In the Spotlight: John Morton

Introducing John

John Patrick Morton was born in 1958 in Highfields, Leicester to parents Eamon and Patsy, recent Irish immigrants from Northern Ireland. He was the eldest of three siblings. His father came to work as a labourer, digging the roads and pipe laying. He worked in a quarry in Ireland but he said it would have probably killed him if he had stayed there.

Early Life

John was brought up a Catholic and went to Holy Cross Primary School and passed the 11+ to go to Gateway Grammar School. He left school at 18 with two A-levels and became a trainee buyer for an engineering firm until it went in to receivership. He then went in to the knitting industry but again all three firms he worked for eventually went bust. By the time John was 27 he thought he needed a change of career.

A Career he loves

He became a nurse and has loved it ever since. He feels it is such a privilege to get to know people from all walks of life who will tell stories about themselves that they would never tell anyone else. John did retire aged 60 but went back again just in time for the pandemic!

A Kibworth Inhabitant

John has lived in Kibworth for 15 years and the best time has been the last 10 years when he joined Kibworth Theatre Company and met his wife Alison Langrick when they both appeared in ‘Cabaret’. Since then, they have appeared in various productions and John also joined ‘Last Minute Theatre Company’ along with his daughter Bridie to indulge his joy of singing. John is sure that living in Kibworth and enjoying a varied and mixed social life within the community has helped him to deal with the stress and strains of work within our great NHS. 

Questions and Answers

1. What is your earliest memory?

Hearing the sound of the horses’ hooves clip clopping as the ‘Rag and Bone man’ came down the street shouting ‘any old iron’. It always seemed somehow strange and exciting.

2. What did you want to be when growing up?

I wanted to be either an actor or singer

3. How did you come to live in the Kibworth area?

I had always lived in the city so I moved to the village 15 years ago to be nearer my daughter

4. Do you have a favourite book/play/film and why do you like it?

I love David Lean films from ‘Great Expectations’ to ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’ but my favourite without a doubt is ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. Peter O’Toole is so enigmatic and the long shot of Omar Sharif gradually getting closer as he rides across the desert is just brilliant cinematography.

5 What do you do to relax?

I take long walks with my wife Alison and our dog Marcia. Since lockdown we have been able to appreciate what lovely countryside we have in Leicestershire.

6 What makes you angry?

Fly tippers make me very angry but also blaming immigrants for scrounging off the benefits system when they have contributed far more than they have ever taken out.   

7 How has the Covid pandemic impacted on your life and work with the NHS?

As a Clinical Supervisor in Intensive Care the Covid pandemic has had a big impact on my life at work in particular. All those news films we see on the tv only give you a taster to how stressful and heartbreaking it can be. Many people have come through this relatively unscathed while others have had their lives torn apart. I feel that in some way all the things I have learnt in my 30 years of nursing came to a pinnacle and I was able to use my knowledge and skills in helping to teach and support colleagues who came to help us. Some had never before set foot in an intensive care unit. I feel very humbled, privileged and proud of the NHS despite all of its shortcomings.

8 Do you think anything could have made a difference if done differently?

This is a tough question but I do think we made a big mistake in sending many of our elderly patients who had Covid back to nursing homes and the lack of PPE for nursing care staff in the community was deplorable. Agency staff that moved between homes was also a mistake. I also think delaying the decision to put India on the red list was regrettable. There have been some good things such as the vaccine rollout particularly in protecting the elderly and health care staff first. 

It would appear that most of the female leaders around the world seemed to have handled their pandemics better than us. Let’s hope when this is all over we can become a kinder and more considerate society. I admire all those unsung volunteers who have gone out of their way to help their neighbours and those less fortunate than ourselves. 

9 What is on your “bucket list”?

Walk the Camino Way, doing that next May; visit Canada and experience some kayaking while there; get fit enough to at least do a half-marathon; cruise down the Douro or Rhine, on my retirement; walk my two daughters up the Aisle one day.

10 Who would you like to invite to the perfect party? Socially distanced of course!

Eric Morecambe, Barack Obama, Charles Dickens, Shirley MacLaine, Joanna Lumley and Spike Milligan. Ella Fitzgerald to sing in the background but just us for dessert.

11 What was your most embarrassing moment?

Jumping over a five foot wall only to find it was an underground carpark on the other side. 

12 Who do you think should play you if a film were made of your life?

Because I am only 5ft 7” I think it would have to be Dustin Hoffman.

Interviewed by Carol Townend