Some words from Michelle about herself: “In 1995 I lost my 18-year-old sister to an aggressive form of teenage bone cancer and eight years later at the age of 36, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Thankfully, in 2004 I was given the all clear and since then I have ran, hiked and cycled all over the world raising money and awareness for Macmillan Cancer Support in memory of my brave little sister.
My husband Mick works away so being a volunteer for 10 years fit in around our two children and enabled me to upskill, gain invaluable experience and make a difference not only in my own community but in the health and social care and voluntary and community sectors.
I began using my voice locally, regionally and nationally and soon gained the confidence to speak in front of many different audiences inspiring others to step out of their comfort zone and take on new challenges no matter how big or how small! I’ve lived in Darlington most of my adult life so I was incredibly proud to receive the British Empire Medal in the 2013 New Year’s Honours List for Community and Charity Work in Darlington and County Durham. Working my way up and being inspired by other strong women, I eventually started getting paid for my dedication and passion to empower others to use their voice.
I am now the Chief Executive Officer for both Healthwatch Darlington and Healthwatch North Yorkshire as well as Lay Member for Patient and Public Involvement for Darlington Clinical Commissioning Group. I ensure those voices are heard at the very heart of local NHS and local authority decision making.
In my personal life I genuinely love living life to the full! Mick and I travel a lot visiting family and friends and spending time with our daughter Emily and her husband James as well as our son Billy. We’re also looking forward to becoming Grandparents for the first time in October! I'm a keen runner and cyclist taking on lots of different challenges during the year and I’m a proud member of the Rotary Club of Darlington, raising money for local and international causes.”