A Dynamic Strong, Local, Campaigning
Voice for North Wales
Bernadette is married and has 4 sons, the youngest of whom is autistic. She lives on the N Wales coast.
Bernadette was a teenager growing up in Thatcher's Britain. Coming from a working class family where her dad was a milkman and later a Railway Guard, and her mum a carer in an elderly peoples home, Bernadette felt the searing injustice of sharing textbooks in her comprehensive school and watching school buildings rot away due to lack of maintenance and lack of finance during the Thatcher years.
She studied A levels including Politics and spent a week with the miners wives in the soup kitchen feeding local mining families in Yorshire during the bitter strike of 1984-85.
Bernadette married young in the days where 100% mortages for first time buyers were common place and bought a modest terraced house back in 1986. In 1989 she had her first son after a very complicated pregnancy and had to leave work to recover and care for her child. She chaired the very successful 'Women v Poll Tax' group in the city which helped to bring down the hated Poll Tax imposed by Thatcher.By 1991 interest rates had shot up from 7-15% and despite clinging on, she and her husband had their house reposessed.
On the day the bailiffs came to take the keys Bernadette was pregnant with her 2nd son.There followed 3 years in a one room B+B for herself, husband and 2 children before a council house was allotted to her. During this period of homelessness she acquired a burning hatred of social injustice of any kind as she embarked on a personal journey of resilience and very hard times that stay with her to this day.
Shortly after moving into the council house, her marriage broke down and she became a single parent. Fired up by her experiences she became Chair of the local residents association and campaigned for home improvements- central heating and double glazing to be made to her small estate which was successful.
Bernadette embarked on various training courses, one of which was held in Liverpool and moved there in 1995 and got a job in a new call centre. Juggling a job in the days prior to tax credits and free childcare was no easy task. She met her husband, Barrie, at the call centre and completed her family with 2 more sons, making a grand total of 5 males in the household!
After a shooting in her street in Liverpool, and with an autistic son to care for, Barrie and Bernadette took on extra work, delivering yellow pages, working for a florist and delivering flowers - anything extra to save for a house deposit. They moved to a house on the coast in N Wales to bring up the children in a safe environment.Barrie became self employed whilst Bernadette was a full time carer.
After getting her youngest son to his teenage years, Bernadette felt it was time to start campaigning and writing again. She started her blog Mum v Austerity and joined the newly formed Unite the Union Community members where she embarked on training courses to empower her. She listened to the new batch of Trade Union Mps in the House of Commons and began learning from the likes of Ian Lavery, Grahame Morris, Katy Clarke and Ian Mearns. Their passion for social justice matched her own deep desire to change the narrative in Parliament.
The Morning Star asked Bernadette to write articles on her experiences of austerity and family life which has now led to a regular features column. Bernadette has also had recipes for feeding large families on a budget serialised by the Sunday People. Bernadette is the Trade Union Liaison Officer on the executive of her CLP and also a member of Unite Wales Political Committee. She is also Chair of Unite N E Wales Community branch. A car accident means she has a mobility problem, but doesnt let it get in her way, but gives her motivation to campaign on carers and disabled issues.
Feeling Parliament and the Senedd was not reflective of ordinary people in the electorate, Bernadette has decided to seek public office herself, and has successfully been accepted onto the panel for AM vacancies in Wales in 2016.
Bernadette is seeking election as the Labour N Wales regional list candidate as she is a powerrful advocate and strong ambassador for N Wales people.