Jo Reynolds

In 1982 Josephine “Jo” Reynolds aged just 17 was hailed as the first full-time female firefighter in the UK. Trailblazer Jo proved during her tough training that it was possible for a woman to be an equal amongst her male firefighting collegues. Determined never to be the weakest link Jo also went on to pass her HGV 3 test to drive the fire engine at her station. Jo continued to work as a firefighter until new opportunities presented themselves. Her next opportunity was to travel.

Jo joined expeditions in South America and S.E Asia; during this time Jo was responsible fora group of runners in Nepal on the 1st Everest Marathon. This period of time working and volunteering in other cultures ignited a curiosity and passion that drove Jo on to her next chapter.

Jo Reynolds

In 2000 Jo, now a business woman,  founded The Silk Road Design Co with a Trading Company in Shenzhen Southern China creating  bespoke homeware products  for challlenging and demanding UK multiple retailers.

After 6 successful years Jo sold her business along with her UK home and packed up and moved to the island of Koh Samui, Thailand in 2006. Connecting to other women wasn’t easy there, to resolve this Jo created a Women’s Business Network and other groups to help the community link together.

Traveling constantly in the region, Jo was exposed to huge inequalities, she saw how politics and poverty affected so many desparate people. Relocating to Cambodia to help a locally run NGO gave her an even deeper understanding. Wanting to give a voice to those forgotten people found her on one of the first planes into Tacloban, Philipines after Super Typhoon Haiyan hit, killing up to 10,000 people. Jo stayed a month here, writing and publishing articles about the human struggles that were continuing long beyond the initial mainstream media flurry. When Nepal’s 2015 earthqauke struck Jo was  commissioned to write for UN Women (SE Asia) and as an established humanitarian writer Al Jazeera asked Jo to write about the largest slum in Cambodia.

Continuing her writing and encouraged by a friend Jo has travelled full circle to write a memoir , Fire Woman, published in 2017.  An honest, uplifting tale set against the slate-grey backdrop of early eighties Britain. Well received by all, including current female firefighters.

Jo’s story is one of grasping oppportunities and not being afraid to instigate change, of looking up and around. It is a story of not being afraid, of putting her hand up and saying yes I can do that. Yes I can make a difference.

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