Interview - Lisa Potts-Webb

Lisa Potts-Webb recently retrained as a health visitor. The former nursery teacher survived a machete attack on her class in 1996.

It was 19 years ago that you saved the children in your care from a machete attack. Reflecting back, how do you feel about that day?

I was just 21 at the time, but my actions to shield the children were instinctive. I found it a lot harder to deal with the aftermath of the attack. I had several injuries and was diagnosed with depression and post tramautic stress disorder.
However I was very fortunate to receive 19 awards, along with being presented the George Cross by the Queen in 1997.

Following the machete attack, you took some time out to concentrate on other things, what did you achieve in those five years?

I went on two charity trips, one to build a house in Romania, and the other to Vietnam with Oxfam.
I also wrote three books, including a children's prayer book and an autobiography. I was a bit unsure about doing it at first, but I’m glad I did.
I also organised lots of events to raise money for charities, which inspired me to set up my own charity, 'Believe to Achieve', in 2000 to tackle the low self-esteem of children in Wolverhampton.

What approach does the charity take to help children?

We offer peer mentoring, counselling, one-to-one support, sports and art therapy to children, including those who are vulnerable, across 30 primary schools in Wolverhampton.

You've just completed your third degree in health visiting, what other degrees do you hold?

Years ago I did a counselling degree and secured a job as a Sure Start family support worker, which is when I came into contact with health visitors and became interested in their role.
After having my two children, I decided to follow up on this interest and do a three-year nursing degree, after which I applied to do my health visiting qualification.

You started working as a health visitor last year, how are you enjoying the role?

I started as a health visitor in December and love it. It helped to come in to the role with nursery experience and having been a Sure Start family support worker.

Would you say that your experience in 1996 has helped drive you?

Absolutely. It gave me a drive and passion. It also made me look at how precious life is and realise you have to believe in yourself to make things happen, hence the name of the charity.

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