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All the best: Roisin Foster on her favourite things


By Kerry McKittrick

The 60-year-old is the chief executive of charity Cancer Focus Northern Ireland. She is married to Ian and they have four children: Adam (29), David (27), Katie (22) and Laura (19).

My best moment

There are four of them; becoming a mum to each of my children.

My best song

Talk To Me of Mendocino by Kate and Anna McGarrigle. It's an old folk song. My sister worked out the harmony and taught it to me when I was 16 - if I got anything wrong she wouldn't be pleased. We still sing it these days.

My best way to relax

Definitely in the garden. I spend as many hours there as I can. It relaxes me and soothes my spirit.

My best job

This one. I've been here for seven years and this will also be my last job. I've always worked in the voluntary sector, including for Mencap and Leonard Cheshire in the disability sector. I love being part of a Northern Ireland organisation, because you get very close to the people and familiar with the systems we have here. Sometimes, working for a national organisation; it can be too big, but here you can develop your own approaches.

My best bit of advice

My late father taught us to feel that we were as good as anybody, but better than nobody. I hope it has worked; I do try not to judge or get above myself. Our patients are no different from me - I could have cancer tomorrow. Whenever I interview someone for a job, I assess them on how they respond to the questions, but I always ask the receptionist how they were when they came in. I don't think people who talk down to people have any place in our organisation.

My best movie

The Godfather directed by Francis Ford Coppola. I don't like the violence in it, but I love the acting, the music and even the scenery. I'm not much of a movie buff, I rarely go to the cinema and tend to watch quite lightweight films.

My best achievement

The development of our Keeping Well service. It's a mobile health promotion scheme which involves three vans going into some of the most marginalised areas, bringing basic health, support and cancer prevention support for people. The team recently picked up on a case of undiagnosed gestational diabetes while out on their rounds. While it's not related to cancer, it was still an important find.

My best gift

About six or seven years ago, my husband handed me an envelope at Christmas which contained the receipt for a greenhouse. It makes all the difference - I can grow seeds, tomatoes, cucumbers and basil that I couldn't grow outside. It also allows me to garden in the rain.

My best buy

A petrol shredder which means I can chop up the prunings from trees and other garden waste which can 't be composted and use it for pathways.

My best book

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen - what's not to like? The story reflects that even at a time in society when women had no voice or place, they still found ways to be strong. I love Jane Austen anyway, but I know this story so well I can just pick up the book and read a chapter and know exactly where I am.

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