I started writing poetry in 2017 after I retired from the NHS. I had a varied career as a cancer epidemiologist, as a Professor at Nottingham University, a spell in the Department of Health and finally in the NHS as chair of two Hospital Trusts.
I co-founded the charity Mental Health Research UK in 2008. This was in response to the realisation that research into mental illness was desperately underfunded.
My initial inspiration to try writing poetry came from the work of UA Fanthorpe. I met Miss Fanthorpe (as I still think of her) at Cheltenham Ladies College when she was Head of English and I a rather junior pupil. Hearing ‘Not My Best Side’ on a radio programme celebrating her life, I felt I wanted to explore writing poetry again.
That began at a workshop at Cheltenham Literature Festival run by Daljit Nagra in 2016, and has continued with weekly sessions at the Oxford Poets Workshop tutored by Dr Edward Clarke and a poetry module of the BA in Creative Writing at Gloucestershire University led by Dr Angela France. An Arvon course at Totleigh Barton with Jean Strickland was unforgettable. I regularly attend Anna Saunders’s workshops in Cheltenham and Angela France’s Buzzwords poetry.
My pamphlet Black was longlisted for the 2020 Cinnamon Press Pamphlet Prize, my poem Knitting was Highly Commended in the 2020 Poetry Kit Summer Competition and my poem Sally Morgan won 2nd Prize in the 2020 Poetry Kit Ekphrastic Poetry Competition.
I am a Caught in the Net Poet featured poet and several poems are published here
My debut collection Out of the Darkness was published by Frosted Fire in 2021. I was putting it together during the COVID-19 pandemic and it tells the story of a life interspersed with poems about the pandemic.
My second collection, Island (Impspired Press, 2022), tells the story of my relationship with the island of Paxos and the people who became my friends. The first part describes visits to my cottage on the island and the people I met, and the second part my return after an absence of twenty years.