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Debbie Bullock


As a teenager…

I was lucky to be born and brought up in Windermere in the Lake District. Albeit a very quiet, tiny rural village compared to now. In the winter months it was ‘closed’ with very few people other than us locals! But a lovely place to grow up, even if I didn’t always appreciate the ‘quiet’.

I enjoyed my school years, I loved to learn albeit I didn’t find it easy and had a number of friends who seemed to find it all so easy and sailed through exams. But I worked hard and did my best. My dad was seriously poorly through my O levels (as they were called back in the day!) but I still managed to pass them and my dad (and mum) were proud of me, and that mattered to me.

I loved gymnastics, hockey, rounders, and tennis, I played Tennis  (juniors) for the County of Westmorland, later to become Cumbria, so didn’t do too bad, but then in the summer of 1976 boys, friends and going out seemed far more interesting than circuit training and tennis practise!

Looking back,  I think I would have benefitted from spending more time with a wider circle of friends rather than ‘getting serious with my boyfriend’….. I feel my confidence may have developed and allowed me to grow as Debbie rather than follow the crowd for that era….. all my friends seemed to be getting engaged and married…. I felt that was what you did, so I got engaged at 18 years old and thought we would be together for ever.  I thought my world had ended when it didn’t last…we were too young, I know that now…..

After school…

I went to Kendal College, I studied Secretarial and Business Studies, I loved it! I also had a promise of work at Lakeland www.Lakeland.co.uk  (Lakeland Plastics for locals!) if I passed! I passed and started work with Sam Rayner, a fantastic Managing Director and Mentor for life, who taught me everything! I stayed for 40 years, from already being a Saturday girl, I worked in every area of the business, including administrative assistant to warehousing, customer service to retail to P.A. to Personnel Manager, to Employment Law Advisor.

I went to Uni to study my Degree, Grad Dip. Personnel Management at UCLAN in Preston whilst working full time, raising my family, and supporting my then husband in his business adventure.

Now I’m…

A proud self-employed HR Consultant! After 40 years at Lakeland I had the opportunity to set up a HR Team for a local establishment , I felt I had given everything Lakeland needed from me, so I took it.  Sometimes things don’t work out….. I was made redundant 3 months later, I was gutted, …. I picked myself up and took another HR job locally to support and set up their HR function ……. When Covid struck I was made redundant….…again I was gutted and felt totally kicked in the teeth ……… So as you do in pandemic, I decided that if I was going to continue to work my little socks off for someone, I have worked since I was 13 and wasn’t ready to retire, I was going to do it for myself! So I did…… and nearly 3 years later I am a proud Business owner supporting local new startups, charities and local community based SME’s with everything HR!

I am a Community First Responder for NWAS, Northwest Ambulance Service, I supported ‘Feed the Front Line’ during Covid and I volunteer for Eggcup www.eggcup.co.uk a local community-based food membership scheme to support those in need with staple food products.

I love to help to make a difference, I have a lovely family and 7 lovely grandchildren, who give me so much pleasure, as Nanna and Grandad, my wonderful partner and I devote as much time as we can help support them all.

I am delighted to be joining E2M as their HR Trustee and feel privileged to have been asked. I hope I can help make a difference.

5 bits of advice to my teenage self…

  • Travel - there is a huge world out there...go and see it!
  • Spend time with those who mean a lot to you - they won’t always be here and they just want to see you…
  • Don’t follow the crowd - if you aren’t comfortable with it, don’t do it.
  • Stick with your values - if it doesn’t feel right stay out of it, remember your own values
  • Continue to work hard, it will pay off and your values will be noticed.

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