Born in Brighton, daughter of Alfred Charles Reed and his wife Winifred, Margaret attended Hove County Grammar School and then trained at Hastings School of Nursing. She became a registered nurse in 1964. Through further study at Brighton College of Technology (now University of Brighton) and London University, she qualified as a Nurse Tutor in 1980, and gained an MA in Curriculum Development at Sussex University. She moved to Cornwall in 1987, and now lives and works in the west of the county.
In 2010 she completed a BA (Hons) with the Open University in Art History, having begun to take up painting in 2001. She acknowledges the strong influences of A Derain, Howard Hodgkin, Patrick Heron, Matisse and Picasso. She believes it is the changing light that fuels her painting practice, primarily focussed on colour. For her the sense of the landscape is expressed in abstract shapes.