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Alison's Story

I have chosen Alison for this project as I am inspired by her ability to keep going when things got tough and believing in herself when those around her didn't. Her ability to hold her own in a predominantly male environment is inspiring for those in a similar situation.

Where do I start. I was born in Hamilton. I was one of four with three brothers. My Dad was a GP and my Mum a midwife. We moved to the North East of England when I was eleven so that Mum – who’s English - could be closer to her mother and family. They lived in Yorkshire. I was so desperate to fit in at school, I lost my Scottish accent and became a Geordie within weeks. I was bullied because of my accent so that was the only way to help my situation. I’ve always been good at mimicry and accents and also used to mimic animals. That was my party piece to impress friends and deflect from the real me.
I went to Uni and did a postgrad, all with the view to somehow getting into the media. The Holy Grail was the BBC and I was very focused on achieving that. I worked for a video company doing every job from camera work to sound, to editing and they decided I had a good voice and so I ended up voicing corporate videos, and then worked for a cable TV station as a news presenter. I hadn’t really thought about working in sport. I played a lot of sport and watched a lot of sport, but when the opportunity came up at the BBC I had to take it. Mum and Dad were so proud. They never said too much but I know they were.
I was the first woman to do live football reporting for radio. I travelled the country covering the lesser known games because they would never send a woman to a high profile game would they? Not in those days. The written press were awful to me. Not only was I a woman but I was in radio and that meant I could get the story out before them. They huddled together at football press conferences, deciding what the story would be and excluded me. Some editors at the BBC weren’t that supportive either. I was a problem that had to be handled. I would go home crying wondering why I was being treated that way but it just strengthened my resolve. It took years for me to develop a thicker skin. I dressed like a man so I wouldn’t be noticed. I wouldn’t stand out. I just wanted to be known as a good journalist, not a good female journalist.
The players and managers were never a problem and the former Celtic manager Billy McNeill was a real nugget in those days. I kept at it and ended up presenting sport on TV and Radio for 20 years and did the Sports News on Reporting Scotland for 8 years before I left to set up my own business in 2009.
I was divorced in 2005 which was traumatic in itself - so setting up on my own at that time with two teenage children and no financial help, was quite daunting. At this time, I also agreed to help the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice with a charity event called “A Little Less Strictly’. I teamed up with a pro dancer to do a salsa routine spending 6 weeks training and loved it. I loved the challenge and being out of my comfort zone. My life seemed to be full of challenges at that point.
Anyway, with the backing of my parents, I did go freelance and set up my own Company and it’s one of the best things I’ve done. I haven’t looked back. It enabled me to have the flexibility of being at home at different times for the boys and also to tackle the darkness of dementia that was about to descend on the family. That was in 2011. Dad was first to be diagnosed, then Mum in 2015. I made it my mission to raise awareness about the condition as much as possible. Putting them together in a Carehome was one of the hardest things the family has ever had to do. Keeping Mum going and slowing down the progression was something I really tried hard with and we were managing her and it, really well until lockdown. The isolation for her has killed her ability to relate to family and she has little connection with the real world now. My Dad was pretty far down the road before lockdown so it’s all been pretty grim to say the least. I miss them and they’re still here. I have a mixture of grief and anger about how the Government has robbed them and family of the closing months or years of their lives. I will not give up fighting their corner or those of others who have dementia in care homes around the country. Those who are isolated and dying without family around them. It’s just wrong.
My dog Milo has been a key part of the last 12 months or so as I am spending a lot of time at home. I am normally working away abroad a third of the year. So lots of walking and I grew tomatoes and chillies on my balcony and lots of flowers, like sweet peas. I do enjoy the outdoors and seeing things grow and thrive. I used to speak to my plants every morning!
My nominated charity would be Blameless -Blameless, based out of Hamilton Accies Football Club, provides fun times and ultimately happy memories for children who have been directly or indirectly affected by addiction or alcoholism. 
~Alison Walker ~
~ I am perseverance ~
For more information on this charity please click here
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