EDITOR’S COMMENT: Determination and ambition of young girl made me take a long hard look in the mirror

BEFORE I arrived as the Editor of the Derbyshire Times last year, my first job as incumbent was to rake through my new title, and see how I could improve it. Let’s face it, we can all improve.

I threw down the gauntlet to the Chesterfield public and asked – what do YOU want from your local paper? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, as Editor I am merely a custodian. This historic organ belongs to the people of Chesterfield, not anyone else.

Alongside harvesting feedback from readers, I quizzed my new team as to what the paper needed. They told me: a platform for the public to speak out; a soapbox; a pulpit. They also insisted it HAD to be at the front of the paper, not shuffled around or buried at the back.

And so was born ‘ViewPoint’ on the page opposite, week in, week out. Cestrefeldians have used this spot for all manner of rants and raves, but never have I been so delighted with its creation, and indeed content, as I am this week.

Step forward Ellie Simpson. Rising to the challenge I set on Facebook and Twitter she penned 350 words that made me take a long, hard look at myself in the mirror.

She kicks off her column by declaring her disability – Cerebral Palsy. But far from going on to play any kind of violin for herself, she puffs out her chest and proudly declares herself determined to compete for team GB at her chosen Paralympic sporting discipline.

That’s despite clearly having scars from her school years when sport was in fact a cruel nemesis for her, given that she was competing against fully able-bodied peers.

Add to that, that her prose was beautifully written, and reached the Editor’s desk in pristine shape, and I began to see a young woman who should be an inspiration to us all.

I only hope we see her realise her sporting dreams, so we can all cheer her on to glory.

by James Mitchinson, Editor