Speaker biographies

Anna Byrom (Chair)

Anna Byrom

Midwife. Mother. Enthusiast. Educator. Researcher. Passionate Midwifery member. Editor The Practising Midwife Journal


Gareth Leng


Gareth Leng is Professor of Experimental Physiology at the University of Edinburgh, and until this year was Head of the School of Biomedical Sciences, one of the four academic schools that comprise the College of Medical and Veterinary Sciences at Edinburgh. He is President of the International Neuroendocrine Federation, a former editor-in chief of The Journal of Neuroendocrinology, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He has published more than 300 research papers and reviews, in many areas of neuroendocrinology. His research on oxytocin spans more than 30 years, beginning with his recruitment as a project leader to Barry Cross’ group at the Babraham Institute in 1977. His work has included studies of the electrical activity of oxytocin neurons, oxytocin secretion and gene expression, and their regulation in a variety of physiological and experimental conditions.

Gareth is a regular participant at science festivals and gives frequent public lectures. Here he is giving a public lecture on “The Loving Brain” in 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xadXFPBLkaM.


Kate Evans


Kate Evans, Cartoonist, artist, activist, author, mother.

The wonderful Kate Evans has written some of the best ever books on breastfeeding and birth. She has a great knack of portraying science and research evidence in a vivid, warm and humorous way. She is too modest to have written this herself so I (Nicky) have taken the liberty!



Sophie Fletcher

Sophie Fletcher

After 10 years working in Economic and Cultural Policy (mywilderness years) I stumbled into hypnotherapy and happily realised my Masters in Language and Culture did not in fact go to waste. My specialism of/obsession with language and the psychology of metaphor and storytelling was a perfect fit for understanding our process of thought, beliefs and experience. I didn’t look back and have been working with birth and hypnotherapy ever since. In 2008 I co-founded Mindful Mamma with Mia Scotland and in 2014 my first book, Mindful Hypnobirthing, was published by Vermillion.



Mindful Hynobirthing


Bev Jervis

Bev Jervis Crop

At the moment I feel I have many midwifery hats……. Most of my time is spent doing my PhD, I am now in my third year of a full time course at the University of Salford. I am looking at knowledge acquisition around movement in labour from women’s, midwives and obstetricians perspectives and from this I am hoping to change the midwifery world!!! (Wish me luck, I am thinking it is going to be a long road!) I am also teaching midwifery at Salford, a whole other learning journey about teaching and learning. I absolutely love it! I am a member of the steering group for the ARM which funnels my activist passion for midwifery and also surrounds me in a warm comforting fuzz of realisation that I am not alone in the way I feel about midwifery. Sadly I haven’t done any clinical midwifery since 2014 due to time pressures but I had the opportunity to be a doula this summer which was truly amazing.

My clinical midwifery career started in 2006, after training in Salford, based at Bolton I returned home and worked in mid Cheshire. I practised across all clinical areas but my background and passion is with case loading and homebirth within the NHS.

I have two teenage children who can be held responsible for my dark circles and worry lines and a lovely partner, all who make me feel lucky every day for just being there. I have also been known to spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen cooking, and fell in love with a beautiful aga at this year’s retreat, but to be honesty, I love cooking and would cook for my ARM comrades on any heat source.


