibraltar, lived out there for three years, spent a lot of time travelling, but most of my time was in Plymouth for about 18 years before coming back to Birmingham.
I didn’t find there was a great divide between colour in the Navy, we were all treated the same, y’know I got on well with my counterparts and they got on with me.
I joined the Navy because I wanted to move away from Birmingham (laughs)! I wanted to travel the world and have some experience outside of Birmingham. I find Birmingham very claustrophobic... there’s lots of interracial things (political events) happening, because I come from Handsworth so I just wanted to get out and have a wider experience rather than just be here.
(Handsworth, Birmingham) it’s no different now to when I was last here in 1980. There’s still tension in the area, there’s still violent crimes happening, so it hasn’t moved on in my experience anyway.