Ed Mountifield goes to work smiling every day as he loves being part of the community and helping others.
The 62-year-old is the manager of New Mills and District Volunteer Centre and says he is the happiest he has ever been.
Born just outside of Coventry, Ed said his biggest achievement was breaking the mould. He said: “I came from a very working class background where everyone I knew left school and worked at the Peugeot factory. There is nothing wrong with that, but I wanted to take myself out of that environment.
“I was the first in my family to go to grammar school and the first to go to university and it broke the mould which meant I could do what I wanted to.”
Ed did not go to university straight away, but as a mature student aged 30. Before that he was a betting shop manager.
He said: “I got to a point where I thought ‘what am I doing with my life?’ I wasn’t happy and needed a change.”
Ed went to Kent University and studied sociology. After graduating he took a job in mergers and acquisitions in Tumbridge Wells.
He said: “Within two weeks I graduated, got a job and met my wife, June, in a pub.”
The pair were married ten months later, although Ed said there was never a proper proposal - getting married “felt like the most natural thing in the world”.
In 1999 he left the company and moved to the Outer Hebrides for a year to work for a data company. He said this was lovely, but a bit too remote.
He got his next job in Manchester in 2000 and the couple moved to the High Peak. Ed worked there until he was made redundant in 2008.
He said: “I saw a job advertised for New Mills & District Volunteer Centre which was meant to be for six months, but here I am six and a half years later.”
Ed is massive sports fan and used to travel from Coventry to watch Manchester United play.
He also loves a flutter on the horses and has watched the World Speedway final.
He added: “I’ve never looked for jobs, but opportunities have fallen my way and I have been very lucky.”
Since his career change, Ed says he has enjoyed job satisfaction like never before.
He said: “Working here has been the completion of my development as a person.
“It made me realise what is important in life. To be part of the community and help others is a feeling like nothing else.
“Every day I want to come to work and feel I make a difference to people’s lives.” New Mills & District Volunteer Centre provides help for those who live alone, such as befriending services, home shopping, and transport to and from appointments.
Ed said: “I still live in Glossop but the drive into New Mills is so much nicer than the train to Manchester. I’m already smiling before I even get here.
“I have a positive outlook on life. There are bad times but you just have to remember the good points to get you through them.”
Ed has no plans to retire from the centre and says he “would have to be carried out”.