Islay Jane, together with Andrew, is part of the second set of twins in the family born on 6 January 1958. Growing up in Otley, she later went to boarding school in Surrey. When the family moved, she became an active member of the church youth group in both Leamington Spa and in Church Stretton, and helped in many church activities.
She trained at the Great Ormond St. Hospital Group and qualified as a nurse before going to work for two years with Christian Outreach in the refugee camp at Surin in Thailand. Afterwards, she went to the Philippines and helped in the Shepherd of the Hills Children’s Home, a project which was very close to her heart. On her return to England, she worked for British Petroleum teaching Road Safety in schools. While doing that, she met and married Michael Downey in 1986. They lived initially in Scotland, where they ran a driving school. Later they moved to the south of England and settled there. Their daughters, Amy and Beth, were born in 1989 and 1992.
Islay has worked for a number of years with the Southampton Youth Offending Team, and focuses on helping parents with problematic children. In 2004, she worked closely with the BBC which made a documentary on this issue. Now a senior parenting practioner, her advice is often sought on how to manage problematic children. She has established her own website called Help Is Just Knowledge (HIJK), as a way of providing support to parents who are having difficulty within the home environment.