Charity platter

I am a keen, passionate woodturner progressing into the craft to a level where I can demonstrate and promote woodturning to others, I am currently working as an Operations Manager for a canoe and kayak manufacturer in North Somerset. My first woodturning experience was at school for my CSE woodwork assessment. I decided to design and make an occasional table using two different woods and turned everything, including the top, base, spindle and three round feet. From then on I was hooked! and have been turning on and off since. I left school at fifteen and at the time woodwork apprenticeships were not available in the area. I wanted to work with my hands and being practical I was offered a plumbing apprenticeship with a local builder which did include carpentry and general building, this was going to be the closest I could get to woodwork so I started straight away. In 1988 whilst serving my plumbing apprenticeship I had an industrial accident at work resulting in a fractured spine and was paralysed from the waist down. After major spinal surgery and fourteen weeks in hospital the feeling in my legs luckily started to return and then I started the long rehabilitation process on learning to walk again and build the muscles in my lower body.  I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress from the accident, eventually it was suggested I got a hobby to try to give me a focus, so my immediate thought was a lathe! I purchased a Clarke 5 speed lathe and I was up and running.  Woodturning helped me so much, giving me something to focus on, push myself to stand for longer periods and gave me a purpose and sense of achievement on everything I turned.  After three major operations and seven years of rehabilitation I was advised I was now fit enough to return to work so I concentrated on seeking new employment away from plumbing and for the past 25 years now I have been an operations manager for a Kayak manufacturer.

- John Dilley

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