About me, Amanda Knight

Amanda Knight – A Knight in Shining Armour

Early Life

I grew up in the Midlands, Leamington Spa mostly, and stayed there until I went up north to Newcastle University. I spent 4 wonderful years studying Scandinavian history, literature learning Swedish, including some magical times in Finland and Sweden. I made some great new friends, ate lots of lovely new food, and got into a few minor scrapes there, which I am sure made me a much stronger woman!

I even managed to scrounge a bed for the night at the local nick when I was on holiday and all the hotels and youth hostel were full! Well, it saved them rounding me up in the night with the drunks while I was sleeping in the park instead….

My dad set up his own business when I was 12, and I got interested in how it all worked. I can make a claim to be one of the youngest double-entry book-keepers when he taught me the basics, so I could earn some working with the books as a Saturday job.

Over the years, I worked in his factory on the shop floor, did office work, ran the place when my parents were on holiday. I even made the teas and cleaned the loo! Because I grew up in the environment, I do understand the difficulties of being a small business owner. I know how isolated you can feel and how painful it can be with all the responsibility. I’ve been there when the arguments came home from the factory and continued over the dining table when there were problems, and I’ve been there when the business made a profit in its first couple of years, much to the accountants’ surprise.

When I left university, I got a job working at IBM, but it was only a contract job that wasn’t renewed because IBM was panicking about the recession. So I had to sell my soul, take up the Civil Service job I had been offered, and move to London. I had always said I did not want to work for the government or live in London and I am still not sure which worried me the most! But I was there for 23 years and most of that time was a success. I got married and assumed I was sorted forever (a little naive maybe?)

My final post was as head of Strategy and Planning for one of the smaller departments. This meant I ran the planning round, bidding for funding from the Treasury for the next three years, managing budgets of up to £54M in the course of the years, and forecasting the outturns. I am happy to say I was able to predict the Office outturns quite well each year and we didn’t have any overspends, unlike some other departments!

But just when it was all working out brilliantly, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. MS is a really weird condition, with lots of peculiar symptoms, and very unpredictable. It is also incurable, unfortunately. I managed to continue working for a couple of years, but it was becoming harder and harder, and the Office didn’t seem to want to make any adjustments to support me. Instead, they gave me a pension and we went our separate ways.

A year after I was pensioned off (at 38!), my husband I and I also went our separate ways.

I felt like I was going mad – no work, not much money, and too much time to brood. Instead, I joined a therapy centre for people with MS. I had physio and other treatments there, and became a trustee for the charity, doing the books for them while I was there.

Eventually, I knew I had to leave London. I am an only child and my parents are getting old and have their own health problems, so it was easier if I returned to Warwickshire. I managed to bring a new man with me though, and we are now happily married.

Ultimately, I missed the money. Pro Bono work is good for the soul, but it doesn’t pay the bills. I have spoken to so many business owners who are worried about their business finances, seeing it as a much scarier deal than it needs to be. This is when I decided to set up on my own in order to help those people.

I know I can do it, so why not let me help you?

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71-75 Shelton Street London WC2H 9JQ
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Telephone: 07979 651350
Email: amanda@aknightinshiningarmour.co.uk