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Life Changing

The phone call that changed everything


Jemma Bere had an unusual childhood. Her mum was a primary school teacher who chose to homeschool her so they could move around a lot. They lived on a boat in Turkey, travelled to Thailand, Bali and across Europe. In her teens they finally settled in Wales after her mum met a new partner. He was a big drinker and home life became a bit chaotic but they muddled along.

Jemma’s mum and stepdad moved to Spain in her second year of A-levels. By now the couple had two kids: Alex and Billie. Then, just as Jemma was doing her exams, her mum died, she’d been hit by a car. The children were looked after by their dad and an amazing nanny who kept everything together while he continued to drink. Jemma would visit all the time; by now she had started university, but the situation wasn’t brilliant and when the nanny had to leave to look after her sick mother everything fell apart.

At the age of 23, fresh out of university with no home of her own and no job, Jemma made a life-changing split-second decision. Many of her friends and some of her family thought she was crazy but Jemma was stubborn and stuck to her guns. She tells her story to Jane Garvey.

If you have a story you would like to share you can contact the programme at Lifechanging@bbc.co.uk