Author, Playwright and Poet
I have been writing stories and poems since the age of about seven, perhaps before that. When 13 years old, I was awarded Highly Commended in a nationwide story competition for St. John's Ambulance Brigade cadets, which was judged by Barbara Cartland and Peter Cheyney. I also had a poem printed in Mickey Mouse comic!
Born in Clapham, London, before the war, my parents, brother and I moved out to a new estate in Queensbury, Middlesex, when I was almost five. We were caught at my grandmother’s in Clapham on the first night of the Blitz, but thankfully escaped unharmed, and soon afterwards were all evacuated by my father’s employers to Chesham, Buckinghamshire, where I attended Dr. Challoner’s grammar school in Amersham. We returned to Queensbury when I was 14 years old. My sister was born during the post-war baby boom.
Having been dancing since the age of three years old, I joined the chorus of a professional touring pantomime when I was 17, which I enjoyed very much. On my return, having become a Christian, I joined a superb church youth club. When they wanted to perform a pantomime, I wrote The Queen of Hearts for them and followed this up with seven more annual pantomimes (usually directing and choreographing as well). Then a friend asked me to help him write a pantomime for his church drama group and we wrote nine together. Three of these were published by Cambridge Publishing Services Ltd. and have been performed by other amateur companies, namely, Sing a song of Sixpence, Dick Whittington and Cinderella.
In the 1950s, I wrote the script of a romantic musical set in 1730, The Green Enchantress, with music composed by a friend, which was performed by a church group.
Two years (1959-61) were enjoyed as secretary to the Editor of Children’s Books at Macmillan’s publishers in London, where I met author Ray Bethers, and I line edited for him five of his short children’s books.
In 1961, I married Denis, a builder and mobile crane hirer, and we moved to Tadley, Hampshire, then over the border into Berkshire. We were bringing up two daughters.
I became local correspondent for three villages for the Newbury Weekly News, our regional independent newspaper, and also their occasional dance and drama critic. During those eight years, no newsworthy happening in the villages was left unreported.
I was widowed in 1988 and moved to Hungerford, Berkshire, in 2005. I now have three grown-up grandchildren.
After nearly 80 years of enjoying dancing, many of them teaching, I have finally hung up my tap shoes.
At the age of 70, I began writing novels, something I had always wanted to do, judging it was ‘now or never’.
Eight novels (seven of them historical) are in print and I am now working on the ninth, The Story of Hungerford, which can be described as a factional account.