A UK grandfather has learnt to read and write at the age of 66 so he can pen his fiancée a love letter after childhood meningitis robbed him of his basic literacy skills.
John Menzies has found basic things such as remembering information, reading road signs and ordering from a menu difficult after suffering from the deadly disease as a child.
The Cambridge man appeared on the ITV program This Time Last Year, hosted by Davina McCall, to present a letter he wrote to his fiancée in which he called her his ‘destiny’ and ‘soulmate’.
He told The Mirror as a child he aspired to be a fighter pilot, but his lack of qualifications meant he missed out on his dream job.
‘I’ve had to do manual work like building all my life. But I always put food on the table and kept a roof over our heads so I did OK,’ he said.
After his divorce nine years ago John met Jill Bateman, now his fiancée, and explained that he had wanted to write her a love letter to share his feelings.
With the help of Davina McCall’s ITV show This Time Next Year, he dedicated a year to learning to read and write through lessons with adult literacy organisation Read Easy.
Davina called his romantic gesture: ‘It’s just such a lovely thing to go through all of that to do something lovely for the person you love. I’m such a romantic, I can’t handle it.’
John’s letter read: ‘To the woman I love, you are my destiny. Every time I see you I love you more. You are my rock and my soulmate. As long as I have breath in my body I will love you.’
The grandfather told the publication he was proud to have finally learnt to read and write, wishing he had done it years ago.
‘Life’s a lot better now. I understand a lot more, I can even pick up a paper and read it now,’ he said.
‘If people believe in you, instead of saying, “Well he’s stupid, he can’t do it”, it gives you the encouragement to go further. Faith can move mountains. Now the sky’s the limit,’ he added.
This Time Last Year is a program where host Davina McCall helps people across the UK pledge to transform their lives over a year.
In the past, Davina has helped reunite long lost family members, helped people loose weight, changing jobs and finding their confidence.
SOURCE: The Daily Mail UK