A life much lived

Ask Hillie

Few people are better qualified to advise you on problems related to relationships than Hillie. Now you can ask for Hillie’s advice online. Don’t worry, we don’t publish or disclose your personally identifiable details with anyone.

» Ask Hillie

Nothing in Hillie’s early working life predicted her extraordinary future. She started work as an NHS radiographer often in busy accident and emergency departments. Seeing at first hand the suffering of so many fostered her compassionate nature which remained with Hillie throughout her long and varied career. Hillie the radiographer was hiding extraordinary talent and ambition. During her NHS training she studied singing at the Guildhall School of Music and before long she was in the BBC 2 production of ‘Peter Grimes’ conducted by Benjamin Britten, followed by the musical ‘The Great Waltz’ at Drury Lane, fourteen years as Princess in pantomime on stage and TV, operas and concert performances, starring in musical comedy and cabaret. She eventually formed her theatre company Edwardians Unlimited producing Variety and Old Time Music Hall shows nationwide. Gradually the health service was left behind, but her people skills remained and were further developed.

Few professions, she maintains, produce as many professional and personal crises as the theatre and she saw at firsthand how valuable common-sense counselling is for those in need.

Employing stars like Roy Hudd, Barbara Windsor, Nicholas Parsons, Leslie Crowther, Clive Dunn and Barry Cryer didn’t stop Hillie finding time to marry and raise two children. However the marriage foundered and she found herself a divorcee, bringing up her young daughter and son alone. The experience made her stronger and she decided to found a club where the newly single, like herself, could meet others and perhaps find new friendships and partners.

The result was Dinner Dates. From small beginnings in local restaurants it has become the UK’s largest and most successful social events and holiday club for single people, with over 17,000 members and up to a dozen events each month where single people meet in convivial surroundings. Dinner Dates has called heavily on Hillie’s people skills in managing introductions, overcoming shyness, boosting self-confidence and coaching people back into the game of life.

With three published books on finding, maintaining and growing relationships, countless radio, TV, magazine and newspaper appearances as a relationship expert and agony aunt, there’s rarely a relationship problem that confounds Hillie. In her own words she is qualified-by-experience; the experience of helping and advising tens of thousands of people over three decades.