My mum was born into poverty in Hull. My father came from a family of glassblowers and teachers in York. They both instilled in me the values of education, hard work and community. I feel fortunate to have been able to raise and educate my own three children in this region,where every day I see people manifesting our core values of mutual care and support. I consider bringing up my wonderful family, for the last eleven years as a sole parent, to be my greatest achievement.
Professionally, I am an award winning screenwriter and lecturer at Leeds University. I began as a journalist on local stories and progressed to working as a news editor at ITV Calendar before writing BAFTA and RTS Yorkshire award-winning dramas which highlight important social issues. Running my own television production company, I collaborate with people at all levels, empowering teams to work effectively and managing the finances to enable this. Over my 20 yearwriting career I’ve tackled many issues in my scripts, including the Royal Television Society 2005 nominated drama “Beaten” starring Robson Green which explored male domestic violence and the lack of support for male victims.
A lifelong Labour party member, a dedicated trade unionist and disability campaigner for over twenty years, I am committed to speaking up for the vulnerable, overlooked and marginalised. As the parent of a child with complex disabilities, I’ve spent decades successfully fighting to improve opportunities and services for people like my son. Locally, this includes leading the current campaign to improve access to York city centre for disabled citizens and visitors. Nationally, in my role as Trustee of Choice Support I help oversee the multi-million pound budgets through which this charity supports those with autism and learning disabilities.
In my spare time I love taking walks with our rescue dog. These days we walk close to my home of course but in happier times our favourite walks include the Whitby to Sandsend beach walk. Tarka is also a trusty companion on the campaign trail!