My greatest regret is that I didn't do well enough at school to go to university. After a few years spent in unremarkable jobs, I decided on a career in the police.

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Love and mathematics

During my service, my interest in mathematics was re-awakened, thanks to my girlfriend at the time who’d decided to study maths at A level and asked if I’d help. I dusted down my old textbooks and started reading them again. I found that I drew enormous satisfaction from helping my girlfriend with her studies.

Don’t underestimate your own sense of achievement

Does life get any sweeter?

Inspired to go further, I applied to the OU and six years later, qualified with a 2:1 and joined the IMA. Five years after that, I obtained my M.Sc. My sense of achievement was profound.

My main reason for joining the police was simply to help others

I certainly did so on countless occasions. But one instance stands out. A year 11 boy had been arrested after school and amongst his possessions was his maths homework. I asked him about it, he said he couldn't do the last question. I had a look at it - maximizing the surface area of a solid - and sketched out a solution. I took the boy to a room where, for the next hour or so, we solved the problem together. He was so pleased to have completed his homework, he'd forgotten about the trouble he was in and was even more amazed to learn that policemen knew anything about maths!

I retired last year but my passion for maths, and more importantly, passing my knowledge on to others, is as strong as ever.

Earlier this year, I spent some time at my local secondary school and it was clear that teaching to a group of mixed ability pupils would prove challenging.

Mathematics, Maths Scholarships, the IMA and me

Although I may be older than many who are thinking of pursuing a career in teaching, I believe that the personal skills and qualities that I developed in policing, as well as 30 years’ experience of communicating and interacting with young people and adults from a wide social and cultural background, will help me to make a positive difference in an equally vital and demanding role. And I intend to make full use of the benefits of my IMA scholarship to help me succeed!

If this story has inspired you to consider applying to be a Maths Scholar then we have plenty of information on our website to guide you on your way. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook too and keep up to date with assessment centres, applications deadlines and also lots of resources, ideas and inspiration. This round of applications opened on 10th October 2016 so what are you waiting for?