Clare Oxenbury-Palmer

Clare and her childrenPlease tell us a bit about your background.

My mum often tells me that I’m very lucky to always have lived in places where people want to go on holiday! I grew up in Dorset, went to university in Aberystwyth, worked for many years on cruise liners and then ended up in the beautiful city of Oxford. 

I am the eldest of five children, a blended family full of chaos, drama and pets.  I had the best of country and urban life, spending weekends and holidays on our family farm with my Dad and grandparents, and the rest of the time in the county town of Dorchester.

I now live just outside Oxford with my husband, my two gorgeous daughters and an adorable dog called Woody.                              

What led you to your current career?

I have had a chequered career, from pub manager to wedding co-ordinator, via fitness instructor and ship’s purser.  However, I always wanted to write. As  a child I wrote stories and diaries, then moved on to school and college magazines and my ambition was to be a journalist.  I studied English at University and gradually worked my way into the communications world.  

What, if anything, do you like about your job?

I’m nosy, so I like knowing everything that’s going on in the Faculty.  I enjoy learning about the research we do and its relevance and impact on the wider world.  The Faculty team are amazing and I feel part of a great group of people. I feel that I can contribute, in some small way, to letting the world know what incredible and impactful work goes on in Oxford.

Clare O-P runningWhat is your favourite thing to do in your spare time?

I am a fitness addict. I run, I spin, I practise yoga and I really can’t sit still.  I am part of a running club and in 2018 I ran the Brighton Marathon and have run 14 half-marathons over the years.  I used to be a fitness instructor and worked on cruise ships, including the famous QE2. My first job in Oxford was as a fitness instructor at The High health club (does anyone remember it?).  I try to pass my love of activity on to my children, my eldest daughter loves to dance and my youngest likes gymnastics and riding her bike. They are both as fidgety as me.

Do you have any pets?

I have three pets. Two cats, Suki and Jasper, and a dog called Woody. I grew up with lots of pets and other animals around me so can’t imagine bringing my children up without them.  My brother and I were once given a calf, called Noel, for Christmas, and we also had a pet sheep called Sooty that we used to walk on a lead around our village.

My mum is a mad animal lady and has around 15 cats, 5 – 8 dogs depending on whether she is fostering, and 4 donkeys!  When I was out on a dog walk with her one day we bumped in to someone she knew from a neighbouring village and she introduced all the dogs to her friend and not me! I was most offended but it just goes to show how focused my family is on animals.

What charity do you support and why?

I support charities which help mothers during pregnancy and post-natally, and look after sick babies.  In 2017 two of my closest friends were pregnant. One of them had twins prematurely and they were in the special care baby unit at the John Radcliff Hospital.  My other friend lost her baby five days after he was born due to a rare and undiagnosed condition.  These experiences of watching people I care deeply about suffer in the most heart wrenching circumstances led me to run a marathon for SSNAP (which supports the special care baby unit at the JR) and Petals (a baby loss counselling service).




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