James spent four years in the Navy as a navel seaman. He joined in 1972 aged 17 and almost followed in his father’s footsteps by signing up to the Army.
He was brought up in Bootle and left school at the age of 15, achieving his O’Levels and completed a BA (Hons) degree in Environmental Studies and American Studies at Open University.
When he left school, he worked in the construction industry and also in engineering for a few years. He was in and out of jobs and wanted something more secure so decided to sign up.
He reflects on his military career and reminisce the good times he had living in Hong Kong. He decided to leave service after four years as he wanted to settle down. He came back home and met his partner and they got married in 1980.
He went on some training courses in welding and worked in a warehouse looking after the stores for a year. His marriage broke down after five years when sadly, they lost their baby. They decided to get divorced and this is when he started to get into trouble with the police.
He spent a month in Forest Bank after getting caught steeling petrol out of petrol stations but even after his release, he continued to commit crime to earn money. He was then caught trafficking 6oz of heroin in Jersey and was sentenced to six years. He had to serve a minimum of four years and was transferred to Walton Prison to finish his time.
He was released in 2018 but had nowhere to live. He was referred to Launchpad’s Speke House and has commended how it has helped him. He said:
“I came here with literally nothing. Now, I have my own place which call home and I feel safe. I’ve got my own furniture which to some, may not be a big thing but when you have nothing, it means a lot.
“I’m now getting the support I need and I’m enjoying living with other residents. We get to go out on in the minibus on walking trips and it’s good for your mind. I feel ready to move on.”
James, 65 has applied to live in an older people’s accommodation and is looking forward to what the future holds.