ALTHOUGH definitely not a ‘rags to riches’ story, Maureen Hiron’s entire world changed when a ceiling fell on top of her at the age of 32.
Up until then, she had been the head of the physical education department at a comprehensive school in London as well as an English international bridge player but when she was pensioned off at this early age because of the accident she feared for her future.
The brain is a curious part of the body which can sometimes play strange tricks and this blow on the head suddenly brought into play a formerly dormant area which meant that she was able to reason with the intuitive mind of a child, yet still retain her acquired knowledge and high I.Q. level.
In 1982, she came up with the concept of a board game Continuo which is a perfect blend of skill and luck which means that a young child can play on equal terms with people of all other ages, providing equal enjoyment to all.
The next step was to form a company to manufacture and market the game which has now enjoyed sale of more than six million in more than 50 countries and her ever questing mind has resulted in the invention of an additional 70 games which are marketed throughout the world.
Her experience and change of mental capacity resulted in a BBC TV documentary and she was approached by city financiers to take her company public through what is known as a reverse takeover but then sadly, tragedy struck her yet again.
Another set back
Maureen was diagnosed with cancer, so her business ambitions couldn’t be brought to fruition, and she needed to expend her considerable energies on ridding herself of the disease but even whilst an in-patient at the Royal Marsden Hospital she continued to invent games using her fellow patients as guinea pigs.
She used her company to produce the game called Chip which raised money for the Royal Marsden Hospital’s £25 million appeal under the then Presidency of Princess Diana, even persuading Margaret Thatcher to be photographed playing it with her at 10 Downing Street.
Maureen has written, with her late husband Alan, several best-selling books, including The Ultimate Trivia Quiz Game Book, which reached No.2 in the British bestsellers list and also worked on a number of TV shows, including Krypton Factor and Fifteen To One.
Back in 1990, Maureen was voted Londoner Of The Year in London Electricity’s Brightening Up London awards and it was soon after that she purchased her second home in Spain in Calahonda but sadly her husband Alan died in 1999 and she took over his position as Bridge correspondent for the Independent newspaper which she continued to write until its closing in 2016.
While on a Caribbean cruise at the end of 2011, Maureen met Sheyla Bonnick, one of the original members of Boney M.
There was immediate friendship and they kept in contact, especially as Sheyla and her husband own a property in Andalucia so it was natural that Sheyla and the rest of her Sounds of Boney M troupe came back to Spain to perform at her Maureen’s 70th birthday party.
Having recently renewed her interest in music, Maureen had installed a concert organ which she was teaching herself to play and together with Sheyla produced an album called Look Beyond.
This is an exceptional story which should encourage those who have faced disaster that fate can step in to make even the worst of events an occasional success.