Sue was born in Kent and trained to teach in Liverpool. After enjoying a short teaching career in Dorset and Cheshire she returned to Liverpool University to study for a Masters degree.
Attracted to the voluntary sector, she worked for The Spastics Society before moving to the RNLI – following in the path of her great-grandfather who, 100 years previously, had been coxswain of the Hythe Lifeboat. Initially her job was based in NW England working with volunteer fundraisers. After several years she moved to RNLI Head Office to take to responsibility for all major donor fundraising.
She was the founder Principal of The Lifeboat College, which opened in 2004, where crew volunteers are trained.
She retired from running the college in 2008 to write, walk, garden, travel and volunteer for other good causes.
Aware that the contribution made by women to the work of the RNLI had never been documented, Sue vowed that her first “retirement project” would be to research and write a book on this subject. In 2010, “Hidden Depths: Women of the RNLI” was published. She travels all over the country to share the amazing achievements of RNLI women – and has found interested audiences overseas.
Sue has always had a deep admiration and respect for Nelson Mandela. It was Mandela’s conviction that “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world” that that prompted her to volunteer as a teacher in South Africa. Her time there was both a profound and life changing experience.
After working in the charitable sector for so many years, Sue has now founded the charity Future Bright Trust. The purpose is to support the education of orphans in South Africa.
She travels frequently to South Africa to strengthen her relationships with these children and their carers.
She lives in Dorset.