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Daughter of Dudley Edward Vivian North

The story so far !

Vanda attended Bournemouth College studying home economics before working for Unilever, travelling the British Isles lecturing on new materials. Then she started deep sea fishing and home catering companies at the same time.


  Showing early signs of her versatile and joyous attitude to life, she ran away with her first husband to be, Mike Shea, to the NASA tracking station on the Canary Islands where she ran the cafeteria during the Gemini space walks to prepare for the moon landings.

While there, this led naturally (for Vanda) to some excitement assisting Frances Bacon`s attempt to cross the Atlantic in a balloon. While the balloon was filling up with helium at the foot of the cliff, the hose came loose and the operation was halted in case of sparks. In the pitch dark the team started again. However the delay meant the lights at the top of the cliff had gone out which was the signal for a ship that was tethered to the balloon, to start pulling it up and out to catch the Trade Winds……..!   (This being before mobile phones!)

Chaos ensued and the cable parted with a big bang, wrapped round Vanda’s leg and she nearly became the first English Woman to cross the Atlantic upside down under a balloon ! 

Lauded as  ‘heroes’ Vanda and Mike were given tickets to America and chose Palm Beach (following the line of latitude from Gran Canary!) where they found themselves rather poor. Eventually immigration allows Vanda to apply for a job and she is hired by Florida Power and Light. Mike & Vanda get married and quickly unmarried in 1964.

Working at Florida Power and Light was Bud Williamson, (later to become her second husband) with whom she put on cooking schools for 5000 people and demonstrated the features of a cooking ‘range’.


New Year Cheers ! Vanda with Bud and her Mother and Father. Michael her stepson is left front

At one point a knob came off the cooker and rolled across the floor. Time stood still as Vanda considered her options, choosing to say: “See how easy it is to clean, even behind the knobs!” As American’s have other meanings for knobs, this brought the house down!

In the early 1970`s she developed one of the first school volunteer programmes, initially county wide then state wide and nationally; writing manuals and training the trainers.  This set the scene for her to breakout with her own company. 

  In 1984 she started PIP (Progressive Impact Programmes) focusing on accelerated learning. She became President of the International Society of Accelerated Learning and Teaching and conducted the biggest conference ever in this field; ‘The Quantum Mind’.

She met Tony Buzan and Founded and ran the Buzan Centres (a network of licensed instructors worldwide) for 20 years. She taught literacy skills to 100,000 people from 50 countries world-wide, leading and coaching over 700 instructors.

In 2006 Vanda became a director of The Learning Partnership where you can find the best “Brain Friendly” products for thinking, learning and creating. They launched the ‘Baby Matterz’ programme, now a national model in UK schools.

Vanda is the author of several books and manuals including “Get Ahead” now in 9 languages; “Joy Journey” an audio programme with Nightingale Conant and her latest book “Mind Chi” which is due out in December 2009 (available thru Amazon).

Her current company, Mind Chi Ltd has created a business model round the ‘Mind Chi’ book. Mind Chi Mentors are being trained world-wide to conduct the Mind Chi Matters sessions. (www.MindChi.com)

The next 20 years are planned: she intends to continue to share solutions to learning difficulties; aging; teen angst and depression, to name a few, through the ‘Mind Chi’ series. She met her third husband, Dr. Robert ‘Bob’ Chapman (a research scientist) on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro on a fund raising trek. Together they have already explored: the Great Wall; Tibet; Australia’s Warrumbungles; UK’s three peaks and Everest Base Camp, with a ‘bike, boot & boat across Tasmania’ the next challenge. When not on adventures they share a lovely ‘nest’ in Ferndown, UK.

We await further stories with interest.  

Keep an eye on her: www.vandanorth.com

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