An interview with Margaret Wyllie

Tell us about your life before Homeopathy UK 

I was an English teacher in Edinburgh, working first of all in the  Nautical College preparing Middle Eastern students for courses in  navigation, engineering and radio. Then it became a Further Education  college and I taught students from all over the world – ranging from a  Tibetan farmer to Kazakh oil engineers. When the department became too  big and I found I was doing more admin than teaching, I left and set up  my own small language school in the city, working mostly with au pairs. Many of my former students have kept in touch, and as a result my  husband and I have enjoyed wonderful holidays and been present at  weddings and christenings in some amazing places. They also love coming  back to Scotland to visit us and show their families around the country. When my children were small I took some time out from the classroom and kept busy with freelance journalism.

How has homeopathy benefitted your health?

Following a chronic illness in my late teens and early twenties,  which took me in desperation to a homeopathic doctor, I have – apart  from the occasional accident – been relatively healthy (touch wood!). My GP’s astonishment  at the improvement in my health led him to undertake homeopathic  training, so my family and I have benefitted enormously from the skills of these two doctors. Many of my contemporaries are taking an array of conventional  medicines, most commonly statins. So far, I’ve managed to steer clear of  this. I can’t remember if I have ever taken, or needed to take, an  antibiotic.

Have you used any other form of complementary therapy?

Yes! I have osteoarthritis in my spine and occasional visits to a  local cranio-sacral therapist keep me moving. When I do myself an injury  that needs physio, I find that acupuncture is a useful add-on. Also, in the past I’ve been a  happy guinea pig for friends training to be reflexologists or  aromatherapists.

Do you have a personal approach to healthy living?

I try to eat well and avoid processed food as far as possible. I  drink water, green tea or whisky! I live in a beautiful part of the  country, East Lothian, in the foothills of the Lammermuirs and I love to  walk in the hills or on the coast. And we have over 40 beautiful golf  courses in the county, some with spectacular views, and just begging to  be played!

Why did you join Homeopathy UK? 

How could I not have joined? When we set up the Lothian Homeopathic Group in 1986, Homeopathy UK (then known as the British Homeopathic Association) offered superb support. They were a source of information and encouragement; they provided a box of books for us to sell at each  meeting; and they supported our successful campaign for an NHS clinic in  Lothian, which later expanded into three clinics. (Sadly, NHS Lothian  withdrew the service in March 2014.) And of course I very much enjoy reading Health and Homeopathy!

As our chair, how would you like to see the organisation develop?

I would like to see  even more cooperation with other homeopathic and CAM-related groups,  both across the country and in the EU – where homeopathy faces similar  challenges to those in the UK. I would also like to see an increase in the number of people becoming supporters of Homeopathy UK.

What can our supporters do to help promote and defend homeopathy?

Many already do a huge amount. We must stand up against the bullying  tactics of some of our detractors. Speak up, tell people about  homeopathy’s benefits – especially any health professionals you  encounter; take part in local politics, lobby your MP, MSP, MEP; join  health groups such as Healthwatch (in England) or Community Health  Partnerships (in Scotland). Don’t be afraid to talk about homeopathy –  you’ll find people are very interested in a holistic therapy with no  side-effects.And, of course, encourage your friends and family support Homeopathy UK ; the gift of an annual subscription to Health & Homeopathy would make an inspired birthday or  Christmas

Despite the challenges that homeopathy faces, are you optimistic about the long-term future of the therapy?

Yes, I’m a glass half-full kind of person. I’m very sure the wheel  will turn again: homeopathy has too much to offer to be ignored. We need  to persuade politicians and policy makers that it’s an effective,  safe and economic complement to the conventional treatments which are  also required.The big stumbling block to acceptance is that we have yet to explain  satisfactorily how it works, but there are researchers who are currently  addressing this issue. We all know that we are a sick society and the  NHS now seems to concentrate more on disease than health; that needs to  change so that once again people take responsibility as far as they can  for their own health and well-being.

As well as campaigning for homeopathy, what other interests do you have?

Now that I’m retired I have more time for the things I’ve always  enjoyed doing: golf, tennis, hill-walking, cycling, sailing, travelling,  the arts. In April, about 100 of us are taking part in a 215-mile walk  along the Southern Upland Way, to support a friend who is raising money  for a Parkinson’s charity.I’m also a member of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society and I’m planning a  tasting evening to benefit the BHA. I edit our local parish newsletter  and I’m involved in our kirk’s very imaginative social and fund-raising  committee – which is great fun. My grown-up children are both professionals in the arts. My daughter is a classical pianist and my son is a stage manager in the West End. So my husband and I get many opportunities to go to concerts and shows. And we also have a large garden!

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