I started attending MASS meetings when I was a trainee over 25 years ago. To be honest I knew very little about MASS but was taken to the meetings by my then boss and mentor. It was only once I attended some of the meetings I realised what an important organisation MASS is. There is no other organisation out there that puts the victim of road traffic accidents at the very centre of its being. No other organisation that has so many Solicitors fighting for the accident victim and all giving up their own time in order to do so.
Why the Law?
I fell into Law. I went to an all girls convent school until the age of 16 at which point I decided to spread my wings and go to college. I had a great two years at college but didn’t get the grades needed to go to University which had always been my dream. I couldn’t face taking physics again so had to look for another subject and decided on A level Law. I loved it and after that was hooked. From that point I followed the conventional path to become a Solicitor including an extra year at University in Copenhagen as part of an ERASMUS programme. I look back on this year as the best year of University and made some amazing friends from all over the world, some of whom I am still in contact with. Personal Injury was the first seat I did during my training contract and I loved it from the start. The fact that I could help people after an accident really appealed to me. I felt I could make a difference to their lives.
Thoughts on the Civil Liability Act
Where do I begin without ranting? People who have been involved in road traffic accidents are not criminals. Yet they have been painted as money grabbing opportunists. I cannot see how it is fair or just to treat people injured in road traffic accidents differently from those involved in an accident at work. Nor do I think it right that a person can end up receiving more compensation for a delayed aeroplane flight as opposed to an injury. I resent the implication that it is straight forward to make a claim for damages. The difference in knowledge, means and resources between an insurance company and a litigant in person is aimed at making savings for the insurance industry and not for the benefit of the injured party.
What three items would you take to a desert island?
I assume I cannot take my family! In that case, my pillow, a basketball called Wilson (anybody who has watched Castaway will know what I mean) and my trainers.
Claim to fame
I am in one of the Tears for Fears music videos…… I am not going to say which one as every time I see it I cringe as I was about 14 at the time!
Best and worst piece of advice
Best: never eat yellow snow….
Worst: Don’t worry … totally useless piece of advice when you are worrying!
First question after waking up from being cryogenically frozen for 100 years
Who has turned the heating off?
Best place ever visited/holiday
I love our family holidays and we have been lucky enough to visit some amazing places. During lock down we have spent some time looking at old footage of our holidays and all of them are special but we particularly loved Mexico for the amazing things you could do there. This was memorable because of the incredible activities we were able to do whilst there. We zip wired through the jungle and swam through underground caves as well as visiting Chichén Itzá .
Thailand was another special place as we went to stay at an elephant sanctuary glamping in the jungle. Feeding and bathing the elephants and seeing them in their natural habitat was incredible.
However, to me the most important thing about holidays is being with my family. Sounds cheesy but wherever we are we have fun and it’s being with them that makes it special.
OMG … dark brown Datsun Sunny with a sun roof you opened like a can of sardines. My dear Mum bought it for me when I first came to Norfolk. The only problem was it was never fast enough to overtake a tractor on a country road!
So many songs I love it is really hard to say. One of my favourites is “Everybody’s free to wear sunscreen” by Baz Luhrmann. The reason, it has some really good advice in it which grounds me when I listen to it. Things like “don’t worry about the future or worry but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum”.
I read so many books. Those which have stuck with me are ones from my childhood. I loved Enid Blyton books The Enchanted Woods. I loved them again when I read them to my children when they were younger. Lord of the Rings was another big favourite.
Best TV boxset or movie
When I was in my 30s one of my besties and I used to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer religiously. Another favourite was ER. I get lost in medical drama.
Red wine in winter, white in the summer. Although I have found these lovely cans of cocktails from M&S which are called Passion Star Martinis … yummy!
Anybody who knows me knows I am a passionate cook and love my food! Not sure I have a favourite food but anything spicy is always appreciated! If I had to choose, I would say curry.
That’s easy. Spend it with my family and friends. I love to see them all. That’s why lock down is proving so difficult. I cannot wait to be able to see them all again and give them a big hug.
What annoys you
Bullies. I have been bullied in the past and it is the worst feeling whether it happens when you are 10 or 40. I have no time for bullies. I have come to realise it is their issue, not mine. I also believe that what goes round comes round.
What advice would you give your younger self
Appreciate what you have now. Make the most of it. Do not compare yourself to others. You are amazing as you are. And you are not fat!
This article first appeared in MASS Insight Magazine, Winter 2020/21
Shelyna is a Partner at Hansells Solicitors Head of Personal Injury Department and Lead – Residential Conveyancing