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Phil John

Born in 1949 in Maesteg Mid- Glamorgan, when to Plasnewydd Junior and Infants School before going onto Llwynderw Secondary Modern School, Maesteg where I first met the gentleman who inspired me through the earlier part of my life - namely Brian A Sparkes known by all as 'Sparky'.

Brian was an policeman who whilst playing for Wales in rugby (& international caps) went 'North' and during his time there became a qualified mathematics teacher, on his return to Wales he took up the role of a teacher at Llwynderw SMS ... where he started the school basketball teams, and so successfully trained so many pupils to 'international' levels at under 15's and 18's levels.

In 1963 I along with another pupil, Mike Summers became the first two international basketball players from the Llynfi Valley (Maesteg), I went onto attaining under 15's, under 18's, under 21 and senior representative levels.

My skills and the love of my sport was then introduced to the world of 'Youth Work' when i firstly took up the role of volunteering at Caerau Youth Club, in the most northern part of the Llynfi Valley where I used my skills to train and develop the young people at the club in the sport of basketball.

This is the time in my when I realised that a passion to have youth work as my vocation in life, this was what I really wanted to do.

I became a WJEC part time youth worker and held the post of coach for many years, then taking on the assistant warden and the warden of Caerau Youth Club - all this as while I was working full time as toolmaker with a company called Tuscan Engineering - next up was to become more highly qualified with diploma in Youth and Community, over a 2 year period, this being interrupted when I was diagnosed with a brain tumour (thankfully benign). 

My knowledge and skills have helped me throughout my life - I have gone on to becoming a local and county councillor with Maesteg (12 years) and Bridgend CBC (5 years) - actually being the Mayor of Maesteg TC during 2010/11

I hold the privileged position as Vice Chair of Basketball Wales and was a representative of welsh basketball during the period leading up to and during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. I am presently as well as being a trustee with BGCW am also a trustee of Noddfa Community Project (Caerau) and Caerau Men's Shed - I am also a mentor with Sported, the chair of Invest Local Caerau and a member of Maesteg Gleemen Male Voice Choir 

As you note I'm still very busy, although being retired since 2012 and I can assure you I am as committed now as I was when I first came into both youth work and basketball.

Although I am now 72 years of age, have a disability - but still have a huge 'Passion' for the encouragement and development of young people.

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