Born in Radcliffe, Manchester in 1948, Fred left school at 15 with no qualifications and served as an apprentice joiner, did his City & Guilds Advanced Craft then his HNC and went to work as a surveyor for an international building contractor. Fred spent the next forty years working in the construction industry, apart from a twelve month period when he managed a hotel on the Norfolk Broads. A frustrated sportsman he participated in a few, played football, ran marathons and fell races, attained a brown belt at Karate and, of course, cycled. In his words the only thing he managed to excel in was his ability to be average or worse at everything he tried. Fred loves the outdoors and he has travelled extensively, especially in Europe. His first wife, Gwen died of malignant melanoma aged 47 having been married for 28 years; they had two children a boy and a girl. He has been happily married to Christine for 10 years and they have between them nine grandchildren.