Chris Cork

Chris in local dress, around 2003

Chris has provided these details of his life since leaving Trinity.  He is also contributing an increasing number of interesting articles on travel and life in Pakistan, which you can access from the links on the left.   Chris writes for a number of newspapers and journals.

Chris was on the move again in January 2005.  He has returned to Pakistan, but in the far north of the country, near the border with China and Afghanistan.  To read about where he is off to and why click on New Job on the left.

All of the items contributed by Chris can be accessed from the menu on the left.  The latest items are at the bottom of the list.

Chris Writes:

I was a late starter at Trinity. We had previously lived in Rochdale, and then we moved down to the Midlands and lived in Ravensthorpe, so I did not do the "full stretch" at Trinity High School and was only there a couple of years or so.

After leaving in 1963 I went straight to a scheme called, would you believe, British Boys for British Farms.  This was a training programme run by the YMCA in Derbyshire, and gave a vocational and academic training to 'boys' who were interested in a career in farming.  I was, at that time, convinced that my future lay 'on the land'. I could not have been more wrong.

I spent a couple of years working in Holmes Chapel after leaving BBFBF, and then was hospitalised with an allergy to wheat dust, effectively ending my farming career.  There was then a succession of jobs, including encyclopedia salesman, dry cleaner, caravan repairs and sales and working in a cardboard box factory.  For three years I worked for Ford Motor Company, first in Crewe and then in Northampton, and it was from there that I eventually found my true vocation - social work.  I joined Northampton Social Services Department in 1973 as a trainee Social Worker, and stayed there until I eventually took early retirement in 1997.

During my time with Northants SSD I specialised in working with the mentally ill and substance abusers, but gave up practicing as a Social Worker in 1984 to go into management - and probably made a far better manager than I did a Social Worker.  I was able to pursue an interest in working with minority ethnic groups, which eventually gave me the 'intro' to the work, I now do - humanitarian and aid programme management in the developing world.

1993 saw my first trip to Pakistan, and was a turning point for me.  I was (and still am) a keen cyclist, and had taken my bike to ride from Rawalpindi to Kunjerab Pass on the China border, along the famous (or infamous) Karakoram Highway.  I was also researching indigenous systems of social care service delivery as I went along, and quite by chance met the woman who has been my wife for almost nine years.  Rose is a Pakistani, and now a naturalised UK citizen.  She works here in the UK, coincidentally for the YMCA - managing a community-based programme for young people in the city where we now live, Preston in Lancashire.

In 1995 I was invited to work in Pakistan by the Naunehal Development Organisation, an NGO in the remote Northern Areas of that country.  I stayed almost four years (taking early retirement along the way) and returned to UK only so my wife could do a Masters here in Preston at the University of Central Lancashire.  I then worked in urban regeneration and lecturing on management before again heading back to Pakistan as the Acting Director of Learning for Life, a UK Charity that works in Pakistan and India.  Whilst there I got headhunted for the Executive Directorship of the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR) based in Peshawar and Kabul, and stayed in post until shortly before 9/11, when we all exited stage left, running.

For the last couple of years I have worked in UK as a consultant, principally advising the Foreign Office on matters Afghan and as a political analyst at the Royal Institute for International Affairs at Chatham house in London.  I also work for the Hounslow Law Centre as an Expert Witness in cases involving the forced repatriation of Afghan asylum seekers.

October 2003 saw me back in Pakistan again, this time running a tiny NGO in the Cholistan desert, which post I am currently on leave from and will be returning to at the end of January. I still cycle, and have a lifetime passion for the building of scale model aircraft.  I have a daughter by my first marriage (too young, unwise and we all make mistakes!) but Rose and I have no children.  We live in a little grade-II listed terrace in a conservation area right in the city centre, very quiet and peaceful.  We have a cat called Shipman [for the (to us) perfectly sensible reason that she is a serial killer] and have been fostering a deaf Pakistani child, Amber.  Amber is back in Pakistan at the moment but will be returning to UK in March.

The Tower Revisited  - The website for former Pupils of the Technical High School, Trinity High School & Trinity Grammar School, Northampton