I’m leaving the Derbyshire Times and JPIMedia after 13 years at the end of this week for a new opportunity, and my editors have kindly let me write this column ahead of my departure.
It’s been a tremendous honour and a privilege to have worked as a Derbyshire Times journalist for all this time.
Since I first stepped foot in the newsroom at Station Road as a trainee reporter in my early-20s, I’ve told thousands of stories.
I’ve smiled and I’ve cried as I’ve covered the highs and the lows.
I’ve met and spoken to countless amazing individuals – and I’m proud to have given lots of ordinary people a voice on so many different topics.
I’ve shone a light on lots of important matters since 2009, and I’d particularly like to thank all those who have lost loved ones for welcoming me into their lives during their darkest hours and working with me to help raise awareness about issues such as suicide and the devastating impacts of violent crime.
I’ll never forget reporting on the pandemic years.
I really did find it heartbreaking to document the pain the virus brought to our communities – but I’ll always be proud of how people of Derbyshire responded to the crisis.
It seems like a lifetime ago now, but during lockdown, it was very heartening to tell you about those who did so much to help others – there was a lot of light in all the darkness and, from a personal perspective, those positive stories helped me get through some awful days.
I’ve also had plenty of fun during my time here – one amusing story which sticks in my mind is a police appeal about two brooms which had been snapped in half by offenders in Eyam in 2015.
The story made headlines across the world and swept social media by storm – ‘first the plague, now this!’ – and lots of people were tickled by the fact it had been written by someone with the surname Broomhead.
It’s also been a pleasure recording the changing face of Chesterfield – a fantastic town which has come on leaps and bounds over the years, and I know it will continue to grow. I’ll always love Chesterfield.
I wanted to thank everyone who has been part of this incredibly special chapter of my life – including you, dear reader.
I also wanted to thank the many amazing people I’ve worked with over the years – really wonderful men and women who have taught me so much about journalism, and myself. You always will mean an awful lot to me.
I leave the Derbyshire Times in exceptionally good hands – and I know this fantastic, historic title will continue to thrive.
Finally, in this era of fake news, I wanted to reiterate the message that trusted local journalism matters now more than ever.
So please continue to support your local newspaper and local news website – in turn, they will be here to serve you for many more years to come.
Thank you, take good care of yourself – and farewell.