Jill Allen-King OBE was born in Southend in 1940, while the Second World War was raging. In spite of being partially sighted, she was able to enjoy a fairly normal childhood and, on achieving a catering qualification, worked as a cook. On losing her sight completely at the age of 24 she embarked on a journey of self-rehabilitation, gradual readjustment and learning, until she finally regained her confidence and independence. She has never allowed the fact that she has lost her sight to hold her back, and she dedicated the rest of her life to voluntary work, campaigning tirelessly to improve facilities for blind and disabled people. Jill currently chairs the European Blind Union Commission on Mobility and Transport, a position she has held for the past 13 years, and the National Federation of the Blind's Environment Committee. She was awarded the MBE in 1983 and the OBE in 2011. Jill lives in Essex with her second husband, Alvin, who is also blind, and her sixth guide dog, Amanda. She has one daughter, Jacqueline and two grandchildren, Joseph and Emily. Jill's autobiography 'Just Jill' was published in July 2010 by Apex Publishing Ltd.