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Profile Jacqui Dodds Living within the close confines of the village it is sometimes hard to remember that the parish extends far beyond the built up area we know as Melbourn.   Places on the far flung boundaries of the parish tend to be forgotten, although the distributors of the Melbourn Magazine know these outposts only too well! Hillside Poultry Farm on the A505 is one of these places on the borders of Hertfordshire but is very definitely in Melbourn and is the home of Jacqui and Peter Dodds.   Peter has lived and reared chickens here for some 39 years, Jacque has lived there for 26 years – it is a second marriage for both of them, with four children between them. Jacqui is now retired but all her life she has worked with figures.   Denied the chance to go to university as a young girl after passing her A levels, initially she went to work in the Civil Service in London, but soon moved to working as a book keeper in an accountancy practice in Cheshunt. She thrived here and it wasn’t long before she was headhunted to move to another practice starting up in Ware.   Here she was encouraged to study and qualify as a chartered accountant, which she did in 1976. She remained there for 14 years and became a partner – the first woman partner in this London based firm. We are talking about a time when it was quite unusual for a woman to succeed in

the predominantly male field of accountancy. It was during this time that she met and married Peter (who was one of her clients) and had a son Robert, now in turn about to pass his accountancy exams with Price, Waterhouse.  He is living in Wimbledon. She started her own practice in 1983 in a Portakabin on the farm - eventually she was  employing a staff of 4 She had always   dealt with some farming clients which is quite a specialised branch of the business with all the tax and subsidy complications.   On one very wet day she was sitting talking to a farmer about his tax problems but the farmer was gazing over her shoulder in a distracted fashion. ‘This weather isn’t doing my corn any good’ he said mournfully to which Jacqui replied ‘I should go and see a chiropodist!’   He, of course, was talking about his harvest!  At this time she was very much involved in the Institute of Chartered Accountants who invited her to be the representative for small firms of General Practitioners.  She served on the committee for some time before becoming President of the Beds, Bucks and Herts Society – the first lady president – at that time there was only one other lady ICA President in the whole of the country.   This position involved a good deal of wining and dining and meeting other leaders in her field of expertise; Peter was at the same time deeply involved in the National Farmers Union so they led quite a busy life. After 17 years, Watts, Knowles (now WKH) approached her with a merger deal and Jacqui saw this as a step towards winding down towards retirement.   She remained with WKH for 7 years, eventually retiring in December 2006   About 11 years ago she started playing bowls with Peter and became very active in the Melbourn Bowls Club – firstly as Treasurer, then Chairman and now she is Secretary and in charge of fixtures.   A naturally warm, friendly and outgoing person she has enjoyed this involvement in the village and has also joined the U3A.   An avid reader all her life, she started the Alternative U3A Book Club and also belongs to the monthly walking group. She enjoys cooking and entertaining and for many years has been a keen flower arranger. (I immediately tried to enrol her on the All Saints Flower Rota – you do not have to be a churchgoer!)  She had been at a class the morning I intercontinued on page 18



57 Spring 2009  

2009 Melbourn Magazine 57