At the time of moving to Shrewsbury in 1988, Bob Gordon had established a teaching base in a former convent in Norwich. In addition to this, there was a King’s Coach base in Wales, one in Yorkshire and one in Scotland. The ministry was at it’s peak in terms of the number of team members and missions that were being led throughout the country.
All this was creating a big strain on the finances for the ministry and the administration in Shrewsbury. Donna and I continued to trust God for our personal finances, and thanks to friends and family we managed to get by and still pay the mortgage each month. However, with the arrival of a third child, we were feeling the pressure, both financially and as parents with three children under school age.
In the summer the lease on Eton Mascott Hall, the large house that Bob Gordon was using for the offices and administration base, came to an end. Bob made the decision to move to Norwich to consolidate the administration and teaching elements of the ministry. It was the sensible and logical option. In hindsight, it would have been better when leaving Roffey in 1988 if he had moved to Norwich and not Shrewsbury. It would have been easier for Donna and I.
I had completed work on the fifth Kings Coach, and had also produced displays for a number of Christian organisations that we were associated with, in Germany and the Netherlands and there was at least one single decker bus in operation on the continent. In addition to this, I had produced a number of books for the ministry, and lots of other publicity and general graphic design. I knew that my time with the King’s Coach was rapidly coming to a natural conclusion. I visited Norwich a couple of times and went for an interview with a Graphic Design company in the area, with a view to perhaps working part time for a local company and part time for the ministry. In the end I knew that Donna and I didn’t have the emotional energy to move yet again, and although we didn’t feel very settled in Shrewsbury, we decided to stay. Besides, if I was needed to produce graphics or exhibitions for the ministry, I could continue to do this from Shrewsbury. It was with a heavy heart that I told Bob that we weren’t moving with him.
I spent the rest of the summer and the autumn trying to find work. This proved incredibly difficult for a number of reasons. The first was that I had little commercial experience. I qualified in 1981 and the last job I had finished in December 1985. Secondly, there were only about five places in Shrewsbury where I could work. Finally the country was just on the verge one of the worst recessions in the past twenty years of so. To make matters worse, the industry was about to be shaken by the introduction of computers, and to add to my difficulties, I knew nothing about computers! There couldn’t have been a worse time to be trying to find work.
Eventually around October I got a temporary job with Midland Printing Services, as a paste up artist. This was much like being the office junior, putting together artwork that was designed by the in house graphic designer. The contract was renewed monthly.