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Former Homeless Man Joins Forces With Sir Ranulph Fiennes & Ella Henderson For An Event Designed To Change Your 2024


Many of us are waving goodbye to a difficult 2023. All industries and most businesses felt the pinch of 2023 in one way or another. A new year can be a daunting and anxious time. However, a new year is also a chance to take stock and reset for the year ahead. A time when we can think about our goals and ambitions both personally and professionally and figure out how we might achieve them.

The weather and general feeling of January are not always conducive to that. We often need some inspiration to take us there and a former homeless man from Manchester is setting out to do just that.

Ella HendersonThe now proud father of 3 and multiple business owner, James Burke has joined forces with some big names such as singer Ella Henderson, explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, comedian Paul Smith and former UFC champion Tom Blackledge to put on an all-day event like no other designed to give us all tips and mechanisms to live a happy, healthy and prosperous 2024.

Now you may not be surprised to read that 9.2 million UK adults describe themselves as drained and desperate. 16-24-year-olds suffer from loneliness more than any other age group and only 15% of employees worldwide feel engaged. James Burke has felt all these feelings after being thrown out of 4 schools as a teenager, becoming homeless at 16 for three years and losing four loved ones to suicide. 

He candidly states that his life wasn’t worth living and he was at rock bottom sleeping in outhouses and sheds. The 34-year-old is now a successful businessman, speaker and award-winning author. The Master Your Life event is his brainchild because he is intent on giving back after overcoming incredible adversity in his own life.

James was born into poverty on an estate in Salford. One of eight siblings, the education and social care system failed him which resulted in him sleeping rough for three years. “I felt I had nothing to live for. I felt lonely, isolated and in pain which are feelings associated with homelessness. I didn’t know how to feel better and I began to feel suicidal.” 

James was sleeping in outhouses, occasionally sofa surfing and also secretly sleeping at his local boxing gym. He was taken under the wing of one of the coaches who discovered he had natural talent. James was then put on a coaching programme. This was the first turning point in his life, although it was to have a cruel ending. At 18 James became a professional ‘middleweight’ boxer and he had the world at his feet. Then he was diagnosed with Osteoporosis and his boxing dream was over almost as soon as it started.

James BurkeThe then 18-year-old James sunk into a deep depression compounded by his role model at the boxing club also dying by suicide. He put on 5 stone in 6 months. It was during this time and at his lowest that a friend kept inundating him with motivational videos. In one the speaker said ‘The average CEO reads 50 books a year’. Something resonated with James and he decided to start reading and didn’t stop. He got through around 350 books in 5 years. 

During that time and with everything he had gleaned from the books he applied for a job as an estate agent at Your Move. Within 18 months he was branch manager and a further 18 months on he won a national award for taking the branch figures up substantially and was made a Director of one of the largest estate agency groups in the country YOPA earning 6 figures. This was 5 years on from being homeless and with no qualifications.

Tom BlackledgeJames now helps others to achieve their goals and says he wants to give something back. He feels that if he can beat homelessness and with no qualifications go on to do what he has then anyone can do the same. On Saturday, January 27th James is hosting the Master Your Life event from 10:00 until 19:00 at The Birmingham Symphony Hall to tackle wellbeing and personal development. He will speak alongside Sir Ranulph Fiennes and fellow former boxer and mental health champion Tom Blackledge. 

There is also music from Ella Henderson who herself has been vocal about her personal and mental health struggles. A Q + A with comedian Paul Smith and a talk from best-selling author Michael Heppel all in the beautiful space of the Birmingham Symphony Hall.

“If I can do this with no qualifications, no home and at rock bottom I know others can too. I want to share my journey because I didn’t have a leg up. I did it in the hardest possible way. I’ve lost three people to suicide including two of my sisters and I know I could have headed down that road too. If you had a tough 2023, don’t settle for more of the same in 2024. Whatever you want, make January 27th the day you ignite massive new changes in your life and make them stick. Come and be part of the Master Your Life event.” 

The action-packed Master Your Life Event is on Saturday 27th January from 10.00 to 19.00 at Birmingham Symphony Hall. 

Tickets are selling fast but Real Business readers can access an 80% discount by putting in the code MYL80. To buy tickets click this link.

Birmingham Symphony Hall



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