Guiding and Scouting has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Growing up overseas as an army child, I began as an honorary Cub at my parents’ Cub pack as a four year old in Cyprus. By seven years old I was a Brownie in Germany, and when we returned to the UK, I had a few final months as a Brownie before continuing onto Guides. This was only made possible by my mum taking over as my Guide leader, as the unit would otherwise have closed! I was a pack leader at Brownies and then a Ranger, eventually becoming a young leader with Guides before taking over as Guide leader myself when my mum retired from the position. Work took me overseas for a few years and no one came forward to run Guides in my absence, so on my return to the UK I re-opened the unit.
At that time, I was single and busy changing careers from diplomat to paramedic. Guiding and shift work was a tricky balance, but it was manageable. By the time I completed my three years of training as a paramedic, my single life was behind me and I was engaged to an old school friend with whom I had reconnected. Our first wedding anniversary was also the Christening day for our eight-week-old daughter, and we celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary on Remembrance Sunday in 2019. We now have five children - four girls and a boy - and balancing life with guiding (and Scouting for my husband, who runs the local Scout troop) has been tricky at times, but we make it work.
In late 2018, just around the time of my 12-week scan with our fifth baby, I saw an advert for parents-to-be who might like to take part in a BBC2 documentary. They were looking for both first-time parents and those who already had children, and applicants just had to write a little blurb about what they would bring to the programme. I prepared my pitch, talking about how we both work full-time and how, alongside the ever-expanding family, I was also running my own business teaching Spanish to children as well as doing a full-time degree in antenatal education. I also highlighted the voluntary work that both my husband and I do with local youth groups. Months passed and I hadn’t heard back. I hadn’t even mentioned the programme to my husband and in all honesty, I forgot I had ever applied!