Telling people’s stories

Last week was all about social media and emojis. This week has been about talking to people and telling their stories, and I have loved it.

One of the reasons I became a journalist was to tell people’s stories, and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed meeting all kinds of different people and listening to them talk about their lives.

Over the past few weeks I have been talking to people who have been involved with Hall For Cornwall, either now or in the past. It has been fascinating listening to the people who had the original idea to create it, and then worked to make it happen. Each person has explained their part in the journey and it has been a privilege to turn their memories into stories.

This week has been a little different. Instead of talking to someone who had been involved in Hall For Cornwall’s past, I had the chance to talk to a 17-year-old who is a current member of HFC Youth Dance and has just won a place with the National Youth Dance Company. Ned came into the HFC building for the interview and told me how he had begun dancing at the age of 11 to help him manage his Tourette’s syndrome. He was accompanied by his incredibly proud Mum and brother Gil, who is also an extremely talented dancer, both of whom were thrilled with his success. You can read Ned’s story on the HFC website


As well as talking to Ned, I have had the chance to write a story about Hall For Cornwall staff winding the City Hall clock. The historic clock is a key feature in Truro and has been chiming the time for local people for more than 100 years. While the building is closed it is the responsibility of HFC staff to wind the clock three times a week, which means walking up some incredibly narrow stairs to the top of the clock tower and taking it in turns to wind the mechanism. My story appeared to strike a chord with the media as both Radio Cornwall and BBC Spotlight came to the HFC building to film and interview the staff carrying out their winding task. You can read this story on the HFC website, too.


I am also going to be talking to people and businesses who have received European funding to start of grow their businesses over the next couple of months as part of another project.

This week I found out about the team transforming urban parks, recreation grounds, the edge of sports fields, roadside verges and closed churchyards in seven Cornish towns into spaces for nature with wildflower meadows, community ponds, trees, plants and new seating areas.  It was great to talk to the leader of the project and I can’t wait to meet the others on my list. You will be able to read these stories in the media later in the year.

In my very first blog post, I wrote about new beginnings and having the opportunity to do different things. Reading my subsequent posts this morning, I am pleased to see I have at least made a start at achieving that goal: I have written and delivered my first training session (complete with Winnie the Pooh slides), created some mini-films and supported some incredible local charities, and am also now working with a range of partners to organise a major event in October. But at the same time I have had the chance to go back to my journalism roots, and it has been brilliant.

Embracing a new life at the age of 58 has certainly proved to be the right choice. It has been a rollercoaster five months, and I can’t wait for the next five.


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