I graduated from St Luke’s, Exeter University as a teacher of Physical Education and Science in 1995. I then worked with Professor Neil Armstrong at the Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre, focussing on a longitudinal study of children’s health and activity levels. I have since taught in various schools in Dorset and Wiltshire. Frustratingly, since my teens, I have had many health issues which have certainly hindered my ambitions. I am no longer able to teach, but feel confident that I have much to contribute. I volunteer with local charities in Salisbury (Horatio’s Garden and Encircles) and I am always busy with my auntie duties. I spotted the opportunity to be a part of the Side by Side Team in an email from the Royal Voluntary Service as I am an NHS Volunteer Responder; the scheme set up during the pandemic to support vulnerable people in the community with shopping, prescription deliveries, patient transport, phone calls and stewarding at vaccination centres. I am proud to be the Volunteer Representative on the Advisory Board of the Scheme and it has been fascinating to have a small glimpse into how NHS England works, which has left me wanting to learn more.
I am excited to see what opportunities present themselves for me to be able to share my experiences. I am looking forward to being involved with Side by Side to encourage departments in what they are doing well and to offer an insight as a patient who is under multiple consultants, in a wide range of disciplines, in various hospitals. Having turned 50 last year and still searching for a better and more helpful diagnosis, I am keen to promote joined up thinking about patients’ holistic care.