My Story

Who am I?

I’m a positive determined person, doing all I can to improve lives be that mine, my family’s or the wider community. 

Of all my facets disability is the least important. It’s a cliche but I am not my disability and disability is not a personality trait. It is simply something that affects how I do things. So what you won’t see here is detail about my conditions. 

Ancient History

I grew up in East Lancashire, the second child of active teacher parents. My childhood was spent hiking, cycling, sailing. My dad ran an outdoor pursuits centre in the Yorshire Dakes and so I spent my school holidays with 30 older brothers exploring the fells. When we weren’t there we were sailing, canal boating or caravaning. 

I eventually went off to uni to study computer science, this is when my health really had an impact. I was a long way from identifying myself as disabled but by graduation I was walking with two sticks.

I married soon after uni, graduating in a recession I kind of fell into teaching.  

After having children is when my career really got to be fun and fit with my personality. First I worked with school age parents, before becoming a charity manager supporting families. 

My love for the outdoors endured and we spent much of the children’s early years exploring Cumbria on foot and bike. Indeed the last ‘leg thing’ I did was mountain biking.

This is when disability become more of a factor and I become a powerchair user and could no longer work.Now single with two primary aged children I moved to Cumbria to give them a childhood filled with freedom and adventure. This is honestly the best decision of my life.  These were tough years but exciting ones too.  This is when I became enthusiastic about dog training, a hobby that endures. 

The years passed,  as a family we adventured, supported others and got by. 

I moved to Carlisle when my conditions meant I could no longer drive and so living in  town became essential

The Family

I am mum to adult twins and three dogs.

Chris is  a photography graduate with a passion for climbing. He graduated during the pandemic, far from ideal.  He is now an idependent climbing coach and offers active outdoor photography shoots.  He also helps me live independantly and ‘borrows’ Percy often. 

Susanne is a medical student, she enjoys the outdoors but her true passion is travel, especially to the developing world and hops to pursue a career in international medicine.  Being a med student during the pandemic has been far from ideal, with her only making it home once since March 2020.

I am incredibly proud of both of them and am excited to see how their lives progress. 

Mickey, the oldest and naughtiest canine, came from Romania when Neo was 18 months.  Following a break in he got lost on the fell behind our house, after a week adventuring he finally gave himself up and returned to family life.  He’s blind, not that you’d know from his many mischievous antics

Neo is my now retired assistance dog, he’s very much a sofa dog these days and lives to eat.  

Percy features for more in my exploits, being impossible to tire.  He’s always excited and always ready for adventure.

Modern History

Back in August 2020 I had a heart scare. I was fully aware of the increased risk from Covid with being overweight and thankfully this scare, mid pandemic hospital admission and subsequent recovery was enough to make me address my fitness and general health.

Having been a powerchair user for around 17 years I had virtually no stamina and my mobility was seriously limited.  Initially I really did not think I could lose weight or exercise but I realised I had to fix my sugar consumption. I do not sleep well and so was eating sweets all night most nights. Initially I switched this to grapes and crackers. Whilst this was an important step in addressing this problem I was still eating far too many calories but by having success with this adjustment I was able to progress towards healthy foods and weight loss. 

It certainly helped having Chris and his healthy habits here to be able to avoid my old sweets and takeaway habit. Also with him providing my care, thus me no longer struggling to get home cooked food really helped me get established. 

This very gradual approach to starting to lose weight was the key to me getting started. After all anyone can eat a few less calories when there isn’t the pressure of a large calorie drop and so it was, with  easy micro steps without worrying about the big picture. 

The next big positive came with me learning to move.  With Susanne unable to come home we shared a fitness challenge during September (fundraising for refugees) this let us bond over zoom and let me slowly increase my exercise levels. At first this was very easy 20 minute youtube workouts.  Eventually I took the plunge and got the manual wheelchair. 

Chris would take me to the park, I would wheel on a flat path and he brought me home.  By the end of September I was taking myself the whole loop from home to the park and back, a grand total of 1.27miles.  It felt amazing to be doing this on my own.  It’s incredible to look back now and remember the sense of achievement for distances I now consider negligible.  

Social Responsibilty

I have always seen the inequality in our society and wanted to address it.  This has lead me throughout my life to want to help others and push back against the unfairness endemic in the human expereince.  Some of efforts have been

Training assistance dogs for people unable to access the main charities

Fundraising for various causes

During the Cumbria floods of 2010 Susanne and I collected and distributed toys and gifts for affected children. With it being so close to Christmas many families lost all the gifts they had bought and with all they were facing could not have replaced them. 

Homeless Charity – I started, ran and registered a homeless charity in Lancaster, recruiting volunteers and running a street cafe and clothing distribution to fill the gaps of the established  services.

 Throughout my weightloss my challenges have been raising money for charities from refugess, to vetrans and children.

Current Fundraising

Current Fundraising

If you want to show your appreciation for my various challenges please consider donating to one of these charities

YoungMinds. Children’s mental health charity


Planned Challenges

12 Miles 12 Hours 13 April

I intend to complete one mile on the hour every hour for 12 hours on 13 April. 

I will am hoping to call at 12 local businesses to be able to give them exposure as they reopen


Hadrain’s Wall 

I intend to wheel from Tynemouth to Ravenglass during the summer.  A distance of around 160 miles, approximately following Hadrian’s Cycleway