One of the biggest parts of my job is making sure the news bulletin sounds up to date making sure our listeners know about the important things happening right now.
Sometimes the details of a story can change really quickly, like election results or resignations, and this can mean keeping the bulletin up to date is more of a struggle. And to be honest quite exciting as well.
Recently a suspicious package was left outside Lincoln City Hall and the bomb squad had to be brought in as a precaution. We knew through police updates that it was unlikely to be a bomb but it was causing some problems in the city centre. There were traffic problems and people had been evacuated from their homes and offices.
I felt it was important that the scripts weren’t sensationalising what was happening, because we knew most a lot of the police work was precautionary. Instead I wanted to reflect on the disruption, so I sent a reporter to talk to people and send back a voicer describing the scene.
However, just as I started to read my bulletin we heard from the police that traffic restrictions were about to be lifted and the bomb disposal squad were leaving the scene. As I was in the studio I was oblivious to this update so my head of programming started to write an update for me to read.
He walked into my studio with a piece of paper with a couple of lines describing the latest situation which I read completely blind live. I’ve uploaded my bulletin with a big chunk of it that’s not relevant edited out. But you can hear my boss walking in over our creaky floorboards and hand me this piece of paper. It was all quite exciting and a bit unbelievable but hopefully to the listener sounded normal and meant they were being kept up to date.
The resignation of Sleaford’s MP over the government’s handling of Brexit brought the national spotlight to the small Lincolnshire town.
Stephen Phillips, who’s been the area’s Conservative representative since 2010, stepped down with immediate effect in November 2016 because of ‘irreconcilable differences’ with the government. This was shortly after the Prime Minister had announced that she’d be challenging the High Court ruling that Parliament must get a vote on when to start the process of leaving the EU.
In Sleaford and North Hykeham 63% of voters were in favour of leaving the European Union, as was Stephen Phillips. So with his resignation, whether the constituency wanted it or not, Brexit became one of the main campaigning issues for the by-election.
A number of national politicians came to visit the area and I got to cover Nigel Farage’s visit. The former UKIP leader came to support his party’s candidate, as well as see the market place, and of course the pub.
It was very strange to see a crowd of people just suddenly follow the former UKIP leader around. There were a number of people who were huge fans of him, but likewise a number who didn’t like his politics. And this is where he did interviews with the media. So it wasn’t really a chance to challenge him or ask in-depth questions as he was also entertaining a huge crowd of people.
Bits of this interview went out on the Lincs FM’s bulletins in December 2016.
Football definitely becomes more exciting when you’re following teams that are performing well. So it was fantastic to cover Grimsby Town’s promotion which saw them get back into league football in 2016.
As part of the news bulletins for Lincs FM and Compass FM we followed the Mariners story – which ended with a trip to Wembley. It was also fantastic to follow the area’s celebrations which included an open top bus journey and a civic reception at the Town Hall.
As we had so many interviews and talked to so many local people about what had happened I wanted to use these to make a documentary. I also found archive audio from when Grimsby Town were relegated back in 2010.
This helped to tell the story and really capture the sheer delight and also the total disappointment that comes with following a football team. It was also a fun opportunity to work on something longer and be more creative.
This documentary The Mariners: Back where we belong went out on Compass FM just before the new football season kicked off in August 2016.
A couple of days after the event I’m still aching yet I’m incredibly proud of swimming 5k for Sport Relief. It was a challenge but it all took place in a friendly atmosphere and was actually a fun swim. All 200 lengths!
I wasn’t sure what to expect on Sunday. I’d panicked myself that on the day everyone else would be a professional swimmer and I’d be the equivalent of a man in a rhino costume at a marathon. But it was all so relaxed and casual. All of us that were swimming would chat to one another and the staff had plenty of encouraging words. My family also sat and watched me for well over two hours which was the best bit of support.
In my session most people did shorter distances so at points I had the pool to myself, which was so much fun. I went at my own pace and got to enjoy being the only one in a massive pool.
When I first came up with the idea I thought I’d swim most weeks in preparation and have a strict regime, gradually improving until the big day. In reality I commute most days and work shift patterns which gym opening hours don’t tend to take into account. Also sometimes I wanted to sit on the sofa and watch TV rather than head to the pool.
So to be honest I didn’t do a full 5k in the month up to my swim. Thankfully after doing the first 40 out of 200 lengths I knew I was going to do it. It’s strange to explain but it felt quite calming rather than daunting.
There’s a few standout moments (apart from finishing – of course) which include getting to 100 lengths I went back to counting from one to try and pretend I’d just started swimming. Also there was music playing at the pool and I very noticeably sped up when David Bowie’s Heroes came on.
While admiring the decorations in London, it’s always nice to appreciate the ones a bit closer to home. These decorations aren’t new but the variety of lights across the city centre are fun. I especially like the projections of snowflakes across the Town Hall building.
It’s always fun to be a tourist in London, especially near Christmas time. I haven’t been to the capital for a while so it was nice to just wander around and take photos.
I went to the store Liberty for the first time and I found the building absolutely beautiful. While in that part of the city I also explored Carnaby Street and went in my new favourite cupcake shop in Kingly Court. While all the time finding lots of pretty lights and decorations.
Well… I’ve decided to try doing something a bit different. One Sunday in March next year I’m going to swim 5k (in one go) for charity.
I’ve never been that sporty but since living near Ponds Forge in Sheffield I’ve had less excuses. So about two years ago I started lane swimming, something I hadn’t done for about ten years. After a few sessions and realising that I was actually doing doggy paddle rather than a stroke I started to get better.
I’m still nowhere near professional, but now when we go on holiday we tend to go somewhere with a pool. On this year’s break I started doing about 3k every day and getting into a nice rhythm. So I looked up swimming challenges and signed myself up for one, knowing that I wouldn’t have to make the final decision until the end of the year.
Earlier this week I finally got the email about registering. After being enticed by half price entry for early sign up and a few encouraging words from friends I decided to go for it.
It’s a long distance, I’ll be doing 200 lengths in the pool on the day. I guess the next step is figuring out some sort of training regime, I might even come up with a target time.
As I’ve mentioned it’s for charity – this particular event is a Swimathon event held at Ponds Forge all in aid of Sport Relief. If you’re interested here’s a link to my sponsorship page.
Currently I’m a bit shocked, and distractedly thinking it’s still about four months away. I’m also aware that it’ll no doubt come up really quickly.