I was born in Dorset and we moved regularly while I was growing up, so while I can call myself a ‘southerner’ (we never lived north of East Anglia), that’s probably as located as my heritage gets. I had a strong interest in science from the age of 7 when I was given my first ever astronomy book. This blew me away and led, eleven years later, to studying physics at Cambridge where I was one of just a dozen or so girls in a class of 150+
A die-hard atheist for most of my life, I completely bought the idea that science and religion were incompatible. I also disliked ‘in-your-face’ Christians of my generation (I didn’t know any others) and their reputation as misogynist homophobes.
After leaving university I worked in research in the avionics industry, but after a few years was seduced by the large sums of money on offer by the city of London to people who could program computers. I made a career in the City for over 20 years, eventually becoming Head of training for Europe Middle East and Africa.
During this time I had two children, Philip and Nicole, now in their early twenties (twins): one of the best things that ever happened to me.
When they were teenagers, my marriage fell apart – something I found devastating and I felt such a failure.
I took up meditation and I explored Buddhism for a few months and even went on a Buddhist retreat. But it was not to be: one momentous day I found myself in a small chapel, in floods of tears, knowing that was where I belonged, like it or not. Loved and lost and found and forgiven, it was my first experience of Grace.
I left a career in the city knowing I was not following the right path: I am one of the few people for whom the banking crisis was fortunate, as I was able to volunteer and receive a redundancy payment sufficient to support my family while I re-trained as a physics teacher.
However, this just did not seem to be enough and within a few months I admitted that I should at least offer myself for the priesthood. Astonishingly I was accepted and I left to train in Oxford after just a year of teaching.
I am delighted to be serving my curacy in Orpington – I have found everyone, both in and out of church, to be friendly and welcoming.