John is a resident of a retirement community managed by Care Plus.
“I spent 27 years as site manager for a school. I loved my job and it means the world that so many former pupils have kept in touch. Last Saturday was the wedding of a young man I first met when he was four years old!
“I lived on the school premises and when I retired, I had to leave my home. I rented a house near Bloxwich but I was the victim of a nasty robbery and didn’t feel safe there any more. Three years ago I came to look at a flat managed by Care Plus. I moved in four days later and haven’t looked back.
“Earlier this year I volunteered to run the Gardening Club at St John’s Primary Academy, here in Essington. I’ve been working with 14 children, all in Year 4. The club meets after school but one young lad makes sure that all the plants are watered at break time.
“We’ve grown lettuces, onions, runner and dwarf beans and peas. In the greenhouse we’ve got aubergines and tomatoes. The children wanted to name the first tomato. It’s the size of my thumbnail and it’s called Bobby.
“Each pupil has completed a project on one vegetable and they’ve made-up a little booklet. It brings them a lot closer to the food they eat. These days, people think that everything comes from a supermarket; they forget that someone has to grow it.
“I’m really enjoying being involved with a school again. I missed the routines of the school year; the start of a new term and the excitement of Christmas.
“We’ve got a new project now. We are working in a small area of woodland on the edge of the playing fields, restoring the old trails and creating a forest classroom. The work is being done by volunteers, teachers and of course, the pupils. They enjoy being outdoors. The other day I had 11 children helping me. I could see eight of them and hear the other three!
“I get out walking every day. It’s important to keep active and if I sit down, I might not be able to get up!”