Born in Kent, I trained as a bilingual secretary and went on to work in television, marketing and PR.
My husband’s job took us to Alderley Edge, Cheshire just after my first daughter was born. There I became very involved with the NCT (National Childbirth Trust) and became a parish councillor which led me to represent the village on various community organisations including at local schools as a governor.
I also founded a small group of local newspapers and found they were ideal vehicles for supporting charities – fundraising and writing in depth articles about their work. It was here I learnt a great deal about the hospice movement, visiting many in the course of my work. I was also appointed a governor/trustee of the Royal Schools for the Deaf, a home for severely multiply disabled children.
During my time in Cheshire I was also a trustee of a local music festival, eventually becoming. Chairman for five years. Through fundraising and involving local sponsors, the festival grew to be one of the largest of its kind in the UK. I was also involved with the NSPCC and fundraising for my village church.
After selling the newspapers I worked at Manchester High School for Girls as Development and Marketing Director and member of the Senior Management Team, primarily raising funds for bursaries. In 2006 we moved back to the South where I took on a similar role at Wycombe Abbey, a leading girls’ school. Here, I oversaw a team of staff and was responsible for raising funds, particularly major gifts. I became very experienced in data protection, data management, charity law and working with volunteers. I was one of the first in my profession to be appointed a Fellow of my professional association, the Institute of Development Professionals in Education (IDPE). I was also a member of the Institute of Fundraising.
I now occasionally work as a consultant in that field and spend time in the Algarve where we have a house. Here I joined the executive committee of Madrugada, a palliative carecharity in the Algarve, with the aim of raising funds for a hospice. My various professional and voluntary roles have given me much experience of teamwork, committee membership, charity governance and the role and responsibilities of being a trustee.
In my personal life I have two daughters, one living and working in Brussels and one in London. 15 years ago my husband, Rob, suffered an above the knee leg amputation due to an undetected aneurysm. This, although extremely traumatic for both of us at the time, has given me an insight into the effects of such an experience. Rob recovered and is very active but I am certainly now aware of how life can change at any moment.
Four years ago we bought our home in Westcliff as a base in England but after some wavering we have decided not to take the Algarve retirement route and have opted to settle in Westcliff. I have for some time wanted to work for the community but because of location or work it’s not been possible until now.