Amazingly I left school at 18 years with 3 A-level GCE Examination results. Fortunately I was lucky enough to find a job I had always wanted as a technician in the Pathology Laboratory at the local Kingsmill Hospital, Sutton in Ashfield Notts . This was a happy experience for me but after 2 years I was ready to move on to pastures new – Southampton University reading Physiology and Biochemistry (1962-1965). Higher education was hard but rewarding and I loved my chosen subjects. Living in southern England was so different to the Midlands and in my 2nd year I cycled down in order to explore the New Forest area on my bike.
After graduating I was lucky to get a Medical Research Council grant to work in the Pharmacology Dept at Nottingham University investigating brain neurotransmitters. From my ‘digs’ in Carrington I used to cycle to work along the Gregory Boulevard and across waste land that is now The Queens Hospital!
In 1966 I was married on World Cup day! I then drifted into teaching moving to Congleton in 1967. Our first child Allison was born in 1968 and I gave up cycling when I was 7 months pregnant.
Embarking on a ‘substitute career’ as a Guide Leader I gave service for 20 years. As a youngster I had enjoyed my Girl Guide years in Sutton especially the outdoor and camping activities. We met in the hut next to the Fire Station and I remember it was great fun when the siren went off!
Jamie my eldest son was born in 1971. We left Congleton in 1973 and after a 5 year spell in Scotland where I learned about communities through the Scottish Pre-School Playgroup Association, we returned to Congleton in 1978 with another son Graham born in 1976.
After 12 years of working in the community as a volunteer I was most fortunate to get a paid part-time job as Congleton Youth in Action Co-ordinator working for a charity but being part of Cheshire County Council Community and Youth Service. The work involved supporting young people as volunteers on projects and placements in the community. This combined all my skills and I was able to learn more about management of the voluntary sector through an NVQ (National Vocational Qualification). I concurrently trained to be an external verifier (examiner) for the RSA Examination Board. Thus enabling me to travel around the country visiting various centres and Further Education Colleges for 5 years. My thirst for travelling was also satisfied through helping to set up a National Federation of Youth Action Agencies through the National Youth Agency in Leicester. Through this work I met many youth workers from all over Britain, which helped sustain my interest. I was also privileged to hold the office of Chairperson for 3 years.
This photo was taken in 1999 at my retirement presentation. I was being ‘wheeled away’ by the Chairman of Cheshire County Council with the Town Mayor and members of Congleton Youth in Action.