Surprisingly Karens first love is the Georgian & Regency period so she was rather surprised to find herself involved in medieval re-enactment back in 2001! Karen was a member of the Medieval Siege Society for 14 years, the UKs largest War of the Roses re-enactment society, Karen used to fight as a man at arms on the battlefield at MSS events but later moved in to the living history area portraying a surgeon or posh lady.
Karen has worked for several charities in her previous jobs including the Mothers Union which promotes family values, for their Home & Family magazine. The highlight of her time there was meeting the then Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey at the 125th celebration of the MU. The MU is based in Westminster near the BBC studios so there were many politicians and interesting people floating round the area such as Terry Waite. A wonderful place to work it felt like a family. After this she worked for the UKs Academy for Science The Royal Society (not to be confused with the Royal Institution who give the Christmas lectures). The RS has been around since 1660. Over the years it has had many famous Fellows including Sir Isaac Newton, Humphrey Davy, Christopher Wren and more recently Stephen Hawking and Martin Rees the Astronomer Royal. She worked in their Science Policy section as Section Coordinator and PA to the Director and Senior Manager. The role was many and varied and she got to meet many interesting people including a Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Colin Pillinger (Mars landing), Patrick Moore and Prince Charles. It taught her a great deal about good work practices and hard work and working to the best of ones abilities. It has also left her with a lingering interest for the history of science & medicine.
Karen did Lindy Hop/Swing dancing for a couple of years which brought her into the 1940s re-enactment scene. A great hobby, good exercise and so much fun! The 1940s appeals to Karen as her grandparents were all there. One grandfather was in the RAF and the other was in the Home Guard, having also been in the First World War as a Captain which is where he met Karens grandmother. He also earned a Military Cross for bravery and later on a CBE & OBE. Both men left diaries of their experiences.
Karen has become very interested in her genealogy lately, and has found out one of her ancestors was pressganged into the Navy and was at the Battle of Trafalgar, another was a gunsmith, another line of the family were famous clockmakers, one lady was a maid in service and there are many blacksmiths and other craftsmen. It has proved very interesting! Especially as there are photographs of some going back to 1860.
Wel & Karen met whilst re-enacting and were married at Herstmonceux Castle on 26 August 2006, with a medieval wedding as part of the castles grand medieval weekend. It was even written into the script. With a gunners salute and an archway of swords it was a day to remember for all who attended.
Karen loves this job and thinks it the best and most fun job she has ever had!