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All the best: Jacquie Richardson's favourite things

By Kerry McKittrick

The 54-year-old is the chief executive of Positive Life, Northern Ireland's dedicated AIDS and HIV charity. She lives in Belfast with her husband Peter, a taxi driver, and they have one daughter, Lea (33).

My best moment

The birth of our daughter. We were quite young when we had her but there are benefits to that. We now have three grandchildren that we are young enough to enjoy.

My best song

It’s Don’t Want To Miss A Thing by Aerosmith. At heart I’m a soppy romantic and that song reminds me of the time when my husband and I first got together. Although it was released years after we got together the lyrics and sentiment of the song are reminiscent of the early days of our relationship.

My best way to relax

My husband and I love walking on the beach and we’ve now developed our own art project around it. Each time we visit a beach, we’ll collect rocks and stones and build something with them there and take a photograph of it. The funny thing is that sometimes people come up behind us and start taking pictures of what we’ve created.

My best job

My current job is my best and I’ve been here for two years now. I’ve worked in various posts in the voluntary sector for 30 years which has been great training for this position. HIV is a huge issue in Northern Ireland — between 2004 and 2014 we had a 19% increase in cases compared to a 3% drop in the UK. Although many people still believe HIV and AIDS is something that only gay men get, it can affect people from every walk of life and of each gender.

My best piece of advice

So many people have given me such good guidance over the years, but one of the things dearest to me and which I try to live by is — what goes around comes around. My granny told me that and she was basically saying be kind to people as it will come back to you.

My best gift

There have been many over the years but my favourite one I accepted on behalf of Positive Life. It’s a tree planted in the grounds of Stormont in commemoration of those who live with HIV or have lost their lives to AIDS.

My best buy

I bought a pair of dance shoes about six weeks ago. We’re doing a Strictly fundraising event and I decided I should dance because it would encourage others to volunteer. My husband and I are doing the jive and the Argentine tango — if I can actually find the right dress. The shoes are the most comfortable ones I’ve ever worn though.

My best achievement

Getting my MSc in voluntary sector management about 10 years ago. I couldn’t wait to leave school, so achieving that was the end of a six or seven year journey in education that I came to quite late. It started with me beginning studying for a diploma at the dining table opposite Lea when she was studying for her GCSEs.

My best film

It is The Shawshank Redemption without a doubt. The character, Andy Dufresne is my hero because he defies the odds and hangs in there. I also love a happy ending.

My best book

I read for pure escapism and a favourite book is one I read back in my school days. It’s called Across The Barricades by Joan Lingard. I love the book’s theme of overcoming adversity.

Positive Life will hold their inaugural Strictly fundraising gala in the Ramada Hotel, Shaw’s Bridge on March 18. To purchase tickets and support the charity or for more information visit

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