Local Face: Jane Brooks BEM
Jane moved to Aylesbury at the age of 6, attending Bedgrove Infants and Junior Schools and then Aylesbury High School. As a teenager she spent a lot of time in Wendover with her friends, enjoying the youth club at the John Colet and the regular discos at the Memorial Hall.
Leaving school after A levels, she started work in the Cytology department, a branch of pathology, at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, where she became qualified as a biomedical scientist. The work mainly involved the screening of cervical smears but also the preparation and examination of diagnostic cytology samples.
In 2011, Jane was diagnosed with breast cancer and, following her diagnosis and treatment, decided to leave the hospital and re-train as a holistic therapist. She set up her own business working from home and ran the business successfully until she decided to retire in March 2022 in order to support her elderly parents and to spend more time with her husband, Steve, sailing their boat on the East coast.
Following her diagnosis in 2011, Jane started to fundraise for breast cancer charities, starting off in a small way but increasing the size of her events in more recent years. The pandemic obviously put most of the events on hold but she continued to raise funds by selling items such as books and puzzles online and by holding prize draws.
Jane now does her fundraising predominantly for the charity Breast Cancer Now https://breastcancernow.org/ as she believes passionately in their vision that by 2050 everyone diagnosed with breast cancer will live and be supported to live well. Her fundraising total to date stands at £33,000 and she was absolutely delighted and deeply honoured to be awarded the British Empire Medal in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
“I was so shocked when I received the letter telling me about the award that I just didn’t know what to say. I had to keep it a secret for 6 weeks and I kept waking up thinking that I must have dreamed it, so I would get the letter out and read it again to make sure that it was true.”
Jane plans to continue with her fundraising and is always looking for new and innovative ways to raise money. Having been a small business owner herself she often tries to find ways of getting local businesses involved with her fundraising and has been overwhelmed by the support she has received from local people whenever she has appealed for help.