Noelle Blackman

The Steeple Times asks Respond charity CEO Dr Noelle Blackman: What’s on your mantelpiece?


The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?

Treating others as I would hope to be treated myself.


“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?

Live each day as if it could be your last. Don’t let fear stop you.


Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2016?

Treating people with learning disabilities as though they are less than human.


Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?

The years when my children were still little and we all shared simple things such as walking in the woods and days on the beach.


What might you swap all your wealth for?

A healthy, happy life is worth more than money can buy.


Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?

It gave us a glimpse of the evil of greed. So many appear to have forgotten that again now.


What phrase or word do you most loathe?

“I don’t have the time to…” – There is always time, you just have to find it.


In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?

Charity is not just about giving money, it is also about how you behave towards others. As well as working as the CEO of a small charity, I make sure that I have the time and energy to devote to others especially when they are in need. I would only give money to small charities as the big ones too easily lose sight of who they were set up to serve.


The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?

Use with caution.


Dr Noelle Blackman
Dr Noelle Blackman


If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?

Sigmund Freud, Elizabeth I, Emma Thompson, Virginia Woolf, Isabella Blow, Jeanette Winterson, Suzie Orbach, Leonard Cohen, Freda Karlo, Ben Wishall, Maxine Peake, Pawlo Wintoniuk, Lloyd Newsom, David Thompson and Peter Cassell. I would need a very big carriage.


If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?

A meal personally prepared for me by Nigel Slater. It would include a spanakopita served with a delicious colourful slaw and tiny roast potatoes and would be followed by a cheeseboard carefully selected by Nigel himself. I would have it served to me sitting on the terrace of Ca’Valenzano in Tuscany – my favourite place – looking out across the mountains.


What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?

It totally depends if it is a holiday or a work day. If it is a holiday or weekend, anytime from lunchtime onwards.


A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?

A Negroni.


Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?

The parties held by Anthony Gormley’s brother-in-law, Jim Parsons. There is always a good mix of people, their home is beautiful, warm and welcoming and there is always plenty of dancing.


Who is the most positive person you know?

My dear friend J. who has survived meningitis and all the fallout that has come with that.


What’s your most guilty pleasure?

A large gin and tonic whilst I make Sunday evening dinner as my family gather to share tales of the day.


If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?

A discreet semi-colon on my wrist inspired by a wonderful campaign begun by Amy Bluel. The campaign is dedicated to presenting hope and love for those struggling with depression, suicide, addiction and self-harm.


A semi-colon is used when an author could opt to end their sentence, but instead chooses to continue. It is a symbol that would act as a reminder of the power of one’s self.


If you were a car, what marque would you be?

A 1963 Aston Martin DB4 Vantage convertible in powder blue.


Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.

I was a punk in my youth.


What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?

Beautiful objects made by my children.


Dr Noelle Blackman is the CEO of Respond, a charity that works with people with learning disabilities or autism who have experienced abuse and trauma.



Follow her on Twitter at @noelleblackman1 and Respond at @RESPOND_UK.



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  1. The Good doctor took the words right out my mouth; ‘Who needs a loose woman, and bloody huge bank account and a expensive bottle of brandy endorsed by Boris good mate Darius Guppy when you are healthy and so happy. We ordinary people must learn not to take the small things in life for granted, walking the pavement and inhaling oxygen from the atmosphere is free.


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