What drives me

  I was born at the fag end of the ’60s in the South Wales Valleys to the son of a colliery worker and the daughter of a Royal Naval Commando. My grandfathers were honest, brave and hardworking. My grandmothers were noble, kind and nurturing. From them all I learnt humility, pride, fortitude and compassion. Both couples were progressive: loving, supporting and sharing, far beyond what their times demanded.

The code of equality passed to my parents, who have lived their lives as a partnership of balance: a  division of labour based on need not roles, as immovable rocks for each other in days of difficulty and as a loving pairing through decades of change.

Into this earthy yet dignified ethos of maternal strength and paternal tolerance, I was born. My sister was born 23 months later. An accident or maybe medical negligence during her birth left her with severe brain damage. She has defined my life. If there is any good in me, any creativity, compassion, foresight or passion, it comes from knowing my sister.

She has faced pain and fear and responded with love and smiles. I have lived my life to fill it with the things she has been denied. I meet people she can never meet, visit places she will never see, taste what she won’t taste, feel what she can’t feel. None of this is sad, but all of it is for Susie.