Born in Durham, John graduated with an LLB in 1973 from Leeds University and was admitted as a solicitor in 1976. He is a member and assessor of the Law Society Mental Health Review Tribunal Panel and a member of MIND. He was president of Preston and District Chamber of Trade 2000 – 2001 and as a director and company secretary of Preston City Centre Management Ltd, he helped lay the foundations for the successful introduction of the Business Improvement District.

His personal commitment to mental health issues arises from experience of severe mental illness within his family.

Although an RYA Coastal Skipper, he rarely goes sea cruising these days, preferring the adrenalin rush and exercise of racing his dinghy round the cans at South Windermere Sailing Club.

Having given up playing the piano and church organ when he went to University, he took it up again in his 50’s and is now grade 5 piano and is an organist at St Teresa’s RC Church, Penwortham. This musical interest extends to regular visits to enjoy the Halle under Sir Mark Elder at the Bridgewater Hall. Even though his training was classical, he is keen on listening to and playing jazz and blues.

John is a former executive committee member of the Mental Health Lawyers Association and sits on their Court of Protection and Legal Aid sub committees. He trains lawyers seeking admission to the mental health panel and has spoken widely on the impact of human rights legislation with particular reference to liberty. Click HERE for more information.

Although John retired as an employee of odonnells solicitors at the end of December 2016, he has continued to do work for the firm, on a consultancy basis, drawing on his vast experience and expertise in the field of mental health law.