My mother, Sue Owen, who has died of breast cancer aged 69, had a long and distinguished career in children’s care. Her first love, and continued passion, was for childminding, which she believed was unjustly criticised and misunderstood – and on which she became one of the UK’s foremost experts. She fought for better training and qualifications for childminders, and for their work to be given higher value in society.

She was born in London, to Bridget (nee Madden), an accountant at Harrods, and Owen Owen, an electrician for the Metropolitan police, employed at Scotland Yard. Introduced to ballroom dancing at an early age by her parents, Sue went to Frank and Peggy Spencer’s ballroom dance school in Penge, and won many prizes, even performing as a background dancer in the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour film.

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