I was born in Dublin, to the most wonderful parents who already had one child – my elder brother Derrick. Aged just three years old, my brother died of meningitis. To help free the family from sad memories, we moved to London where I grew up and was educated.
I attended Sloane Grammar School, and after that read Mathematics at University College, London. I was extremely lucky to have had, as one of my school’s maths teachers, Mr. Tom Wilson, who gave his pupils not just knowledge of mathematics, but love of it too.
At college I encountered those new, exotic things called “computers” (this was 1963, remember!). I was taught programming using the language Algol 60. That language has now been almost forgotten – but it was the inspiration for many computer languages that followed.
All that was the start of a career which used almost no mathematics – but a great deal of computing (if you are interested, take a look at my CV).
Starting from childhood I studied music, and at one time I seriously considered becoming a professional musician – but I knew I would not have the discipline to keep practising enough. One of the instruments I learned, at the church I attended (Kensington Chapel), was the organ. I have since provided the music at many services – ordinary Sunday worship, funerals and weddings and more besides. I now play most Sundays at Knaphill Methodist Church,
I also met the most wonderful girl, who I knew – almost immediately – would be my lifelong companion. We have been married now for over half a century. And we have two lovely children, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law, and two grandsons.
I have met a lot of people, who have become friends and influenced me in many ways, I have tried to make a list of them – a list which I know is incomplete.
My wife and I live in the village of Chobham, which has a very long history. The church at the centre of the village, Saint Lawrence, has been there for a thousand years, and has been loved by the parishioners all of that time. It is the only place where I have played a modern organ at the same time as being able to touch a wall more than a thousand years old.
My parents, my Mother’s parents, and Me and my Beloved