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John Gillett was born in Buckingham in 1937 and began caving in 1958, during his National Service. Whilst at university, he was president of the university caving club. He worked in the plastics and pharmaceutical industries as a Chartered Chemical Engineer for thirty-seven years. During his industrial career, he designed, developed and ran, several new processes, published many chemical engineering papers and wrote a book on risk assessment. He retired in 1999 and works as a freelance writer and lecturer.
John is still an active caver and a member of several UK caving clubs. He is a fluent French and Spanish speaker, with survival German and other languages needed in European limestone regions. He led a successful expedition to the Gouffre Berger in 1983.
He is married, with one daughter, who is a Chartered Chemical Engineer, and two grand-children. He lives in Gawsworth, Cheshire.