Patrick When did you start volunteering at Oxfam Birmingham?

I began volunteering four years ago after I returned to the UK from Thailand where I had been teaching. I was looking for more books to read when I stumbled across the Oxfam Books and Music shop on the Kings Heath High Street one day. I came in and had a chat with the manager and started volunteering soon after that.

Why did you start volunteering at Oxfam?
To stop me from spending all my money on books. I now get to talk about the books I love with visitors to the shop. And I still buy too many books!

What’s your favourite book?
My favourite book is A Pale View of the Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro. It is one of the finest examples of the genre. I would give just a few pages from the book to my students I was teaching as an exercise and ask them to tell me if it was written by a man or woman, and from which country. What the story appears to be about is not what it is about, and the book rewards the reader who delves…

Patrick, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in 1938 in Brighton and one of my earliest memories are of the gliders during the Second World War, as well as the Italian P.O.Ws singing outside my house as they repaired the roads.

I have lived and worked in 7 countries around the world teaching English in schools. I was teaching most recently in Thailand, but the other countries include Malaysia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, France and Jordan. I also completed military service in Cyprus. My favourite place I have lived in was Penang in Malaysia.

I would have liked to have made it to Japan, but only got as far as Thailand in the end.