John’s journey to vital volunteering work

John’s journey to vital volunteering work
John at FVC

An inspirational mature student on the HNC Working with Communities course is making the most of a second chance life-saving transplant, to volunteer and promote the work of the Love Your Liver Screening Unit currently touring the UK.

John Mortimer (64) from Falkirk HNC Working in Communities has revealed how a collapse in the street and a diagnosis of severe cirrhosis of the liver, led to him receiving an urgent organ transplant in an Edinburgh hospital.

It then emerged that the liver that was removed contained several cancerous tumours, so the operation proved to be doubly lucky for John.

Former member of the merchant navy for 28 years, John gave up drinking just three months after being told he would require a liver transplant. He has been sober ever since and has found a new lease of life and learning by studying at Forth Valley College.

He said: “I was recovering from alcohol addiction which led to me receiving a liver transplant in 2019. Afterwards, I did the course at Forth Valley Recovery Community called Go Forth, which runs in conjunction with Forth Valley College, and the lecturer involved, Ruth Davis, encouraged me to go to college to improve my volunteering skills 

 “The facilities at the college have been good and my lecturers are first class and encourage me greatly. My IT skills have improved greatly and I have learned a lot about Community Learning and Development (CLD) values and I now look at life in a more open way. 

 “I have nearly completed this course through a pandemic, lecturer’s strikes and whatever else has been flung my way, so if I can complete my HNC my future looks rosy.

 “I would recommend the course as the lecturers are so helpful and understanding and the support they supply is endless. The best bit for me has been meeting new people who are like minded to myself and want to work in the Community and the new horizons in education the college provides.”

Ruth Davis, Lecturer in FVC’s Department of Business and Communities, said: “I met John at the very start of his college journey and he's been a total inspiration, the way he has embraced learning whilst in recovery and grasped the realities of lifelong learning. He has also provided a huge amount of support to his fellow students during difficult times. It's a delight to see him achieve his HNC Working With Communities."

Jackie Innes, Operations Manager in the Department of Business and Communities, said: “John has been an amazing student, progressing from our Go Forth course to the NC and now HNC Working with Communities. He has been a class rep and has always, not only looked out for and supported fellow students, but also promoted them whenever they have achieved something. John should be really proud of what he has achieved at college and for the work in continuing to support others going through similar issues.”