I was born in Fairfield Royal Infirmary in Bury, and I owe my life to the doctors and nurses there who cared for me when I was born not breathing. I spent the first day of my life in intensive care; from the start, I’ve felt the benefits of our NHS.
I grew up on Pennine Road in Bacup and went to St Mary’s school. My grandparents – factory workers – lived around the corner, and the majority of my family live in the Rossendale Valley. I go back regularly and I know the issues facing towns like Bacup and Rawtenstall, Nelson and Colne.
I went to secondary school at St Christopher’s in Accrington and many of my friends are from Accrington, Burnley, and Blackburn. After sixth form, I went to Oxford University to study languages, the first person in my family to go to university.
My family has a deep connection to the NHS and Adult Care. My mum was a care assistant and then a nurse in Rawtenstall, working with my aunty and my grandma. My aunty was a Dental Nurse and now works for Lancashire Dental Care across East Lancashire. My brother-in-law is a paramedic. My first job was providing support to children in the care system, and I am now a teacher in a diverse inner-city London school.
I am the NUT rep in my school, and my aunty has served as a UNISON rep.
These experiences have shaped my priorities.
- I want everyone to have the opportunities that I had for a properly funded, quality education.
- I want NHS workers to feel and be valued – held in high esteem and paid a decent wage.
- I want the North of England to be as prosperous as the South, and for Brexit to work to our favour.
- I want ordinary working people to be able to afford a place to live, provide for their family and have decent holidays.
- I want people to be able to provide and care for themselves as they get older.
- I want our communities to feel safe, and for people from different backgrounds to get on with one another.
My story is the story of so many ordinary people from old industrial Lancashire. I want our voice to be heard in Parliament.