‘I should have died at 22 ... I’ve tried to make the most of my life’

Mark Jones
Mark Jones

When Mark Jones, of Newton-le-Willows, woke up feeling unwell at 1am on 31st October 1991, he had no idea that he was about to embark on a life-changing period at the tender age of 22, let alone what lay in store for him over the coming months and years.

He started to feel violently sick, collapsed and was rushed to hospital with no idea what was happening to him.

Mark embarking on a charity bike ride

Mark embarking on a charity bike ride

“Welcome to the world of the subarachnoid brain haemorrhage”, he says now at his office in Warrington’s smart Mandarin Court complex at Centre Park.

“Doctors fought to save my life and, against the odds, I survived.”

Like so many other people who’ve had an early encounter with death, the brain haemorrhage, recovery and long rehabilitation process made Mark reassess his life completely, and recently he completely another charity bike ride, this time from London to Paris to raise £30K for four local children’s charities.

The 48-year-old financial adviser said: “I should have died at 22 and so every day since then I’ve tried to make the most of my life, whether that’s by raising money for local charities or by conducting financial awareness workshops in schools to encourage kids to appreciate the value of money.

“Schools are great at teaching maths, English and history, but there’s very little taught about surviving in the real world and how to budget for your family.

“If they want to improve their lives they should treat money with respect, work hard and save for a rainy day.

“Simple stuff really, but schools need to be teaching this stuff and it’s just not happening enough, in my view.”

Mark has been taking his Wise Money Owl workshops to schools in the Warrington and St Helens area for 9 years and he combines this voluntary work with his charity fund-raising ventures like the London to Paris bike ride.

He cycled from Vietnam to Cambodia in 2014 for Zoe’s Place, the Liverpool-based children’s hospice, and also raised money for Brian House in Blackpool back in 1996.

His financial awareness classes have benefited children from a wide variety of backgrounds throughout the North West and Mark is keen that other business professionals get involved in their local communities particularly for kids who do not have a positive role model at home to inspire them to greater things in adulthood - whether that’s by helping him to raise money and awareness for underprivileged kids or by the financial awareness workshops.

You can donate to Mark’s London to Paris bike ride via:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/MarkJonesLondontoParis

To find out more about his Wise Money Owl project visit:

https://www.assuredwep.co.uk/free-money-management-financial-advice/