Charlie is one of six siblings born to Susan and Bert in Stevenston, in a seaside town on the north Ayrshire coast, Burns Country where Robert is a popular name.
In Charlie's family it was easy to remember who Bert, Bobby, Robert, Rab Kirk, Big Rab McCreadie, wee Boab and wee Robert were. He was an average pupil in his local schools – Hayock’s Primary and Auchenharvie Academy - an ‘average student who could try harder’.
During his time at Ayr Technical College, he dabbled with studies in architecture and design, he began to gain the higher qualification and started to have thoughts on where he wanted to be in the world. As a consequence of this ‘new found thought’ for the future and after two years of trying an apprenticeship, which wasn't what he wanted, he dropped out.
He spent the next two years as a Mormon Missionary, fulfilling strong religious beliefs and expectations by fulfilling a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. When he got the letter for Manchester he checked which Manchester they meant, a telephone call to the Mission training offices in Salt Lake City confirmed it was the England Manchester Mission. Ah well - it meant he didn’t have to sit behind another class desk! And just to be sure he knew what he was getting into, it rained solidly the night he arrived at Chorlton Street Bus Station!
When his time to leave the England Manchester Mission came, he returned to Scotland knowing where his future lay and what he wanted to do, in those days there was a waiting list for nurse training. He was accepted into Mental Health Nurse training however there was a six months waiting list, so he began to work as a cleaner in Tesco alongside his mother, Susan, Barmaid and Bingo Caller.
Eventually he qualified as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse at Ayrshire and Arran Health Authority and, to avoid the shame, to his church and family, of being homosexual came back to Manchester, the only place he knew outside Scotland.
Having gained experience in General Medical, Midwifery, Orthopaedic Nursing, Psycho-geriatric Nursing, Adult Special Needs and Community Care during training it was easy to get work and temporary accommodation within Manchester at Cheadle Royal Hospital.
He then went to work at Prestwich Hospital to specialise in Substance Abuse and Psychiatric Care. He became Northwest Chair for ANSA (Association of Nursing in Substance Abuse) and adding venepuncture, HIV/AIDS testing and Counselling, Health Education and Promotion, Suicide and Self Harm interventions and Person Centred Care.
During this time he met Tim and after five years in a loving relationship it was time for a family home and a new professional endeavour - one in Salford and the other at East Lancashire Health Authority.
It was during this time and working at Burnley Community Drugs Team, Charlie got his initial diagnosis of M.S. Driving around as CPN was getting more difficult and had to end.
Charlie continued his NHS career as Practice Mental Health Nurse in the Doctor’s Surgery on Bloom Street; a gay GP Surgery established and owned by his partner, Tim.
During his time there he won awards for his work in Hepatitis Screening and Counselling Practice. He also won an award from Depression Alliance, for Treatment and Patient Care in Depression. He studied and qualified with Diploma in Health Education at Manchester Metropolitan University and BSc Psychotherapeutic Interventions at Salford University.
Apart from a busy political life, Charlie enjoys a quiet life with Tim, his partner of 29 years, and is often referred to as Tim's other three quarters'. They have a 'private life' enjoying art, the theatre, good food and drink, holidays to France and cricket, or in Charlie's mind before Scotland beat England, English rounders!
Not bad really from an 'average, must try harder, easily distracted' council estate kid from a family of six being brought up on benefits and now Ceremonial Mayor for the city of Salford!
This page was last updated on 16 May 2019