If I was to describe myself, I would say, that I am a loyal friend, and someone who doesn’t know how to say No.
I got married in the pandemic to my best friend, who I had known for over 40 years but only got together through loss, it is strange how things happen when we get older. He is my rock and we now have a balanced life of countryside and city life, with plenty of walks in the Chilterns.
Over the last ten years, I have grown and I believe into a better person, as I realised that life is for living and that illness doesn’t define you, it actually shapes you. But, something that a lot of people will say, Cancer changes you as a person that is for sure.
Career wise, for the past twenty five years, I have been in Event Management, whether in the charity sector or doing Weddings and Celebrations or, working in hospitality venues. Something I really enjoy, making someone else’s dream become a reality.
I recently found a report from my school days, some over 35 years ago, when I attended one of those career advice sessions, where they said that my perfect job would be working in a hospital on reception or in patient liaison. And, I laugh to myself now, as I volunteer in The Royal Marsden Chelsea, on reception doing Meet & Greet and help in CCU with administration. It is the hospital that saved my life and I hope my energy can help others on their Cancer Journeys.
In 2014, following the loss of my Mother, I decided to step back from the stresses of Weddings and closed SJD Events Limited, having found a niche in the charity sector where I continued to do events and fundraising till February 2022.
My Fundraising Charity Career history:
- March 2019 to January 2020 – Event Manager at Walking With The Wounded in the London office, supporting the CEO, Ed Parker and Head of Grants, Pamela Deakin.
- May 2018 to May 2019 – Maggie’s Chairwomen, for the BADA ‘Secret Garden’ Gala Dinner, in the heart of London. We raised over £70,000 for the Maggie’s Centre at the Royal Marsden in Sutton.
- September 2018 to January 2019 – Event Manager (Maternity Cover) for the military charity, There But Not There (Remembered Charity). Based in the Royal Hospital Chelsea, I was working on events such as; coordination of the TFL collection day, the Services of Remembrance at Westminster and ‘Bring Tommy Home’ for Christmas with John Lewis Stores throughout the UK.
- September 2015 to February 2017 – Event Coordinator for Military Charity, Coming Home (Haig Housing). Working with a team in the London office, where I worked on the Tower of London For Queen & Country event, where we projected images on the exterior, the first time ever. I also worked on the Rankin book ‘For Queen & Country’ and created an art exhibition with other military artists at the Motor Village in Marylebone.
- February to September 2014, Event Manager for Combat Stress (The Veterans’ Mental Health Charity) based at the head office in Leatherhead, where I was taken on as a consultant, working on a number of key events, within the Fundraising team such as Poppies at the Tower, 100 Birthday Celebration at Clarence House.
- March 2017 to date – Volunteer, Friends of the Royal Marsden at Chelsea. I decided to volunteer as a Friend of the Royal Marsden following treatment for cancer, as the hospital saved my life and I wanted to give something back, and have never looked back as I love it. In March 2019, I was asked to join the Committee of the Friends. I head up the team for Meet & Greet within the hospital at Wallace Wing and Main Reception, which I continued to coordinate with a team of 16 volunteers during the pandemic. Before the pandemic and, then at the end of 2020, I returned to work in the CCU (Critical Care Unit), where I offer reception cover and administration support to the Matron, Sisters and nursing team. I have also worked in the Friends shop, in the Friends Cafe, in Outpatients offering trays of water and even the tea trolley in Medical Day Unit.
- March 2020 to date– School Governor at Stoke Row CofE Primary School. I am the Local Authority and SEN Governor in this small community primary school in the heart of the village. And, then I chair the Teacher & Learning Committee and sit on the SIAMS committee. The school is an important part of the village community and I have enjoyed this role to date and what it entails.
- May to December 2015, Voluntary work at Maggie’s, Head Office, London. Maggie’s is an amazing cancer charity, that offers support through their drop in centres, throughout the UK for everyone affected by cancer as they have a holistic approach which includes all the family. They offer a variety of support services and well-being and I can tell you personally that the benefits of meeting like minded people on their journey helps everyone who is in the Big C Club. It is an amazing charity and in September 2015 with four friends, we did Culture Crawl through the night as Rainbow Warriors, raising over £2,500.