Meet the HSDY partygoer: Helen Bell
We love to hear & share our HSDY partygoers stories and they are a very talented lot! Helen Bell, who first joined us at one of our boat parties on the Thames back in 2015 and is a regular at our Friday Night Boogies every other week on Zoom, is the author of a whole series of fantasy/romance books.
What's your HSDY story?
It’s all due to north London schoolmates from the 1970s. I made some very close friendships that have lasted, while others were friends at school, but we lost contact. Then social media emerged, and we started meeting up again. In 2015 one of us, now sadly passed away, suggested we go to a HSDY riverboat disco on the Thames. It was huge fun and has left us with wonderful memories of our lovely friend.
Fast forward to the pandemic and lockdowns. Another friend from that riverboat night, Anne Barrett, was looking for fun ways for everyone to stay in contact. HSDY had started online Friday Night Boogies, she mentioned it on our Facebook group, and we’ve been catching up there regularly ever since.
When you are not dancing at HSDY what else do you do?
Spend far too much time in front of a computer, is the short version.
I’m currently working on book 4 of a quartet. The series has been compared to everything from YA like Percy Jackson and Harry Potter to the more grown-up novels of Celia Rees and Mary Webb. To see if it’s your thing, check out www.helenbellauthor.com or Shadowlessadvert2021 - YouTube. If you’re a budding novelist yourself, pop onto the website and ask me a question!
Few writers make a living from writing alone, so I also work part time for a GP Federation. I do back office stuff to help bring in new roles and services for about 20 GP practices – providing pharmacists, mental health workers, paramedic home visitors and integrated care teams. I’m so proud of the way my colleagues have kept essential services running in these difficult times.
I also volunteer with the MS Society, supporting people affected by Multiple Sclerosis. After 15 years of volunteering, I was diagnosed with it myself in 2019. It’s a scary condition at its worst; fortunately I’ve learnt how much symptoms and their severity can vary, and touch wood, my MS is behaving itself at the moment.
I’ve lived in Guildford for over thirty years. I doubt we will move as my other half loves being halfway between London, especially its pubs, and the south coast because – well, more pubs! Meanwhile there are historical properties for me to visit and places to walk the dogs nearby. Painshill Landscape Garden ( www.painshill.co.uk ) is a particular favourite.
Ooh, I nearly forgot to give the pets a namecheck – Mally and Teddy are terrier crosses (both mad in their own unique ways) and we also have two cats, Cruella Squeakle and Jiji (saner than the dogs, but only just).
Favourite HSDY venue?
The Friday Night Boogie Zooms are great for a wind-down and for people-watching. There’s something very warming and therapeutic about seeing everyone - individuals, couples and families - dancing like no-one’s watching when Nikki does a round of spotlights. People put so much work into it - sorry for turning up in jeans, dancing badly and the lack of party lights!
Favourite HSDY track?
I love behind Behind the Groove by Teena Marie, but there’s no way I’m sitting still if you play Funkin’ for Jamaica by Tom Browne or Got to Give It Up by Marvin Gaye.
Remember we love to share your stories - especially in these tough times – so if you’d like to be featured email Nikki at email@example.com
See you on the virtual dance floor!