So long 2020!

You’re reading this so… congratulations you’ve made it to the end of 2020.

‘2020’ is commonly used to describe ‘perfect vision’ or a ‘form of cricket’ but from now on it’ll also be known as the year that shook our lives in every single aspect, work, home, literally everything!

Pretty much all of us have had to adapt to changes, some positive, some really challenging and some upsetting.

It’s been a while since I’ve written a little piece but with a quiet few moments, I wanted to reflect on the last 12 months.

For me since the first lockdown was announced in March, life to the naked eye pretty much remained unchanged but behind closed doors there have been some revelations, a few surprises, trying times but also a great deal of support where needed.

First of all, as a broadcaster I was classed as a key worker so I’ve been out of the house pretty much every day doing my job presenting radio shows on The Wave. Judging the mood of listeners was really challenging but somehow as a station we achieved the balance of being informative but also entertaining in equal measure. Personally being on air for a few hours during the afternoon providing a form of escapism with music and a silly anecdote or two in an attempt to raise a smile during what some have described as ‘dark times’ would be my perfect ‘tonic’ if I was on the other end.

I received a really lovely email from a listener (who I won’t name) not so long ago, who thanked me for being there during 2020. I feel I’m quite a strong person emotionally but when I read it my eyes began to water with joy because I was being told in black and white that what my colleagues and I were achieving was making a real difference.

Despite lots of changes where I work over the last few months, I’ll continue to do what I have done alongside my colleagues to always be that unique form of company.

When not on air across South West Wales, I’d been keeping busy elsewhere.

Having been elected chair of Radio Glamorgan in March 2019, this has been my first ‘full year’ in charge and it’s certainly come with it’s unusual challenges. Naturally when restrictions were imposed it meant that the studio complex that volunteers frequent to present shows had to be closed for safety to minimise the risk of infection due to the fact it’s right within the heart of the biggest hospital in Wales.

Alongside safety, my other immediate worry was that volunteers would lose interest and once the pandemic was a distant memory we’d have to look for new members to support the station once again. However, I’m so pleased to say that every single person has embraced technology and pulled together to produce shows from home thanks to grant money for microphones via the Wales Coronavirus Resilience fund. A regular fixture to a Wednesday evening for a while was a quiz too, which was a great hit with all. My small team of trustees have kept me in check and somehow we’ve navigated our way through, even when in June Radio Glamorgan suffered a major technical fault which meant our station went off air for a few days and has taken months to rebuild to what we had before!

As I sit here typing this (not long after 11.40pm on 30th December), we’re just about to submit 12 entries to the National Hospital Radio Awards 2021. Most of the material was produced/created during the last nine months, which is a true testament to the dedication of the volunteers and their determination to achieve and succeed even with restrictions and obstacles.

To finish this little piece, I’d like to put down in words something I’ve already said out loud recently.

Back in June, I was sat on my sofa when my phone buzzed.

It was a text from my friend Hannah. Hannah is one of those people who I can pick up a conversation with months later without question of how long it’s actually been! This time though, It was a text I had to read several times to get my head around.

The text was informing me that our friend Hayley had died. Hayley was a co-presenter of mine on the Teenage Cancer Trust Takeover on Radio Glamorgan, who has been going through treatment for cancer.

Hayley was 26.

Later that Saturday evening with my housemate upstairs asleep, BBC Two were showing the entire sets of Adele and Coldplay from previous years at Glastonbury (replacing what would’ve been the actual coverage but of course like most things, called off because of covid).

I could’ve sat there quietly remembering and reflecting the good times, but instead I danced around my living room as if I was there with not a care in the world, balling my eyes out whilst doing so. I still remembered the good times including the joy that was felt when we won gold at the National Hospital Radio Awards but instead of silence, there was the added background sounds of Fix You, A Sky full of Stars, Someone like you and Hello.

We presented a tribute show for Hayley not so long ago and it was one of the hardest shows I’ve ever been involved with in all my years in radio, but Hannah and I managed it, despite the distance between us (Thank you technology!)

L-R – Hayley, Hannah and Me
At the HBA awards 2018 in Windsor

2020 will probably be many an answer to a future pub quiz question.

Back in October I celebrated my 30th birthday. It wasn’t how I’d envisioned that particular milestone but my best friends organised a party over zoom and it was honestly one of the best days of this year.

Face facts, 2021 will be ‘just another year’ where there will be positives and no doubt challenges too but if anything these last few months has taught us, be lucky to what you have.

Stay Safe & Happy New Year x

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