Barbara James, a Birkenhead High School alumna has shared her story to inspire those who suffer from debilitating conditions.
Barbara’s childhood was restricted by an extremely severe form of eczema, ‘when I was a baby in a pram, even if a raindrop landed on my arm an itchy lump would come’ she explains. She was aware from a young age that she was different, ‘the one thing all children hate.’
Barbara’s life began to change after she was introduced to the Snowdonia hills by her inspirational PE teacher Mrs Elsby in 1957; her first taste of mountaineering. She never looked back.
In 1964, Barbara became a full time mountaineering instructor and mountain rescue first aider at a time when it was almost unheard of to have women leading on difficult rock routes.
In 1976, she became the first and possibly only women civilian to be employed by MOD to train soldiers.
On her 50th birthday Barbara earned herself a private pilot’s license, and a year later flew solo for 40 hours around Florida.
Barbara’s story is one of hope and encouragement to all those facing challenges, that with determination and an undaunting spirit you can achieve incredible things.