Chiswick Book Festival 2019 : The Full Pitch

Hello and Good Evening.

Most of you here lived through the 1960s and some of you didn’t.    So here’s the story. The 1960s was perceived as the swinging 60s and the permissive society, with the Beatles singing Love, Love Me Do.  And we did. We loved each other. But behind the pop songs and the parties hid dark places. With secret Happenings. Stories, which, even today, many women still keep secret.  But I’ve put mine in a book.

One reviewer wrote: You transported me back to a very different sixties from one that is depicted.


For, back then, in all ordinary families, the code for their daughters to live up to was No-sex-before-marriage. Mothers expected their daughers to walk down the aisle and deserve it. My mum was no exception. So when, still a school girl, in December 1964, I announced that I was pregnant, all hell broke loose.

However, The Baby Box is no depressing saga. It is a story of survival, compassion and forgiveness. It is also, I’m told, amusing. That’s news to me!

Because my punishment for bringing shame on my family was to be banished to a mother and baby home. In the Baby Box you will meet some of the young women with whom I shared those weeks, from a fifteen year old to a thirty-four year old midwife. And yes, I wondered how she’d ended up there too. We met our troubles with bravery, laughter and optimism, but however happy we were, we knew, in the end, we’d have to face the truth. The final act was to fill our baby boxes with clothes, nappies and perhaps a small teddy bear. The box, with our baby, was destined to be given away.

One reviewer on Amazon said: The love expressed through the baby boxes makes this story truly engrossing.

One reader wrote: this book is unflinchingly honest.

Now you might be shocked by the ending of my memoir. Or you might agree with the words: The Baby Box broke my heart but uplifted me at the same time.

You can buy the book through my website (Page: Buy the Book) or Waterstones, or Amazon where it is available as both a paperback and an ebook.

Thank you for listening.

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