John’s long-awaited retirement has finally come around! He’s cleared his desk (or someone has…), no longer walks in the door at 9am and is no longer on hand for impromptu weather reports or ferry updates.

And so, we know you are all wondering, without candidates to select, or Volunteers to train, send off and then visit around the world…what is he up to now!?!? 

As most of us well know, John is a man of many talents, interests and areas of expertise, and while most are aware of his ability to turn a hand to an impressive array of tasks, some of his favourite pastimes may surprise you.

Since retiring from Project Trust, John has had a lot more time to spend on his other passions in life. Here is a short list of what he has been up to recently:

Dancing the night away…

John never really let a full-time career at Project Trust contain his ambitions on the dance floor; overseas visits in particular were a great opportunity to share his skills. John was known to return to Coll with unbelievable stories of championing South American dance competitions, and Country Coordinators on visits to Asia are often asked of the island man who had once wowed audiences in local dance halls. Despite this, retirement has given John the freedom to truly delve into his passion for a jive, and the photo below gives an idea of how he has spent many an evening in the weeks since leaving the office.

6 Things Alex Learned


John’s skills behind the wheel is infamous, but now relieved of his responsibilities for driving Volunteers around Coll, or navigating 4x4s across the plains of southern Africa, he has had to find a new outlet for his aptitude in this area. Retirement has allowed John to turn fully towards one of the other great passions in his life, the sea, as captain of his own boat. The therapeutic properties of salt water are well known, and as you can see, the open sea and ocean breeze have already taken at least ten years off him.

6 Things Alex Learned

In vogue…

An area of particular frustration for John throughout his long career was the limited opportunities to pursue his love of style and passion for fashion. Although well known for his chic retro look around Coll – no one has ever quite been able to match his signature 1980s rugby jersey flair – he simply lacked the time to fully apply himself to this particular pursuit while working for Project Trust. However, with retirement has come more time to dedicate to what he loves, and correspondingly a whole new level of poise and panache in his attire, as is clear from his recent appearance on the cover of a well-known island publication.

6 Things Alex Learned

Observing and pointing out things around Coll:

John’s panoramic office window offered ample opportunities to observe Coll’s celebrated wildlife, and a keen eye meant he was able to spot things seemingly invisible to the untrained observer. Staff in the overseas department were seen on occasion sprinting towards his office in response to an alarming yelp or hysterical scream, only to find the source of John’s agitation to be a white-tailed sea eagle or rare corncrake which had by then mysteriously disappeared from view. With retirement has come greater opportunity to observe all there is to see on Coll and the chance to share those observations with even more people. In the past few weeks groups of somewhat dazed tourists have been spotted at the hotel; having missed their ferry home following a 4 hour chase across dunes for a glimpse of a rare nesting bird that John had apparently spotted moments before.

6 Things Alex Learned

Feeling grateful…

However, despite all the dancing, styling, sailing and bird watching, what has given John the greatest satisfaction since his retirement has been the kind wishes and incredibly generous donations that have been sent in by our Returned Volunteers and Friends over the past few weeks. If you haven’t received a letter from John, it may be that your details are out of date on our system, please follow this link to find out more about John’s retirement and how you can help him secure Project Trust’s future. For those of you who have already donated, we are all so grateful, John has been busy writing thank you letters which will be with you very soon. If you are still thinking about it, please do go ahead, your gift will make a difference and your contributions are essential to our future. Thank you and we hope we can rely on your continued support.

6 Things Alex Learned

A big thank you to John for telling us all about his exciting retirement so far. While we miss him around the office, we’re glad to see he’s been making the most of new opportunities!

We hope you enjoyed reading this as much as we enjoyed writing it!

With warm wishes, from us all at Project Trust