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Davina McCall in Bath

Davina McCall in Bath

Oh what a night! The women of Bath gave a hugely warm welcome to Davina McCall for what turned out to be an intimate evening, shared with an audience of more than 1,000 and hosted by The Bath Festival.

The TV star and author of a new ground-breaking book, Menopausing: The Positive Roadmap to Your Second Spring, brought passion, laughter, tears and empathy, which was greeted by outbreaks of spontaneous applause and shared recognition that we were all in this together.

Davina was joined on stage at The Forum by menopause expert and co-author Dr Naomi Potter and TV presenter Angellica Bell to talk about a major life event which affects 51% of the population, but which until recently, was rarely openly spoken about. The live Bath event came just two days after the publication of Davina’s Menopausing manual, already riding high at No2 in the Amazon book charts.

Davina was in turns serious and funny, her infectious laugh putting her audience at ease. For those audience members raised in a ‘put up and shut up’ culture, hearing Davina’s candid conversation about taboo matters was like having a new best friend sharing the facts of life that no one else had told us.

Davina and Naomi shared useful nuggets of information and the TV star urged us to go and pass on what we had learned. “We women are like carrier pigeons,” she said, “I tell you, then you tell someone else, and by next week that’s 3,000 people told!”

Here were some of the pieces of wisdom and insight from Davina:

  • “Contact your GP surgery and ask who there specialises in women’s health. Hopefully by the time you get to the menopause, or a daughter or workmate gets there, we will have paved the way for them.”
  • “It’s time to de-mystify HRT. Find out the facts – it’s your body, your choice. I take HRT and plan to keep taking it, but I have friends who won’t take it and I respect them for that.”
  • “One in four women who go to their GP are prescribed antidepressants, when in fact it’s their menopause.”
  • “Do your housework in a weighted vest, I do. It’s a great way to keep fit. Walking is good, anything weight-bearing is good.”
  • “A little bit of testosterone can help. It gave me back my va-va voom. It got me back in the room.”

Davina became tearful talking about her own experiences, of fearing that her brain fog was early onset dementia, of worrying that her career might be at risk and worrying about where her unexpected bursts of rage were coming from.

“This is not about selling a book,” she said, on the edge of tears, “this is about sharing information.”

At the end of the evening the auditorium filled with the fluttering of hundreds of Menopausing paper fans, as the crowd posed for a mass selfie with Davina.

Friday’s event was just the beginning of a conversation which will continue to spread as the audience carry Davina’s messages out there like so many carrier pigeons flying out across the country.

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