Tessa was born to Chinese parents in British Guiana (Guyana), and migrated to London in 1963. She studied pharmacy at Leicester Polytechnic (now De Montfort University) and graduated in 1973. During her time studying, she met and married her husband Geoff. After graduating, they settled in Leicester and had two sons, Geoffrey and Alastair.
Tessa worked in several roles for Leicester hospitals, before, during the 1990s, moving to the NHS Information Authority, then based in Loughborough. When the NHSIA moved to Birmingham, the daily commute proved too demanding, resulting in her leaving the NHS to locum in many community pharmacies throughout Leicester and the county.
In 2012/3, she was diagnosed with multiple system atrophy, a rare and relentless disease. She passed away at home peacefully on 25 May 2017.
“The Inscrutable Apothecary” was the description she gave herself when appearing in an episode of BBC’s “The Adventure Game” during the 1970s.