Margaret's son, Lt Mark Evison, was shot in Helmand, Afghanistan: he died a few days later. Margaret subsequently wrote a powerful book 'Death of a Soldier' which is to be dramatized on BBC Radio 4 to mark the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Mark wrote a diary whilst in Helmand, which was published in the Daily Telegraph on 14 July 2009. 'The circumstances of Lieutenant Evison's death became a prominent element in the debate and controversy in Britain at the time over how the Afghanistan campaign was being fought and particularly how it was being resourced - of which the political sandstorm over the alleged lack of helicopters was just one part. The young officer kept a detailed journal, key parts of which attracted attention when they first appeared in public.' (Nick Childs, BBC War Correspondent, RUSI Journal 2013).
At the time Margaret was made aware of the need for better equipment for frontline soldiers, communications and helicopters, and was able to help make the public become better informed about the war, with so many deaths following in 2009/10 and subsequently. She has been interviewed many times, including in 'Woman's Hour', the Today programme (twice), BBC Breakfast, Newsnight, Channel 4 News, and in many newspapers and magazines. She has written for Prospect Magazine, the Guardian, and in 2014 the RUSI Journal. She spoke at the Defence Academy in 2013.
Immediately after Mark's death, Margaret and his friends set up the Mark Evison Foundation 'to promote the personal, mental and physical development of young people'. The Foundation gives awards to young people 16-30 years for non-academic personal challenges that applicants propose, plan and carry out themselves. Its strapline is 'bring out the best in you'. It aims to give awards to young people who lack opportunity and by the end of 2013 there were 57 beneficiaries. www.markevisonfoundation.org
In 2013 Margaret was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Oxford Brookes University for this work.
In 2012 Margaret's award-winning book 'Death of a Soldier' was published - it includes Mark's journal. She writes about Mark's death, how it impacted on those at home and the soldiers, about the Coroner's inquest and about visiting Afghanistan. It has been very well reviewed and published internationally as well as translated into Marathi.
Professor R Jones in the Br.J General Practice, says 'What emerges is a truly gripping- and exceptionally well-written - story of incredible bravery, tragedy, bungling, dishonesty, and magnanimity.'
The book was selected as Military Book of the Year by the Times Defence Editor in 2013. It is to be dramatised by BBC Radio 4 this year to mark the withdrawal from Helmand, and Margaret has presented it at major literary festivals in the UK and Australia, including the Hay Festival.
A Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Margaret led the cancer support team at Guys and St Thomas' Hospital Trust for 14 years. She now has a private practice. She is a Trustee of Dimbleby Cancer Care.
Margaret's professionalism, intelligence and thoughtfulness make her a fascinating speaker working to make something positive come from the tragedy of Mark's death.