I was born at home in Lewisham, south London into a normal working class family. I was the youngest of five siblings.
One of my school reports says "Valerie is anxious to please and willing to take on responsibility." I haven't changed.
It appears I am related to the writer Thomas Hardy (my great grandmother on my mother's side, Caroline Hand, was his cousin). So that may explain why I have a passion for writing and exposing the injusticies of social issues. My particular passion is music of course and back in 1966 when I left school I was lucky enough to work for the Mod band Small Faces and their manager Don Arden.
When the Small Faces left his management I went on to work with the entertainment and booking agency Galaxy Entertainments who handled many top artists back then such as The Birds, The Move, Amen Corner, Jimi Hendrix.
But it was in the early 1970's when I moved to a south London housing estate called Thamesmead when I became involved in voluntary community work that my writing skills took off. I started writing for the community newspaper and then got involved with Radio Thamesmead, Britain's first community radio station. It was given an experimental broadcasting licence back then and only broadcast via cable radio. When Community radio was seen as a success the Home Office gave permission for it to broadcast more widely, these days you can tune into a lot of Community radio services online.
Following divorce to my first husband and having two young children to support, I went back to full time education, graduating in 1984 with an Honours Degree in Humanities. Then I went onto study journalism. After a period of doing a number of reporting jobs and a brief time as Editor to a local free newspaper, in 1991 I became a freelance writer. My work has been widely published in newspapers, magazines and online. I've had two books published. The Quiet Guide in 2007 and I contributed a chapter to the book Why Noise Matters published in 2011. In 1997 I received an MBE from HM The Queen.
Now living in Norfolk and married to photographer Phil Weedon. We have one cat called Tilly. www.philweedon.com