If you’re a carer looking for someone to speak up for you Mersey Care Governor Hilary Tetlow’s credentials would be hard to beat. A friendly and compassionate woman, she’s also full of energy and a passionate campaigner for carers. Most of all she’s ‘been there’ as a carer for her mum Betty when she developed dementia.
Hilary gave up an impressive career in merchandising to care for ex magistrate Betty until her death last year. In the 70s the former Belvedere student had turned down a Foreign Office job in London to work for Littlewoods. From knickers and vests to Jacques Vert and Austin Reed, she progressed through the ranks and beyond, going on to set up the first Children’s World store from scratch.
Becoming a carer had a huge impact on her life but she embraced the experience. “I thought ‘this is my job now’ so I set out to learn as much as I could. I heard Mersey Care was hoping to become a foundation trust and I thought dementia could get lost. So I set up a carers group, signed them all up as members of the Trust - and canvassed them unashamedly so I could look out for them in the future.”
As lead Governor for the Trust, she attends ‘every event I can get to’, where she listens and watches how those responsible for our health and social care actually perform.
Her campaigning doesn’t end locally. She’s working with Downing Street, contributing to the Prime Minister’s Challenge on how Dementia care will be delivered in the future. And as an expert by experience for University of Liverpool’s Doctorate of Psychology Programme she’s influencing the way people study mental health.
I’ve always had lots of energy, I had a cerebral job and I’m technically minded. It’s like being at work, except that I’m using my skills and experience to improve the support for carers like me.”