Sue is the director of EGAR Educational Games and Resources. After a lifelong career in schools and youth services in Islington, north London, she had a fall in 2002, breaking her ankle, tearing ligaments and injuring her spine. This led to early retirement. In 2007, after a spate of youth murders in London that dominated news bulletins, and having worked with teenagers in the capital all her life, she designed a library of education resources to tackle social issues. She has just been nominated for the Most Inspirational category in the national Inspiration Awards for Women.
What happened to early retirement?
"My son was 17 years old when the murder storm began. I became a fearful mother. I don't live far from where Ben Kinsella was killed and I was so close to it that I thought, 'I can't let this carry on.' I started scribbling on a pad after watching the news, writing about young people and adolescence, drawing on my experience. Then I realised there was this discussion running through my scribbles."
"I read an article about a woman who was made redundant and turned her life around on a business course at London Metropolitan University called Forward at Fifty. I signed up and started to develop EGAR. On the course, all 50 of us women went to have lunch with Peter Jones, the business chap from Dragons' Den, and he inspired me and encouraged me to develop it. In 2008, I launched it with my son, Kane, who does all the IT bits."
Let's get down to the business ...
"I have designed 25 structured Let's Get Talking! card sets, used to get teenagers talking about their lives. The chair of the London Assembly has just been to visit me in my little office in Islington to look at the resources. He wants to roll them out to youth clubs - we are in the NSPCC library, schools, Barnardo's, The Children's Society and prisons. It's a vast market - we're now shipping bits off to Dubai. I want to see it on WH Smith's shelves so parents can get support straight away."
Who nominated you?
"I found out it was Joanna Hansford of Jo Hansford hairdressers in Mayfair. She heard about what I was doing from my husband; he's the head doorman at Scott's restaurant in Mayfair. She would see him and they would chat, and one day he passed on my business card. She must have looked me up and nominated me."
What's the competition?
"There are a lot of inspiring people there - other categories such as aspirational celebrity, inspirational style, and so on. Cherie Blair, Jennifer Saunders and Posh Spice are all up for awards. It's fantastic. I'm really excited and can't believe that sitting isolated and scribbling away has led to this."