Bright lights shine in our dark days
It has been a pretty grim fortnight. Sometimes when I look for inspiration for this column, I will check out newspapers and websites, local, national and international.
Over the past 14 days, they all seem to have been dominated by sadness, cutbacks, U-turns on cutbacks, strikes and overwhelming tragedy.
It can be difficult not to be fearful about a world in which I am raising two children, in which budgets are getting tighter, services are getting shorter and globally there is real chaos and fear.
It can be difficult to find inspiration.
But amid such a turbulent time, I make no apology for trying to find optimism and hope in everyday life.
It can come in so many different shapes and sizes, people and places.
It can come via our youngest - the look of satisfaction on my young son’s face as he slowly overcomes his irrational shyness – or our older members of the community, those who give tirelessly to help others less fortunate.
It can come through our teachers, from pre-school all the way up, and our doctors and nurses.
It can come through the tireless, but often unheralded, dedication of our community leaders who maybe don’t always get it right, but at least they have stood up and said they are going to try and do something for the greater good.
And it can come from people who maybe aren’t so well-known, but who just want to say thank you or give back or help others.
Recent stories in these very pages have told of young children who have thought of nothing about cutting off their lovely locks to simply say thank you through a simple act of fundraising. This is just one example of which there are so many.
In my own life, I am fortunate to encounter so many amazing people.
Just one of many is Mark Dean who is organising the Thetford 93, a charity walk to raise money for West Suffolk Hospital and the newly-formed Thetford Boxing Club.
Putting aside any fundraising for a minute, Mark’s mission – accompanied by his very special band of brothers - is about so much more.
Mark loves Thetford and everything about the town. He is aware that it hasn’t always had the best reputation, but all Mark wants to do is showcase all the great aspects of the community he grew up in.
He doesn’t have to do this. He gets no personal gain from trying to put Thetford on the local map. It is simply an act of selfless goodwill.
It might sometimes be a little harder to find. But from the six-year-old deciding to cut off her golden locks to Mark wanting to highlight the positives of his town, inspiration still remains all around.