Kerry Cobb, Freelance Broadcast Journalist

A highly trained and skilled radio presenter and producer

I nearly died in the sea in Australia and I battled skin cancer for five years: two experiences that taught me you don’t always realise how precious and colourful life truly is until you’re faced with your own mortality!

My children are doing their GCSEs and I remind them constantly: “You don’t have to be pigeonholed and you don’t have to get stuck. You’ve only got a certain amount of time, so you have to make the best of it!”

I’ve always had that fight between head and heart. Dad was a copper in the Met for 30 years, whereas mum was more free-flowing. When I finished backpacking around Australia and Asia, I took a job in reservations at an airline and stayed there for the next 10 years – working my way up to duty manager at Heathrow Airport. It was the kind of stable job that pleased my dad, but when my marriage broke up in 1998, it was time to be me!

I went back to college and university and got a first-class honours degree in Performing Arts, but it was that ‘head and heart’ thing again… It’s hard to make a living acting. Fortunately, I fell in love with radio, which is theatre of the mind. I became a bit of a geek and contacted my local station to ask: “Can I be your oldest tea girl ever?” I wanted to go along and learn.

That was 20 years ago and, today, I’m a self-employed radio presenter and producer in motorsport. It’s often frustrating being in a man’s world. You constantly have to prove you know your stuff and I’ve been advised to get Botox to ‘get ahead’. (Why do women still have to look the part?!)

Most of my money comes in from March to October. The rest of the time is spent doing temp jobs for the next paycheque. As a single mum with a mortgage, it’s a risk to choose to be self-employed, but the freedom drives me on. I’m not cut out for the 9 to 5 and I love having time to give back to my community by being on the board of my local radio station.

Kerry Cobb