Vivacious, kind, caring and full of life. I love being a wife, mum, mum in law and granny. I am very family oriented with a few very good friends. I am ambitious, innovative and creative with a talent for turning things around. I enjoy working with people and am a skilled communicator who can encourage and support teams to achieve new goals. I am a perfectionist who constantly looks for new challenges and follows these through. I am ambitious for my family and friends and I am always on hand to give advice and support. I give 100% of who and what I am to everyone. I am strong, brave and determined and have a unique skill set that I utilise daily.
Happiest childhood memory?
I loved our family holidays and going to Boarding School at eleven where I made life-long friendships.
What was your first job?
After my GCSEs I worked in Dunnes Stores and then Primark before commencing my General Nurse Training at seventeen and a half. I knew that to get into Nursing I needed 5 GCSEs including Maths and English and achieved that goal. I was definitely not an A Level student as I knew my own strengths and followed the vocational route into Nursing. I have realised over the years that academic intelligence cannot be measured by the Eleven Plus or examination grades. When I found a career that I loved I gained my academic mojo and shocked my parents by being their only daughter to achieve a Masters Degree. The important lesson is that when you put in the hard work, the graft, you continue to grow. If you have a dream….follow it. Stickability… one of my favourite words…. Be the best that you can be and never give up!
I really don’t have one. I enjoy a range of authors, Rosie Goodwin, Emma Blair, Lesley Pearce, JoJo Moynes, Nora Roberts, Sheila O’Flanagan, Cecelia O’Hearn and others. When I find one I like I literally devour every one of their books. I love a book that has a good storyline and always pass books on to friends and family.
Inn of the Sixth Happiness. I could watch this film again and again. The heroine Gladys Aylward (Ingrid Bergman), a British maid, believes that she is destined to go to China. She is rejected as a missionary, but she eventually finds her way to the town of Yang Cheng and happily runs an inn there. Her peaceful existence, however, is interrupted by Japan’s invasion of China. Aided by Lin Nan (Curt Jurgens), a half-Chinese/half-Dutch military officer, Gladys must lead a group of orphans to safety by embarking on a dangerous mountain journey. Her tenacity and fearlessness are an inspiration to everyone.
Favourite television programme?
I have a couple. Location, Location, Location and the escapism that offers and Call the Midwife reminding me of my early career as a Midwife in the eighties and the emotions I shared with all of my mums and dads as we brought their little ones into this world. The programme is well balanced as not all births have a happy ending. Midwifery is a career which, like nursing, involves happy and sad times, worry for parents and families and the realisation that the circle of life comes to an end, often much more quickly than anticipated.
Oh my goodness… abbreviated online to OMG. Emoji expressions are probably my most used.
Favourite method of relaxation?
Reading. I love to switch off after a busy day at work, no matter what that work is. When you are on granny duty, cleaning (a favourite past time), farming when I have to, I can always rely on one of my authors to transpose me to a different era.
Favourite holiday destination?
Oh… France and camping or England doing the same. I am always chilled and able to switch off and love the simplicity and calm.
Who would you most like to meet?
Oh… I met him 38 years ago! I have been very happily married for 35 years to Harold and he is my star. I am looking forward to going to Buckingham Palace to receive my MBE and with my family at my side I am complete.
What makes you angry?
People being loose with their tongue, being rude or nasty about others. As I have told everyone of my students including my own daughters, kindness goes a long way. We do not know what happens behind closed doors in any home and sometimes a kind word, a hug, a listening ear makes a huge difference. My parents always said that, ‘people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’ and that has always stuck with me. We do not know what is around our own corner. Every family has their own struggles and no one can sit in judgement of anyone else.
What makes you happy?
My family, my husband, my girls, my grand-daughters! Being with the people I love.
I also love my work, my colleagues and friends. I love a challenge and seeing that to fruition always makes me smile.
What human quality do you most admire?
Kindness but that on its own is not always enough. Having strong core values that translate to kindness every day is hugely important to me. Being good to everyone will hopefully mean that kindness is returned when we need it most.
What human quality do you least admire?
A lack of integrity. If we have strong core values honesty will prevail and we will live in a world that we can be proud of.
What has been the most embarrassing thing to happen to you?
I don’t embarrass easily. I have broad shoulders and can take most things on the chin. Before the wonderful Mr. Prendergast did my bladder surgery I would have been compromised on many an occasion. Most were managed but for every woman out there that suffers from incontinence, go and seek medical advice! My surgery in 2012 was life changing.
What was the worst thing to happen to you in your life?
Losing students or young people that I knew to suicide and road deaths. We cannot put a wise old head on young shoulders and we can’t always help everyone but losing a person that we care about is just so so hard. I have never forgotten them or their parents and friends. Nothing in life, the thrill of speed, showing off in front of others, being reckless with your own life and that of others is worth the pain that it causes. I also want everyone to realise that death is final…. There is no way back. Ask for help, share your thoughts and nothing, debt, drug or alcohol abuse, family fallouts is worth taking your own life. There is help out there…ask for it!
What is your greatest fear?
That anything happens that will negatively impact my close family circle. I have witnessed the devastation and pray every night that god keeps my family and friends safe.
What has been the high point of your life to date?
Receiving an email from the Cabinet Office to say I had been awarded an MBE for services to Education. I have been blessed with high points, passing my Nursing, Midwifery, Diploma in Teaching, my Masters, my job, the birth of my two wonderful daughters and my marriage to Harold.
How would you like to be remembered?
As a good human being that did everything she could for everybody she meets.
What is your most treasured possession?
My family and the love that I get back from them. I am not materialistic so actual ‘things’ are not particularly important. It is being loved and giving that back again that matters to me.
If you won the lotto what would you do with it?
Oh that’s easy! Share share share!
If you could be granted one wish in life, what would you ask for?
Continued good health for all of my family and friends.
If you could write your own epitaph what would it be?
She loved and was loved in return