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Ovarian cancer and the ROCA Test

Angelina Jolie is the woman who can be credited for single-handedly doing more to raise awareness about ovarian cancer than anyone else; it never made national news headlines until her shared her personal experiences. As a carrier of a faulty version of BRCA1 gene, and having had a double mastectomy, Jolie opted for further preventative surgery, having her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed due...
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In memory of Michael Deaves and my IRA scoop

I was saddened to read that my former Cambridge News colleague Michael Deaves has died. When I first started at the News, Michael appeared rather a daunting and aloof figure, he was the paper’s university correspondent. His sister sums him up nicely by saying: “He had a slightly macabre sense of humour. His coffin will have a lid attached to it that was made by his grandfather in the...
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A literary lunch with The Shop Girls and Sandra Howard

I never imagined ten years ago when I first met the gorgeous Sandra Howard during my role as the Conservative Party’s Eastern Region Press Officer during the 2005 general election when her husband Micheal was the Tory party leader that I would one day be sharing a literary lunch platform with her. Sandra has a beauty and aura that attracts many admirers and has achieved recognition not...
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Where are the world’s best osteomyelitis experts?

Where are the world’s best osteomyelitis experts? I ask this because my son David has suffered from chronic osteomyelitis in his left mandible, his jaw, for more than 11 years. It all started from an abscess in the root of a tooth, and has plagued him for half of his young life. Yesterday David, who is now 24, had an appointment with his consultant Dr Peter Ayliffe at the Eastman Dental ...
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The Shop Girls makes Sunday Times 2014 “brilliant books” list

The year has got off on a terrific start with my book The Shop Girls being included in The Sunday Times selection of best reads for 2014. It is ranked second in the highlighted biography section, a total and unexpected shock, though a very pleasant one. As you can see, my book is listed after Ben Macintyre’s, A Spy Among Friends, who I saw speak in Ely at a Topping author event and I sat...
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100 years on, tributes paid to Captain Scott’s friend Sir Edgar Speyer

One hundred years on, Sir Edgar Speyer has been commemorated for his support in helping to fund Captain Scott’s expeditions to the Antarctic, and for his major contribution to polar research. It follows the unveiling of a plaque at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge where he was toasted for his philanthropy, having been exiled and airbrushed out of history after WW1 following a...
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The Shop Girls launch at Heffers makes history

I have been on cloud nine since the launch of The Shop Girls in Heffers fabulous bookstore, Cambridge earlier this week. The launch was a sell-0ut, with tickets being snapped up six weeks before the event, even before I had secured some for my family, and my editor from Little Brown and agent had also missed out – until more tickets were released to meet demand. It was very much a...
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Good luck Heidi Allen

I am thrilled to hear the news that Heidi Allen has been shortlisted – one of four all-female candidates – as Andrew Lansley’s successor to be the next Conservative parliamentary candidate for South Cambridgeshire. Heidi wooed and won support from party members at South East Cambridgeshire last December, she won every round of votes during the primary selection, only to be...
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The Shop Girls – Rosemary’s story

Rosemary’s chapters are light-hearted and fun. She is a bubbly shop girl who works in the millinery department, also assisting their milliner to make hats for their most fashion conscious and stylish customers at G. A. Heyworth’s, an elegant ladies department store in Cambridge. She is the youngest lead shop girl featured in The Shop Girls. Her chapters include  many true stories of...
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The Shop Girls – Betty’s story

I suggest you have a box of tissues handy when you read Betty’s story from The Shop Girls, it is a real tear jerker and available today on Kindle. My heart went out to hard working Betty, she faced many knocks in life, being brought up by a strict, cold father who made her life a misery. Her unhappiness at home was so great that she tried to sign up for the ATS on her 17th birthday – but was...
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The Shop Girls – Irene’s story

Unbelievably, my shop girl Irene is 93 years-old and amazes me with her energy and youthful vigour. She called me a couple of days ago to say she had been to Newmarket Races at the weekend – and had backed the first three winners! I imagine it was that kind of exuberance that attracted her to her boss, Herbert Heyworth, a complex man who the shop girls either loved or loathed, preferring...
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Chris Curry’s life saving bus pass

Could your bus pass one day save your life? That is the vision of technology entrepreneur Chris Curry who is pioneering a pilot programme to explore the potential use of the humble bus pass as a powerful multi-function personal data bank. The results of the Cambridgeshire Care Card trial will define how it will be adopted as a national care card and could transform future care delivery in the...
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The Shop Girls – Eve’s story

It was Eve who first introduced me to Heyworth’s, an elegant ladies department store in Cambridge which closed its doors 49 years ago. I had never heard of it before, like most people, and yet its memories are still vivid and nostalgic for the shop girls who worked there in a bygone era during the 1940s-60s when courtesy and an immaculate appearance were the order of the day. They are...
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Why do airlines oversell seats?

Hot on the heels of James Dawson’s legal victory in the Court of Appeal, upholding his compensation from Thomson Airlines following a six hour delayed departure for his flight from Gatwick to the Dominican Republic, six years after the flight, I would like to suggest another airline loophole which needs resolving – airlines deliberately overselling seats, which happened to my friend...
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Scott Polar Research Institute commemorates Sir Edgar Speyer – 100 years on

I am so delighted for Prof Tony Lentin that he has succeeded in gaining recognition for Sir Edgar Speyer for bankrolling Scott’s expeditions to the Antartic. Now, 100 years on, a plaque is to be dedicated in his memory at Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute. German-born Speyer was a philanthropic support of the British arts, innovation and adventure in the Edwardian era. This...
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