Offord was born at 33 Bank Street, a tenement block right in the centre of Greenock. His mother was a nurse and his father a building surveyor. He was the third of six children, which meant there “wasn’t a lot of money” growing up. “But what was very valued in that household was education. And so that was the focus really, of home life. I always felt that I wanted to spread my wings, get away and get up and out in the world,” he says.

He attended local schools before leaving for Edinburgh University in the early 80s. “That’s when the shipyards were closing and that’s when the deindustrialisation was happening in the west of Scotland and as a group of school leavers, we were effectively forced to leave and go around the UK or the world… I suppose with deindustrialisation, opportunities closed down – but that allowed us to flourish.”

While he puts a positive spin on feeling he had to leave Greenock to be successful, this is what fuels his enthusiasm for building up the towns of Scotland now. It’s a central tenet of the UK Government’s levelling up agenda.

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