Since leaving QEGS life has taken quite a few transitions. I qualified in Dentistry at Newcastle University in 2011, following which I undertook further training and qualification working in Oral Surgery, Restorative Dentistry, Sedation, Oral Medicine, Community Dentistry, private and NHS practice. I gained a diploma in conscious sedation in dentistry and worked my up to be a clinical trainer for Newcastle upon Tyne NHS trust. This job involved training dental students and postgraduates in oral surgery and sedation. I’d managed to rapidly accelerate into such a position that usually takes many years to get to.
This was achieved by having a real passion for the work, taking the right jobs that interested me the most and making friends in the right places. Ensuring you get a very long string of letters after the name always helps too in this area, but does come at a cost with lots of studying and exams.
Life had other ideas for me though and took an unexpected twist with a diagnosis of bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome in 2017. This basically means getting numbness and loss of grip in both hands, not ideal for the field of surgery where you need both good feeling and grip.
Moving to the present day, 2 surgeries to the right hand later, and still awaiting a fix for the left, I have been unable to work in dentistry since 2017. But fortunately, a passion for beekeeping and my wife Suzie have been a bit of saviour in the last couple of years keeping the home fires burning when an income protection insurance company let us down.
My wife Suzie finished a PhD in molecular nutrition and started working in a business we set up Northumberland Honey Company, producing honey and a ‘champagne method’ sparkling mead. Back when this business started with only 20 colonies of bees there was no idea where it would lead to or what it could mean to us now. With some misfortune and some occasional good luck along the way, the company is now supporting us both and 2 bee farming apprentices.
We now keep 200 colonies of bees, produce thousands of queen bees a year to sell to other beekeepers and produce around 6-8 tonnes of honey a year, not to mention the sparkling mead.
Looking forward I hope to be able to utilise my skills in dentistry again if the next surgery is successful. I had never appreciated just how long something like carpal tunnel could take to be fixed. The important message here I think is to not be too reliant on one thing, one company or one idea ever. Spread your net widely, enjoy what you do, appreciate there is always another way forward, and if anyone is looking for a very different career, Northumberland Honey Company is part of the Bee Farmers Association apprenticeship scheme and is always on the look out for the next apprentice!