Julie grew up in the Northumbrian village of Belsay with her elder sister. She went to Belsay First School, where her mother was a teacher, and then Ponteland High School. Julie’s father worked at Kirkley Hall College before renting a sheep farm near Cambo, where he still farms today. Julie still enjoys the farm – although she doesn’t miss the sheer exhaustion of the lambing season!
After Ponteland High School, Julie studied Biology at Oxford University and then Agricultural Economics at Wye College. Following her first job teaching at the Scottish Agricultural College in Aberdeen, Julie moved to Peru for two years, working to support fair-trade and agricultural workers’ rights as well as co-ordinating a relief effort following massive flooding. On returning to the UK, Julie worked in business then returned to charity work as head of research for an international health charity.
Julie is a trustee of the peace-building charity Ashray and previously was a trustee of education and sustainability charity Build Africa. Closer to home, she is a governor of her elder son’s middle school in Rothbury.
A Liberal Democrat member for many years, Julie is an active campaigner. She volunteered in the House of Lords, working on rural and transport issues. More recently, Julie stood for the 2013 Northumberland County Council Elections, reducing the Conservative majority in Amble West and Warkworth to just one vote. Julie is a passionate local campaigner championing the rights of people in Northumberland on issues from post-16 school transport to reduced farm bureaucracy. In 2013 Julie successfully garnered national support from the Lib Dems by creating a new party policy on housing benefit for tenants of social housing to address the injustices of the Bedroom Tax she encountered by listening to people on the doorsteps of Northumberland.
In 2003, Julie married Paul in Cambo and they have two boys. In her spare time, Julie enjoys playing sports with her boys, walking in Northumberland’s hills and coast and watching wrestling and rugby.