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My time with the DVS during the last decade has represented a second life for me after retiring as a pathologist at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. I qualified as a doctor in 1968, working as Dr Amanda Herbert, and specialised in pathology – first in London, later in Southampton where I was a consultant from 1982 to 1998, then back to London for a similar post. Pathology is a broad term, and my special interest was first in the diagnosis of diseases of the lung/pleura, and later cytological diagnosis through examination of individual cells – such as fine-needle aspiration cytology. My academic life and teaching increasingly involved cytopathology and the cervical cancer screening programme. After retiring in 2008, I was Editor of the Wiley-Blackwell journal Cytopathology until 2014 and co-chair of a European annual Tutorial until 2018.
In 1969 I married Fergus Hinds, who was first a Royal Navy hydrographer and later a marine salvor, recovering cargoes from sunken wrecks – often in the Far East. We had three children during the 1970s, who followed our love of travel and ended up living in New Zealand, Barcelona and Dublin. Fergus became increasingly infirm during his last few years and sadly died in 2022.
I learnt about the Shakespeare Authorship Question back in the 1990s when Fergus and I went to Stratford – and my perspicacious mother told us not to bother to see Shakespeare’s ‘birthplace’ or Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. So, we visited the house of Shakspere’s son-in-law Dr Hall, whose medical notes enabled me to win a debate about the effectiveness of screening. Surprisingly, Dr Hall’s wife Susanna couldn’t read, and he barely mentioned his father-in-law; nor his being a writer, poet or even an actor.
My acceptance of the evidence that Edward de Vere 17th Earl of Oxford was the ‘towering figure’ behind the works accredited to Mr William Shakespeare started with reading James Shapiro’s unconvincing case for the Stratford man in Contested Will, followed by Shakespeare by Another Name (Mark Anderson), Alias Shakespeare (Joseph Sobran) and, finally, “Shakespeare” Identified (J. Thomas Looney). I then read Alexander Waugh’s article in The Spectator diary in 2013, ‘Shakespeare was a nom de plume, get over it’, joined the SOF, then met Alexander at a Shakespeare Authorship Trust meeting. He told me the DVS was more fun! I joined, agreed to be Hon. Secretary in 2018, took over as Editor of the Newsletter in 2020 – and continue to find it fun!