53 Year-old Unemployed Manual Worker Beats Ageism by Becoming Award-Winning Creative at Top Advertising Agency -- and Acclaimed Novelist

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53 year old manual worker George Stratford, unemployed for over 3 years, beats workplace ageism and transforms himself into an award-winning creative at top London advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi. Shortly afterwards his first novel is published and sells thousands of copies in the UK during the first few weeks of publication.

How George Stratford escaped the dole queue and found a new career at Saatchi & Saatchi by sleeping on a park bench:

After a savings-destroying trip to South Africa in 1990 to research a novel that he was planning to write, dismay hit George Stratford on discovering that, whilst away, he had lost his job in a company takeover.

But this British born son of a Canadian WWII bomber pilot at first saw his job loss as nothing more than a temporary setback. Little did he realize how rampant ageism had become in the modern marketplace. Despite countless attempts at finding work, for three and a half years he was made to feel virtually unemployable. Living in a rented room with just unemployment benefit to get by on, only writing his novel kept him going.

When this was finished there was another new challenge to face. At 51 years old George decided to return to full-time education for two years at Falmouth College of Arts, where he studied for a Higher National Diploma in Advertising Copywriting. It was during the latter stages of this course that he won for himself a two-week placement at the world famous advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi.

Having used all of his money on the train fare to London, George found himself spending several nights sleeping rough on a city centre park bench. Then an Account Director in his department discovered what was happening. The man, John Wright, with nothing to personally gain, immediately offered to put George up at his own home until the money for proper accommodation was arranged. That was in 1997. John Wright has since risen to become Managing Director of Saatchi & Saatchi, London.

Grabbing his opportunity with both hands in what is normally considered to be very much 'a young person's business', George shone. So much so that at the end of his placement he was offered a full-time copywriting position with the agency to begin immediately after graduating. Shortly after taking this up he won a highly coveted D&AD creative award for a radio campaign advertising Staropramen, a Czechoslovakian beer.

Things got better still when the novel that had signaled the start of George's troubles, 'In the Long Run', was finally first published in 2000, selling around five thousand copies in the just first few weeks of release. Despite his publishers ceasing to trade shortly after this, glowing reader reviews of the book can still be seen on the Amazon UK website.

The novel has now been re-edited and provided with a brand new cover for its re-release by South Carolina company Booksurge Publishing. In a sense George is now bringing his story back to his North American roots. He would have been raised in Canada had his father not been killed in action when he was just six weeks old.

Steve Cram, former world record holder for the mile for over 8 years and now a popular TV broadcaster in the UK has written a foreword for the book, describing the story as: 'A gripping tale from start to finish'. Every copy of the novel sold in the UK generates a donation to Steve's charity, Comrades of Children Overseas http://www.coco.org.uk .

George's life and fortunes continue to fluctuate. Leaving Saatchi & Saatchi after four happy years there, he is currently working part-time at an advertising agency in Bournemouth – ironically the same town in which he could not find any kind of work at all only a few years previously. His personal story, just like the novel itself, continues to run. More novels from him are in the pipeline.

To discover even more twists and turns in George's recent life, and to read an extract from 'In the Long Run', please visit http://www.georgestratford.com.

In the Long Run

By George Stratford

Against the backdrop of one of the world's most demanding races, four men must fight their personal battles for survival.

The Race: South Africa's awesome Comrades Marathon -- fifty-five miles of physical torture run over a series of massive hills in stamina destroying heat and humidity.

The Men: an idealistic British marathon runner duped into assisting with a murderous plan; a world famous American entertainer who unknowingly puts far more than just his career on the line; a Zulu youth with outstanding natural athletic ability but an unknown enemy; and the dissolute son of a wealthy Johannesburg stockbroker competing in a desperate attempt to preserve his inheritance.

Some of these will learn harsh lessons. Some will pay a far heavier price.

None will ever forget.

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Gifty Stratford
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