I served the people of Brentwood West for four years between 2007 and 2011, lost by ten votes in 2011 and returned with 1,003 votes and a 336 majority on 3rd May 2012.
I’ve always had a lively interest in politics and joined the Liberal Democrats after being a long-time supporter and voter. My real involvement in local politics began when I, by accident rather than design, became the lead campaigner in the “Save Thorndon Park” campaign in Winter 2005. It was through this that I realised that I was capable of standing up for a cause and for others and I felt that standing for council was the right thing to do. I’m glad to say that we won and Thorndon Park is currently safely preserved for future generations due to this campaign.
Born at Rush Green Hospital on 3rd April 1971, I grew up in Upminster, attending Branfil and Gaynes schools, and then moved to North End, Warley, with my mother and sister in 1992. I now live in a garden flat in Brackens Drive, having spent 3 years (1999-2002) in Stondon Massey. My place is a few metres away from the edge of the ward, but I’m in Brentwood West most days as my mother lives in the ward!
I hold the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Diploma in Marketing and gained chartered status in 2004. I studied for my marketing qualifications in my spare time, via home study which taught me to be disciplined!
I started work in 1989 at Selfridges and worked my way from junior secretary to Marketing Executive when I left the store in 1996. I worked on Tesco Clubcard for 18 months, then went to Lakeside Shopping Centre in a senior marketing role and then to the National Gallery as marketing & sales manager. Many people in Brentwood know me from my next role where I was to spend five years as Business Development & Marketing Manager at BUPA Hartswood Hospital in Warley. I left in April 2006 after a wonderful time at Hartswood and being named as one of the top 3 marketing managers in the country. I then joined the Office of Fair Trading, where I was Head of Marketing for Consumer Direct, the government’s helpline for consumer advice, for four years. The website I managed was named in The Guardian’s Top 100 websites for two years running and was one of the top three consumer sites in 2009! In 2010 I set up my own marketing consultancy and after almost four years I have just begun working as Head of Marketing for an outer London theatre you may know!
In my spare time, I am a gardener, a twitcher, a shopper and an animal lover. I have two cats – Dillon & Daisy and there’s my lovely Louis the shih tzu too (he’s a cute ball of fluff who you will often see me walking around Brentwood West) who lives with my mum in the ward. Watch out for the hashtag #brentwoofwest on twitter as he is officially Brentwood West Dog!
Just before Easter 2013, I “fostered” an elderly death row shih tzu who I called Bailey. No-one was surprised when I adopted him two months later! Bailey tweets as @DailyBailey_Dog and certainly agrees that he has rather landed upon his paws!
I love spending time with my nephew, Freddie, or doing some Lib Demmery. I have traced my family tree back to the 16th century, finding links to weavers, publicans, the military and The Krays! I am also a volunteer for DogLostUK and a campaigner for pet microchipping.
By the way, I have appeared on three TV Quiz Shows (Don’t Forget your Toothbrush in Christmas 1998 where I won a Mini Cooper (!) and The Weakest Link in January 2007 where I finished third, after being tactically voted off in the penultimate round!)
I was delighted to be up against Shawn Wallace, but didn’t come away with a small fortune, just some great memories of a lovely day!
…and this is the sort of thing I get up to as your local councillor!