Let me introduce myself… My name is Scott William Laurence Ford, I am the founder and host of Guiding Light Ball. I’m extremely passionate to help support others going through difficulties as I’ve been through many myself – all of this has inspired me to setup Guiding Light Ball.

But before I get ahead of myself let me take you back to the start.

I was born prematurely on Wednesday 25 July 1984, 3lb 7oz, to the late Catherine Ford (nee Price) 11 November 1949 ~ 16 September 2004 and William Lloyd. I am Catherine’s 3rd and William’s 5th and last child. I am the little brother to 3 half brothers, a half sister and a biological brother. My mother was married to her then husband for several years but sadly the marriage came to an end. They then had a daughter Lisa, who was born in 1969, later she went on to have Mark in November 1975 and nearly 10 years later I was brought into the world.

As I grew into a little boy, I was removed from the parents at 3 1/2 years old. After a spell living in a children home, my first new fostering family came and chose me and I went to live with Robert and Elaine Murphy and their daughter Lisa and their beloved little Yorkshire terrier Sherry for a number of years in the Hartlepool area. At the age of 7, I went on to live with another fostering family, Paul and Glynne Johnson and their 3 daughters and family horse, Flicker, in a lovely countryside village to the north of Stockton on Tees in August 1992. I lived with them for about 18 months. Sadly, another move back to Hartlepool, In October 1993, I went to live with Alexander and the Late Maureen Wilson with their grown up sons and daughter and their beautiful dogs.

In August 1998 I got to see my real-parents William and Catherine, got to know to them slowly over the years, starting with my biological brother Mark who came to the childrens home and took me to my first pub where my real-parents were waiting and we took it from there. We later started a monthly visit for one hour or so at a special social services place in Hartlepool, supervised by a staff member until things became more relaxed and I was able to see them regularly, every Saturday for a couple of years.

After a while, in 1994, I was moved to a town in North Wales some 20 minutes away from the City of Chester to live with the fostering family with the possibility of adoption with Michael and Christine Whelan and their 2 daughters and son. However that was not to be and I was returned in the North East of England, back with Alexander and Maureen Wilson, my previous fostering family, for a while, until I was placed in the care of a children home, in the Hartlepool area in November 1996 until May 1998 when I was once again returned to Alexander and Maureen Wilson. A few years later I was given the chance to live in Doncaster, at the Communication Specialist College (previously; Doncaster College for the Deaf then Doncaster Deaf Trust) in South Yorkshire where I began a full time course in Business and Media Technologies. I took up residence on site and made a firm decision to stay at the college for much longer with reduced weekends back home and visits during half term. From October 2001 until October 2004, I lived with another fostering family; Barry and the Late Myra Adams in the Hartlepool area.

British Sign Language and charity events have always played a big part in my life.

My hobbies include travelling, night outs and in with friends. I love my soaps especially Emmerdale! And, yes of course – Eastenders, Holby City, Casualty and Coronation Street.

Quad Biking trails/countryside & Horse Riding was one of my favourite outdoor activities when I was fostered and I was luckily enough to carry these on when I lived in a children home as a young boy – I used to be excellent at swimming, winning some medals at the Great Britain’s Northern Championships where all the Special Needs/Deaf Schools were invited.

That’s all for now and thank you for reading.

Co Host

A bit about me.

My name is Janice Elizabeth Bernadette Crossland-Jones. I am the founder of The Fylde Coast BSL Centre and a BSL Tutor. I am originally from Preston, Lancashire but through work commitments I have lived all over England.

I was born profoundly Deaf as my mother had German measles whilst pregnant with me. I was her third child, unfortunately we lost my sister, Alema to a blood clot not long after she was born. 1 year later I was born. My birth Father disappeared as he was a Muslim man and I was the second girl. He wanted a son. So…my mother, who was living in Sheffield at the time she was pregnant with me decided to leave her family and start a new life in Preston.

My mother found it very difficult without a support system and I was looked after by a Foster family who my mother was friends with. This is the reasoning for my surname hyphenation. I was fostered at 11 months old by the Jones family. My family grew, I have 1 half-sister and 2 half-brothers. I also have 3 foster brothers and 2 foster sisters. When I was 18 months old it was recognised that I was profoundly Deaf.

When I was 3 I went to Doncaster School for the Deaf. This was too far away so I then moved to Liverpool Eliot deaf School. I was there for a very short time as my family discovered the Royal Cross School for the Deaf in Preston. At the time this was a residential school and I was able to come home at the weekend to spend time with my family.

During my time at The Royal Cross School they used the Oral method of teaching, and we were punished if we were caught using sign language. However, two years before I left the school got a new head teacher; Mr Jones from Wales. He was a believer in the manual method of teaching and we were finally allowed to use BSL.

Unfortunately, this had come too late for me and I left school at 16 with little qualifications. I had many different jobs after leaving school. The first of which was a chamber maid at the Crest Hotel.

I was unhappy in just doing any job to earn a living and always wanted to be a teacher. When I turned 27 I enrolled at Bolton College to study to become a qualified teacher. I also took a NVQ course in business. Once I became qualified I worked for Bolton College teaching BSL courses for 2 years.

I continued to teach and was lucky that this took me all across the UK gaining a lot of experience.

Whilst working for Manchester University I took a holiday to Greece. During this holiday I was involved in a very serious motorbike accident which left me with a broken back and arms. The recovery took over 12 month and I had to stop working. During this time a lost my confidence and wondered if I could ever teach again.

I wanted to get back to teaching but knew I wasn’t ready to do so in universities yet. So to help build my confidence again I decided to set up my own classes teaching basic BSL. I was living in Blackpool and contacted the council to see if there was anything they could do the support a new small business. They were very supportive and help me to set up my first class in Cleveleys. My confidence began to grow and so did the classes. What started off as a way to help me build my confidence turned into my own business, The Fylde Coast BSL Centre.  The Centre has been open for 14 years now delivering Signature qualifications and offers courses from beginners right the way up to interpreter training.

I have been fortunate enough to also expand into owning holiday homes. I own an apartment in Turkey which I have had for 14 years and a static caravan in the Lakes since February 2019.

My hobbies

I am a lover of all sports but most of all I enjoy supporting Preston North End football club. I also used to follow Scottish Jocky Wilson (now retired), and Phil Taylor when they played Darts.

I played football for 25 years for Chorley and Bolton ladies. I was training to be the goal keeper for England’s women’s Deaf team with Leanne Hall (England professional goal keeper) when I broke my fingers. This unfortunately meant I could no longer play.

I am a big lover of animals and have a beautiful cat called Forest. She is now 19 years old and I have had her since she was 7 weeks old. This year a achieved another dream and now spend most of my free time with my beautiful horse Kristoff. I love how my life has changed from being a city girl to heading out into the country, enjoying the open spaces and spending time building a relationship with him.

I look forward to retiring one day but would love for my Centre to continue. Perhaps my PCA’s Ellie Newman and Steph Pedler will take over one day.

I have been a teacher and assessor for around 24 years and have won different awards including the professional contributions award from Signature last year.  I have also been lucky enough to work in many different places and with many different companies. One of which is the charity SignHealth in Manchester. I have a strong sense of empathy and want to help others as best I can. I often have friends come to me with problems and I help them find ways to deal with the situation.

I have a passion to help people and have found that learning BSL can help build people’s confidence. I also enjoy sharing my language with others.

Thank you for reading. I look forward to seeing you at the ball.

Janice x