I was born in Musselburgh, Scotland and apart from 4 years living in Bury, Lancs when I was small, I grew up in various villages in Scotland. I went to Glasgow University and obtained a degree in Agricultural Botany, then a Masters in Seed Technology at Edinburgh University.
This took me, eventually to a job in Romsey, Hants, helping to administer growing contracts with farmers in the UK to grow Naked Oats. I was moved up to Bury St Edmunds in 1993 to continue with the same job and have been here ever since.
Throughout my life I have always taken part in exercise classes, went to the gym etc, and although I was working full time with George Burlinghams here, I studied in my spare time to become an Exercise to music Instructor. I reckoned I might as well earn money while I stayed fit!. After qualifying in 1997, one of the first classes I taught was covering for a couple of weeks for Upbeat on a Friday evening. I was asked to carry on with Upbeat as the numbers were increasing and they started to run 2 classes on a Friday night. The exercise team then was just Sarah, Ali and myself. Since then of course, the number of classes, Instructors and nurses has risen to the current level. I have been very fortunate in having been sponsored by Upbeat to study for the BACR Phase 4 Exercise Instructor qualification which I passed in 2002. This is a very highly regarded course which gives Instructors the necessary knowledge and confidence to deliver safe, effective exercise programmes to this specific group of people.
On a personal level, I was married in 1997 but the marriage did not last - we divorced after 2 years. I continued working Friday evenings as well as my full time job however, and then started seeing Chris who I am still with today. I was made redundant from Burlinghams in 2007 and was hoping to start my own business painting murals etc on children’s bedroom walls, playrooms, nurseries etc, but ended up pregnant with our second child before I could get started!!. I have therefore been teaching some exercise classes - mainly for older adults - for the West Suffolk College as well as Upbeat on Friday nights and occasionally covering for Michelle at the New Bury Centre.
I feel very honoured to have been part of Upbeat for the last 12 years and think the group is very special. They do so much more than run exercise sessions. The emotional support of people who have been through similar experiences is so important to members and I would urge all members to keep supporting Upbeat. I hope I will be teaching for Upbeat for many years to come!
The latest venture with Upbeat for me was, of course, working with Michelle to produce the Upbeat 2010 Calendar to raise funds for Upbeat.