We moved from Brixham within the year and now settled in the holiday town of Paignton, I was aged 12. I had some great friends and a happy family life. I was however already very body conscious. Throughout my time at boarding school I prayed that I would grow some breasts so that I could wear a bra like the other girls. I guess I prayed too hard and God granted me enough for two. So as I entered Secondary school my awareness of my body and how it differed from others grew more apparent to me. On the surface I had a great deal of confidence, I was always up for a laugh and would try most things so in 1979 when sports day came around and they were short of someone to run in the relay race, I naturally obliged.
There was a great buzz around the school field, parents were watching from the bank of the playing field and one of the male teachers was commentating through a loud speaker. I lined up for the race, I was in 4th place, I could see the baton coming towards me, the team was doing well. I grabbed the baton and ran for my life, then suddenly I heard “Look at her go”. This was followed by a stream of laughter from the crowd. I wasn’t a fast runner and I instinctively knew it wasn’t my running prowess he was admiring, it was my chest. For many weeks, in fact even to this day my friends still recall the event with a smile. For me it was where I learnt to pretend that it didn’t matter what people said and thought about me. I was determined to act as if I didn’t care.
This photo was taken when i was 11 years old. It is quite a sad reflection as I look at it now and think how young and small I was in reality at that time.