Caroline was born in 1937. Her mother qualified as a Primary School Teacher at Froebel College; her father was a surgeon, co-author of an internationally renowned textbook known as ‘Bailey and Love’.
Educated at Channing School, where she was Head Girl, Caroline was advised to apply to ‘Oxbridge’ to read English. However, she opted to apply for nursing education at the London Hospital where she qualified in 1959. During her training, she met Dr. Murray Newell Cox whom she married in January 1959.
Caroline then worked as a part-time Staff Nurse at Edgware General Hospital until she had what she calls ‘the best nursing education anyone could have: six months as a patient with Renal TB. I would have been a much better nurse if I had had the experience of being a patient first!’
As it was not appropriate to continue in clinical nursing at that stage, Caroline enrolled as an evening student at the Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster) for a London University External Degree in Sociology (although the course included other subjects such as Economics, Statistics, Social Psychology, Ethics and Social Philosophy). Having achieved a First Class Honours degree, she studied for an M.Sc. (Economics) specialising in Criminology and the Sociology of Education.
Subsequently, she was appointed a lecturer in Sociology at the Polytechnic of North London, rapidly rising to Senior and Principal Lecturer and Head of Department. A challenging time! 16 of the then 20 staff were members of the Communist Party or other further-left organisations such as the Socialist Workers’ Party. As Caroline says ‘Their definition of higher education was not mine. Mine is freedom to study to seek the truth within the canons of academic rigour; theirs was hard-line indoctrination and pressures ranging from academic blackmail to physical violence.’
After nine years of battling for academic freedom and worried by the knowledge that these problems were occurring in many other institutions of higher education, Caroline and two colleagues (Keith Jacka and John Marks) from other academic departments wrote a book ‘The Rape of Reason: The Corruption of the Polytechnic of North London’. Caroline was inevitably nervous about returning to work with hostile colleagues but, as she says ‘You don’t write and run’. Then, on the day before publication, she received a phone call from the well-known writer Bernard Levin who said this was the most important book for the future of democracy which he had read for the past ten years and that he would write about it in the next day’s edition of The Times. He wrote a trilogy of 3 op-ed articles which publicised the book and its message of threats to the future of democracy.
Caroline eventually moved on to become Director of the Nursing Education Research Unit at Chelsea College, University of London. While there, she was appointed to the House of Lords in 1983, where she served as a Deputy Speaker from 1985-2005. She subsequently resigned from her University post, becoming increasingly involved with her work to try to a ‘Voice for the Voiceless’.
Subsequent activities included working with:
Medical Aid for Poland Fund – travelling on 32-tonne trucks taking medical supplies to Polish people suffering oppression and acute deprivation during the dark days of martial law in the 1980s.
Medical Emergency Relief International (MERLIN) serving as a Trustee, including visiting Tomsk in Siberia to combine receiving the award of an Honorary Doctorate from the Siberian Medical University with assisting in the establishment of a MERLIN programme to address the grave problem of rampant TB.
Christian Solidarity International (CSI) and Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) – undertaking many visits to people suffering persecution and oppression in places such as the historic Armenian land, Nagorno Karabakh (relocated by Stalin in Azerbaijan and subject to attempted ethnic cleansing by Azerbaijan); ethic national peoples including the Karen and Karenni subject to military offensives by the Burmese Government Army; Christians suffering persecution in Northern Nigeria and Plateau State and many regions in Sudan, where the people were suffering from a military Jihad inflicted by the Islamist National Islamic Front regime in Khartoum, resulting I 2 million dead, 4 million displaced and tens of thousands of civilians (predominantly women and children) abducted into slavery. We redeemed several hundred slaves, some of whose stories are recorded in ‘This Immoral Trade: Slavery in the 21st Century’.
Visits to North Korea. Caroline has visited North Korea three times with Lord Alton of Liverpool to raise concerns over violations of human rights, including the persecution of Christians as well as discussing humanitarian needs. The visits included meetings with senior political personnel, including the President of the Supreme Peoples’ Assembly as well visits to institutions such as hospitals, universities and churches.
In 2003 Caroline founded the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART) to combine provision of aid with advocacy for some of the people she had visited previously with the other organisations as well as reaching out to other people suffering oppression and persecution: including those in northern Uganda afflicted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA); the people of Timor Leste still affected by the Indonesian occupation – with a particular focus on child malnutrition; and Dalits in India, including Devadasi women entrapped in the enforced prostitution of the centuries-old tradition of ‘temple service’.
In recent years, Caroline has become increasingly involved in endeavours to be ‘A Voice for the Voiceless’ in the UK, where she has been working on behalf of Muslim women suffering from gender discrimination inherent in the application of Sharia Law. She has introduced a Private Member’s Bill into the House of Lords to highlight the issues and to try to address some of the problems. This has strong support from members of all parties in both Houses as well as Muslim women’s organisations. The website www.equalandfree.org provides updates on this and related initiatives.