John started in Scouting in Dublin, Ireland, first as a Scout, then as leader of the 73rd Dublin Unit. He trained with the Irish National Training team, becoming a leader trainer by the age of 24 and, in 1980, joined Scouting Ireland as a Scout professional with the responsibility for programme development. In 1985 he became National Training Officer for the Scout Association of Ireland and, in addition, dedicated much of this time to working with the Venture Scout section.
In 1987, John joined the British Red Cross as Youth Officer, taking with him his Scout leadership and training skills. In 1990, he became Head of the Youth Department of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and, in 1995, Deputy Director of its European Department. In 1998, he was appointed Head of Red Cross operations in Vietnam, battling against natural disasters such as storms and floods, addressing issues of disability, HIV/AIDS and community development, as well as helping one of the world's few remaining communist countries to adapt to a changing world.
John is proud, and quite rightly so, of his achievements whilst with the Red Cross, but his heart is very much in Scouting.