Upbeat - Heart Support In West Suffolk

Charity No 1087415
Upbeat Is Affiliated To The British Heart Foundation and Arrhythmia Alliance The Heart Rhythm Charity.

Valeri Axton

(Committee Member, Membership Secretary)

I was born on the last day of the year in Epsom, Surrey and grew up in the 1950’s in Cheam (where Tony Hancock came from). I did not find school very easy especially learning to read. This was not helped by one teacher who used to smack my hand whenever I could not read a word!

I went on to a bilateral secondary school in Kingston upon Thames and followed the grammar stream, although I was a late developer academically. I went on to teacher training in Reading and was the first in my family to go on to further education. I then went on to do the newly introduced B. Ed. (Bachelor of Education).

I returned home and got a job as a teacher in a local Primary school. I had specialised in Nursery/Infant teaching but for most of my career have taught older children. I met my husband David at this school in 1974. He moved to Suffolk in 1975 and I moved here in 1977 when we got married. I took on five step children (four living at home) and two dogs and four puppies!!

We had one daughter in 1986 who was very premature, weighing just two pounds. She needed lots of medical intervention and help as she grew up, but is now 28, a qualified Norland Nanny (very Mary Poppins) and has been accepted for paediatric nursing training in London to start in the autumn.
I got a post as a Special Needs teacher at Beyton Middle school where I worked until December 1988, gaining several promotions. I then went to St. Felix Middle School in Newmarket as Deputy Head and was then moved to be Acting Head and then Headteacher of College Heath Middle School in Mildenhall. It had gone into Special Measures and was very tough in the first few months.

We came out of Special measures in under fifteen months and went on from strength to strength until the school was closed under School Reorganisation in August 2012 and I took voluntary redundancy and retired.
My husband, David, who edits the Upbeat magazine, had a heart attack in November 1996 when his heart stopped. Fortunately, I had called an ambulance and his heart stopped on the way up to coronary care. We attended the rehab sessions at the West Suffolk Hospital and then used to attend exercise classes with Upbeat on a Friday night. Unfortunately David was working away in Leicester and by the time he got home he was tired. (He is not very fond of exercise). So exercising has been very intermittent!

Since I retired we have been travelling, moved house and get involved in various activities. I enjoy reading, swimming, the theatre and helping people. I am a Chair of Governors at a local school.

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