Yesterday was the most surreal day of my life. I’ve always looked out for myself on Match of the Day, jumping up when Sunderland score. I saw myself once. My friend Gerard and I were sat right behind the goal in the North Stand for the local derby match against Newcastle. I can’t remember who scored but it was a peach! Later that evening Gerard and I could be clearly seen diving around in celebration in front of the cameras. Is there any better feeling in the world?? Well maybe seeing your child enter the world comes close!
I never imagined, when I started to write, that my family and I would end up featuring on the national news. As I sit here, Coronation Street on in the background, onesie on, girls in bed, Paul out, it’s hard to believe that cameras and reporters were in our home last night, recording our story.
As normal, yesterday morning, I went to work but I felt unsettled all day – nervous. It’s a peculiar feeling knowing people are getting a real insight in to our lives. However, I believe it is important to be able to put a face to the numbers of people this situation is affecting.
I was expecting ITV news to arrive at 5pm and before that a reporter for the Telegraph also wanted to speak to us. I had also signed up to a stay and play session at Honor’s nursery over my lunch hour and my boss, Jan, kindly gave me the time to attend. I rarely get to visit Honor’s school and often feel like I am missing out on meeting other parents and knowing how Honor is getting on there. However, Paul has been lucky enough to be able to take her regularly and he keeps me updated on what is going on. Coincidentally Paul’s two best friends, Ernie and David, also have their children in Honor’s class. The three of them used to be in a band, with Paul as the drummer. Music is another passion of Paul’s but with shift work, wives and kids the band has taken a backseat over the last few years. Barry, Paul’s dad, has recently purchased a huge shed and is in the process of making it into a band practise den. I hope the boys get back into it. They’re actually pretty good and it’s good for them to have a bit of boys time away from the stresses and strains of family life! Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Honor at nursery. She is doing really well and loved showing me round all the different play areas. It was just lovely to see and a special, family moment amidst a rather unusual day.
After school I headed home and hastily changed my clothes, hoping I would look sort of OK on camera! First off, Alistair, arrived with his camera and microphone. Alistair was lovely, and immediately put me at ease. He interviewed me first, then Paul,then photographed us. As Alistair was finishing off the ITV News crew turned up and things started to become more daunting! Dan Rivers was in our home. A recognisable face and an even more recognisable voice. The crew were great and, again, made me feel completely at ease. Dan interviewed me, then took shots of us, as a family and we finished off at Sunderland Illuminations!
I didn’t set out to court media attention, but the public have become interested in our story. It’s become more of a duty, a campaign, to raise awareness of how redundancy impacts on family life. Whether it makes a difference remains to be seen but at least I know we have done our best to get the message across about how ordinary people struggle against obstacles life can throw in our path.
We featured on the ITV News at 10. The piece focused on the difficulties we, and hundreds of others, are facing right now. I struggled to watch the feature, hating the way I look and sound on camera! I was really proud if Paul as he is so much quieter than me but he came over really well.
Life is going to be tough for a while but things won’t always be like this. Paul is starting to hear back from potential employers and that’s a good sign. Hopefully interviews will soon start and life will get back to some sort of normality. I can’t wait for the day when he hears he’s successfully secured employment. The feeling that will give us is sure to surpass any derby day winning goal. Of course a derby day win next Sunday and a new job secured could make for possibly one of the best weeks ever! Ha’way!


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