He went to Sacred Heart Primary School in Henley for a short time before completing his studies at the Blessed Hugh Faringdon School in Reading, where he discovered his love of athletics and became a keen county runner. After leaving school, Eric had a variety of different jobs, including working at GDS, Thames Carpets and Waldens and as a milkman. He first met his wife, Margaret Blackall, while playing on the rec at Gainsborough in Henley. They were married on August 6, 1966 at Holy Trinity Church in Henley and had a long and happy marriage together.
The couple moved into their first home in Woodley after they were married and went on to have five children, Tracey, Kerry, Wendy, Terri and Gary.