This is probably the hardest page for me to write. I didn’t want to do it. This site isn’t meant to be about me but about the challenges I am going to complete. Anyway it turns out some people want to know a bit more about me (I really don’t know why – I’m not that interesting) but as I’ve never really learned to say no when people ask me to do something here goes.
Who am I?
My name is Angela Hamilton (no aliases for me just my own name) and as you probably figured out from the website I am fast approaching the grand old age of 50. I was the first person in my family to go to university (and that wasn’t until I was nearly 30) and have a Law Degree. With a pre-university career that included door to door sales, estate agency and working in a tanning shop I have to say going to university was the best thing I ever did (apart from having my kids). Since then I’ve worked mainly worked in the public sector (currently at Newcastle City Council) but I still think my biggest work achievement was changing the law for disabled people travelling by air when I worked for the Disability Rights Commission. Being disabled myself (I have MS) I knew what a difference this could make to so many people. I’m still an active disability campaigner and am currently Chair of UNISON’s National Disabled Members Committee.
I live in South Shields, an amazing town in North East England, where the people are friendly and welcoming (or maybe just a little bit nosy) and when the sun shines it is possibly one of the most beautiful places on earth. I was born and bred here and have lived here most of my life so am proud to say I am a true Sandancer (more about this later).
I’m the youngest of four children and I really do mean I was the baby of the family. My nearest sibling is my sister, Susan, who is a full 14 years older than me while my brother, David, is 15 years older. Then there’s my oldest sister was Joan. She would have been 17 when I was born but sadly died in a car crash along with my Dad ten weeks before I was born. Now before anyone starts to feel sorry for me don’t.
I had the most wonderful, inspirational, amazing Mam in the world. For all the sadness she had been through, as a child, I never saw her cry. Instead she spoiled me rotten, brought me up to believe I could be whoever or whatever I wanted and that I could ‘fix the world’ (that’s still a bit of a burden but I love her faith in me). She worked hard to make sure I never wanted for anything and took on her employers when they tried to discriminate against women long before others dared to do it. She was a strong woman who believed in doing the right thing, in standing up for others and in protecting her family and making sure we never wanted for anything. Don’t get me wrong she wasn’t perfect. She was a tough task master, manipulated people to do what she wanted and often let me get away with murder (figuratively speaking) at the expense of my siblings but she was most definitely the best Mam you could wish for.
However that also means I have a lot to live up to and I have no doubt my children would say I have failed dramatically. After all not only was she the best Mam but she was an amazing Nanna (that’s a Grandmother if your not from the North East) and she could do no wrong in the eyes of my two boys. Which brings me on to them.
Daniel (or Danny) is my first born. He’s 28 now and father to my wonderful grandchildren. Although I’m sure he would never admit it Danny is too like me for his own good. This means he likes to get his own way, always thinks he’s right and has been known to overreact to things on occasion. But he’s also intelligent, ambitious and caring with a heart of gold (just don’t tell him I said so). Sometimes he drives me crazy and if we get into an argument we are often evil to each other with neither of us prepared to admit we are in the wrong but although I don’t often tell him I am proud of him, what he has achieved and what he has overcome in life. Oh and I forgot to mention he’s a DJ and apparently very good (though as he rarely plays Queen, Meat Loaf, Take That or Robbie I don’t understand how that can be true).
Joel (or Joe) is the baby. Nine year’s younger than his brother he was 19 in July. Joe unfortunately managed to inherit the most annoying traits of both me and his father. So not only does he always think he’s right even when he’s proved wrong he’ll keep arguing his point. He did really well at school, flying through his GCSE’s. This made him think he was some kind of genius so he took the foot off the pedal only to find A Levels weren’t quite as easy as he thought. Fortunately he learnt the lessons of a bit of a disastrous first year and has got the grades he needs and will be off to study Politics at Hull University in September. Joe will always be my baby and I’ll never stop worrying about him but as he wants to be a politician maybe I should be worrying about everyone else.
I’m also lucky enough to be Nanna to two wonderful children. My granddaughter will be eight in October and she is my princess (and I mean she actually believes she is a princess). She is very like her father and as such has many of my personality traits. She can twist people round her little finger but is very loving. likes to please people and loves her little brother. My grandson who is five is like my very own Tigger. He is the spitting double of his father but is so much more laid back. He is full of energy and enthusiasm and never sits still. Like all little boys he can be loud and exhausting but his smile and laughter is infectious and he always knows how to make me feel better when I’m sad. From here on they will be known as Miss-chief and Monster Munch
Why a Sandancer?
South Shields sits on the south side of the mouth of the Tyne and it’s people have been called Sandancers (or Sanddancers or Sand Dancers) for well over 100 years but no one is sure where it comes from. My guess is it’s because for generations the kids round here have danced on the sand on our wonderful beaches. Whenever I talk about South Shields I tell people about the beach at the end of our street, which I say belongs to me but say they can use it if they are nice. Of course this isn’t true but it’s amazing how many people in South Shields do feel the beach belongs to them.
I don’t just love my town, I’m very proud of it and it’s many achievements. Souter Lighthouse in South Shields was the first in the world to be powered by electricity and the world’s first self righting lifeboat was invented and built here. Marsden Rock and the surrounding cliffs are the biggest natural bird sanctuary in Europe (or so my Nanna always said and she was never wrong) and the Arbeia Roman Fort is testimony to the long term importance of the town. And as for culture and creativity for a small town we have some very famous sons and daughters. Dame Catherine Cookson, Sir Ridley Scott, Eric Idle, Joe McElderry, Sarah Millican and Sir Frank Williams are just a few of the household names who are lucky enough to be able to claim they are Sandancers. So next time you’re in the North East of England, maybe visiting Newcastle or Durham take the chance to head to the coast and enjoy the joys of a real seaside town.
I’m a shopaholic, addicted to shoes, a reformed workaholic, I love my friends and would give my life for my children.
I dislike unfairness, prejudice and feeling out of control (I am a bit of a control freak).
My hero’s include Nelson Mandela, Helen Keller, Stephen Hawkin, Archie Sibeko, Grace Darling, Niall Quinn (and not just because he played for Sunderland) and of course Joan Brown (my Mam) but I really don’t like it when people are famous just for being famous.
I collect inspirational quotes and often use them in speeches and presentations my favourites include:
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart – Helen Keller
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’ – Audrey Hepburn
A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination – Nelson Mandela
We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope – Martin Luther King
And my own personal motto is…….
Regret the things you didn’t do not the things you did