ENCOURAGEMENT gave me the necessary courage to live my dream.
Those are the words of blind borough author John Flanner MBE who has overcome significant personal obstacles to realise his dreams in life – including having his written work published.
The publication of John’s latest book – Bitzaro to Buckingham – was celebrated by Solihull Mayor Glenis Slater and borough dignitaries at a special ceremony.
The event also celebrated the creation of a new National Civil Service Award in John’s honour – which recognises the Inspirational Line Manager of the Year – an outstanding and inspirational individual such as a manager who encouraged John to start his career as a public speaker many years ago and without whom John’s life could have been so very different.
John himself was awarded a Civil Service Outstanding Achievement Award for his services to Equality and Diversity in 2006.
He was also handed an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2014 in tribute to the many fears he has conquered in his personal and professional life since becoming blind at the age of 19.
The 68-year-old’s latest written offering – his autobiography – reveals his focus on the encouragement and empowerment of others, while overcoming the significant obstacles in his own life.
Including details of his traumatic medical emergency when his wife was taken seriously ill in Greece, the book also discusses the creation of the new National Civil Service Outstanding Achievement Award.
John, who never thought he would ever be able to write a book, said: “As a teenager I wanted to write a book about football and even have a career as a sports journalist.
“Unfortunately once the careers officer said what qualifications I would need, I gave up on my dream, thinking I was not clever enough to gain the necessary qualifications.
“Now as the result of encouragement from a senior manager and many other colleagues and friends, I have managed to write two autobiographical books and am now, at the age of 68, working on the football one I never thought I had the ability to write.
“Encouragement gave me the necessary courage to live my dream and that is why I am passionate in business about encouraging others to realise their potential and live their dreams.”
Solihull Mayor, Coun Glenis Slater, said that it was an honour and a privilege to meet John.
She added: “He has proved that no matter what happens in life, with the right determination and encouragement, anybody can do anything.
“I am looking forward to reading his latest book.”
To find out more about John, visit www.johnflanner.co.uk