Virginia Howes


Hello I am Virginia Howes and I live in Ashford Kent with my partner Sean and my daughter Courtney who is 24. I have three other children Matthew who is 38, Andrew who is 35 and Sophie 28. Read more about my family – Midwife ‘supergran’ has delivered all six of her her own grandchildren.
When I’m not working I love going to our family home in Turkey and one day would like to retire there and help the local woman to give birth.I love my job and feel passionate about the rights of women to have a good childbirth experience. I am a specialist in normal birth and very experienced in physiological birth, home birth and water birth, including caring for women who have risk factors such as gestation diabetes, group B strep, high blood pressure, high BMI and those who have had a previous Caesarean Section and are now seeking a vaginal birth, (VBAC) of which I have a vast amount of experience.
Mark Harris
Mark Harris
I am registered as a midwife and nurse. I love being around people, always have as long as I can remember; having five sisters and three brothers afforded me plenty of practice and now with five children of my own and 4 grand children (another on the way), I have lots of opportunity to indulge my people passion.
The choices I have made in my professional life have been shaped by this gregarious inclination. I have trained and worked as a Nurse, Midwife, Teacher in Further Education, hypnotherapist, NLP trainer, out reach youth worker. I still work as a Midwife offering a birth education through a programme called, Birthing For Blokes (@Birthing4Blokes), work and play often merge for me.
Men, love and birth
Liz Nightingale
Liz September 2015
Liz has been working in independent midwifery practice as Purple Walnut Midwife since 2007. Based in Oxfordshire, she has also worked as an NHS case-loading midwife, and a Community Midwife. She loves working closely with women and their families and providing continuity of care and mainly attends home births. She is also a members of Oxfordshire Midwifery Practice and runs IMUK Making the Move Workshops for registered and student midwives considering whether independent practice is right for them. She enjoys knitting hats for the babies she cares for and fancies herself as a bit of a Granny Weatherwax (with apologies to Sir Terry Pratchett).
Roma Norris
Roma Norriss
I was born two months premature and spent my first five weeks in an incubator, by which I thought I was unaffected until in my 20s, I woke up one day with the sudden awareness of the importance of birth and an urgency to train as a Midwife. I believe this calling was a powerful awakening towards healing the trauma of my own birth, which had lain dormant until then. In 2006 I began Midwifery at Kings College London. I also began a friendship with Binnie Dansby, who speaks about the impact of birth on the quality of life and has pioneered a movement towards “ecstatic” birth.

Being totally immersed in birth; studying, talking, dreaming about birth every day eventually triggered the trauma I carried and I developed a sudden and severe kidney infection, for which I was hospitalised and took a year to recover from. I had to defer my course and as I was about to return… I fell pregnant. There was a huge amount of healing work to be done in order to avoid playing out the imprint of my own birth and I managed to clear enough that my son, Zephyr was born at home, surrounded by loved ones, (although echoes of my own early experience were obvious). I learned a massive amount through my transition to motherhood and wanted to support other mothers, so I trained as a Birth and Postnatal Doula with Nurturing Birth. I also went deeper into Binnie’s work and completed two years of her foundation training. Since then I have been supporting women and couples to prepare for birth by clearing the fears and negative beliefs they took on at their own births, using breathwork and other tools.



Binnie Dansby

Binnie’s accomplishments in life cross the spectrum from singer-actress, New York fashion designer, mother of two sons, and grandmother of seven. Binnie began rebirthing Breathwork with Leonard Orr in 1975, trained as a clinical hypnotherapist with Dr. Joseph Spear, and is a devoted student of the teachings of Master O. Mikael Aivanhov and of A Course in Miracles
Binnie is dedicated to transforming the quality of life through the acknowledgement of the effects of birth on human consciousness and culture.Over the years Binnie has trained SOURCE Breathwork Therapists in three year long trainings in Germany, England, Estonia and Denmark since 1988.
Joy Horner
Joy Horner
Art plays an important part in my life.  Through my work as a childbirth education mentor, and as a midwife and doula I have used art to help my clients prepare for birth.  I use art in my Birthing from Within birth preparation classes. In addition to information and coping techniques, clients can use art to explore their feelings or fears, and develop coping strategies. Available as a weekend course or as one to one teaching in your own home.
Andy Simm
Photo and bio coming soon … in the meantime:
Andy Simm Gentle Parenting
Mavis Kirkham
Photo and bio coming soon!
Margaret Jowitt
Photo and bio coming soon!
Johanna Mitchell
Photo and bio coming soon
Elspeth Alexandra
Photo and bio coming soon

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