Autobiography - Capture your Family History

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While the BBC broadcasts a new

series of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ that gives celebrities the chance to find out

about their family history, a former high flying executive at the BBC Bryher

Scudamore has launched her online business that helps people who are not celebrities

write their own life stories.

Bryher Scudamore, creator of, said: “Emilia Fox, from the famous acting dynasty, who features

in the new television series, couldn’t have put it better. She said of her experience

‘There couldn’t be a better present for my baby’. And this is true for every family.

Everyone has a precious story to tell their family and all too often they realise it

too late.”

Bryher Scudamore had the idea for 12 years ago

when her mother, Peggy Mitchell, died suddenly of a heart attack, and with her died

her memories.

“There were so many things I wanted to ask her but it was too

late. I knew I wasn’t the only one with this deep regret. I discovered there were

companies who would help people record their life stories but these ghost writers

were extremely expensive, costing several thousand pounds. I knew that was too

expensive for most people, and so I set about using every skill I had to work out how

to create a method that would put writing their life story within the grasp of most

people,” said Bryher Scudamore.

Everything she had ever learned in her career,

as a newspaper journalist, a BBC television producer (Editor of top rating BBC One

programme That’s Life! and Editor-in-Chief of BBC Online), came together as she

wrestled with the concept and how it might work. She knew it had to be an online

service to make it work financially. It also had to be inexpensive and easy to use.

She began working on the idea in the evenings and at weekends. But it was

impossible holding down a very demanding job as the Director of Communications at the

Eden Project in Cornwall and concentrate on getting the idea off the ground.

She decided to risk everything and four years ago resigned from the Eden Project

and started working full-time on – the business now had a name.

She had never done anything like this before. She lived on her savings. And then a

month after resigning she went for a routine mammogram and was told that she had

breast cancer.

So now she had no job and a life-threatening disease. She

said: “I was terrified on both counts. There is nothing like facing your own

mortality to spur you on. I spent nearly a year being treated for the breast cancer,

but I was even more determined to make work.


though I was told I was one of the lucky ones and that they had caught it early, I

felt as though my time was limited and during treatment I worked hard on I used up all my life savings on the technical work that

needed to be done to build the online service. And then with my husband Paul’s

support, we mortgaged the house.

“Now, four years on, I have just had my

annual check-up at the Royal Marsden and things are still looking good, and I launch this week. Both causes for celebration.

“AlI anyone who

buys autodotbiography has to do is answer simple questions about their life and

upload photographs and documents. Then the system I have devised turns their

responses into a beautiful, full-colour hardback book. I have risked everything

financially because I believe the books that autodotbiography produces really are the

gift of a lifetime.”

Copyright Bryher

Scudamore 26 September 2011

Bryher Scudamore | Director | Autodotbiography Ltd

M: 077110 66810 T: 0208 653 5933

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