Q Tell us about your childhood.
A My father was a sheet metal worker and my mother worked in Ewart's Mill before she got married. In the mid-Sixties she got a job as a shop assistant and worked in Marks & Spencer for the rest of her days. I have one older brother, Michael.
We started off living on the Newtownards Road and then moved to Belvoir estate. My parents' split up when I was about seven and then there was a bit of shifting about. I went to live with one grandparent, then my other grandparents, and I lived with my father for a while.
Q What are you most proud of?
A My work in Turas and what we have achieved against all the odds. Turas is an Irish language centre based on the Newtownards Road. We started in 2011 with a small Irish taster session. Because of the local interest it then grew into a class and eventually a project of East Belfast Mission, which is a Methodist church. Now Turas is one of the biggest Irish language centres in Belfast.
As well as the numbers growing over the years, the ability level has grown too. Some of our learners are doing GCSEs and A-levels. We started a scholarship programme and have eight people in university - five are doing degrees in Irish and three are doing diplomas.
Q The one regret you wish you could amend?
A I made a mess of school. I was bright and I quite enjoyed primary school and I passed the Eleven-plus, but after that I really didn't have any education. I was expelled from three schools - I just didn't go, I didn't partake.
I eventually went back to education as an adult and I became an English teacher. I was aware of all the other subjects the kids were doing and I realised how lacking I was of any kind of any education outside the subject I had studied.
I remember going to an evening GCSE maths class for university, and the teacher said "It will come back to you" to the class - but it was never going to come back to me because I wasn't there. Now I am somebody who is hungry to learn and I wish I could have felt like that when I was young.
Q What about phobias. Do you have any?
A Unfortunately, yes, quite a few. There was a period in my life when I had suffered severely with mental illness and I had a lot of phobias - agoraphobia, social phobia, all sorts of anxieties and fears. So I understand what it is like to be crippled by phobias.
I think a lot more education and awareness is needed around mental health issues. I first became ill as a teenager and that travelled on into my 20s and early 30s. It was very difficult because people can be judgmental of you and the attitude is - you are making life difficult for yourself, why are you frightened of these things? And that's what you torture yourself with because you don't understand why.
I am an awful lot better now but there are things that hang on, I think everybody has their own little neuroses.
Q The temptation you cannot resist?
A Maud's ice-cream!
Q Your number one prized possession?
A I have two paintings by local artist John Stewart, and I love them both. John started off as a mural artist and now he is well known for his paintings of the cranes and things like that. One of mine is of St Patrick's Church on the Newtownards Road, which is my nanny's church and where my eldest daughter was christened. The other is the view from Skaninos, the building I work in.
Q The book that's most impacted your life?
A Without a doubt that has to be the Bible. It's a book that in times of need I turn to, and there's always an answer in there somewhere. I get advice from it and I get help from it.
Q If you had the power or authority, what would you do?
A I would invest in sending our young people over to Third World countries on placements. It's a good way of bringing them together, but what's more important is for them to see what a small problem we have here in Northern Ireland in comparison to other places where people are dealing with massive issues such as famine and the lack of health facilities and basic everyday needs. It would put things into perspective and give them a whole new appreciation of what we have.
Q What makes your blood boil every time without fail?
A Sectarianism. Recently it seems to be on the rise again. You see it on social media and it's most annoying when you see it from young people who didn't live through the Troubles and didn't experience any of that, and yet they are coming out with the same type of nonsense that I was hearing in the Seventies as a teenager.
Sadly, sectarianism is a cancer which has destroyed our country over the years and continues to, and it's something that if it's not stopped and not dealt with properly then we will end up back where we were.
Q Who has most influenced you in life?
A My nanny - my father's mother, Annie Bruton. Growing up I spent a lot of time with her. She was a very strong person, a real matriarch and the sort of woman who took everything in her stride.
My nanny didn't go to church but she had a very simple faith. When we were kids she used to get the wishbone out of the chicken, cover it in silver paper and whisper in your ear: "Ask for God's blessing".
She had wee wisdoms and she was always for the underdog.
Q Your top three dinner party guests, dead or alive, and why?
A I have a theme which is forgiveness, letting go and moving on.
Firstly, Nelson Mandela because I have always had a great admiration for him and what he achieved in South Africa in very difficult circumstances.
What struck me most about him was when he was released from prison his attitude was if he didn't let go of his anger then he would always be in prison, and it was only by forgiving that he would truly be free.
I think that's a very important lesson.
Another person who overcame great adversity is Katie Piper (the TV presenter and activist). The acid attack could have destroyed her, yet she turned that around, she battled through what must have been terrible pain, suffering and loss of identity. I have a lot of admiration for her.
And the main person who I would want there would be Christ because this is what He preached - forgiveness and letting go.
Q The best piece of advice you've ever received?
A This too will pass. Maturity tells you that but when you are young you have no understanding of it - bad things happen to you and you think it's forever, you don't see a way out.
Q The unlikely interest or hobby that you love?
A The Irish language - it started off as a hobby and it has become my job and a major part of my life.
I was not a likely person to start Irish and I'm glad to say that has changed now and there's a lot of opportunities for people in the PUL (protestant unionist loyalist) community to learn and engage with Irish, but I know when I started learning it this was seen as a bit of a shock.
I first went to a six-week taster at the East Belfast Mission and I really enjoyed learning Irish. Because my husband Brian was the leader of the Progressive Unionist Party at the time, it ended up in a couple of newspapers, and a number of people contacted the Mission to enquire about joining the class. The Mission approached me about starting one and things went from there.
Q The poem that touches your heart?
A Peace by Henry Vaughan. I wasn't a believer at the time when I first heard it. I grew up without a faith as my family were very left wing and we were taught that there isn't a God, but this poem just spoke to me. I was suffering with mental health issues and the poem is about the inner peace that's achieved through faith.
Q The happiest moment of your life?
A The birth of my children and grandchildren, and getting married to my second husband Brian.
Q And the saddest?
A The death of my nanny. I remember getting the phone call from my granda. My nanny and granda have five sons and in many ways I was the daughter they never had. I was the last one that my granda phoned and he said: "I'm sorry, I have to tell you that your mother has died." Even though I understood exactly what he had said, and I took it in, I just remember saying: "It will be alright, we will go up to the hospital, it will be okay." I heard later that that is the first step in grief - denial.
Q The one event that made a difference in your life?
A Getting into education. At one point in my life I decided to go to an evening class - I was in my early 30s and it was a computer class. I had worked as a waitress, a cleaner, in a chippy ... but I had an idea that maybe I could get a job in an office. I didn't even know anybody who worked in an office or what you did in an office, but I had this idea and that's where it started. I went on to do GCSEs, A-Levels and I ended up going to Queen's.
Q What's the ambition that keeps driving you forward?
A To be fluent in the Irish language. I'm not a natural language learner but I work away at it. I often think it's not a bad thing that I don't have a natural ability because I'm able to encourage other people as I know what it's like to struggle.
Q What's the philosophy that you live by?
A For me having purpose in life is very important. Having something to get up for in the morning. I like to be busy and I like to be doing.
Q How do you want to be remembered?
A I want to be part of the solution here in Northern Ireland. I don't want to be remembered as somebody who added to the problems and unfortunately there are people in influence in Northern Ireland who cause more damage than good.
The presenter Lesley Riddoch interviewed me a number of years ago and she called me a "brave boundary crosser". It would be nice to have that on your headstone!