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Desert Island Discs

300 EpisodesProduced by BBC Radio 4Website

Eight tracks, a book and a luxury: what would you take to a desert island? Guests share the soundtrack of their lives.

33:49

Julie Bentley

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the Chief Executive of the Guide Association, Julie Bentley - or, more accurately, Girlguiding.

The name change is surely a clue to the evolving nature of an organisation determined to be relevant and useful to girls in the 21st century. Indeed being relevant and useful is how Julie Bentley has spent her entire working life. From her early efforts at an HIV charity to running the Family Planning Association she says her passion lies with helping young people develop confidence and direction.

Never a Brownie or Girl Guide herself, she was brought up in what she describes as "a happy working class family in Essex" and it took her a little while to find her own self assurance and sense of purpose. A painfully shy child, who was bullied at primary school, she later went on to become Head Girl, but left school with very few qualifications. In her 30s she used a bequest from her mother to fund her Master's degree.

She says of the Girl Guides, "It is not about itchy brown uniforms and sewing and baking. It is a modern, contemporary, vibrant organisation."

Producer: Christine Pawlowsky.

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