A couple of weeks ago, I sent out a plea to you to keep buying your treasured local papers to support the editors who are working so hard to keep them going through this crisis, and I also asked you to get in touch to let me know what you think of this column.
Thank you to all of you have contacted me, either the through the paper or through my contact page at countrymansdaughter.com. Without exception, I have received warm words of encouragement which have lifted my spirits no end. I’m featuring a few here, not only to pander to the narcissist within me, but also as a way of saying thank you to all of you who are reading this. Unfortunately I don’t have room for them all, but if I haven’t included you, please rest assured that I read every single one and treasure them all.
Clare Proctor wrote: ‘I love reading your column so please don’t stop. I like the randomness of the subjects and I learn new things, or it reminds me of old things! I hope you do carry on, and one day they may pay you again!’
And Jerry Swift sent this very moving message: ‘Yours is always a column I take the trouble to read…I lost my wife of 34 years to leukaemia in November last year. Your column was always one we both enjoyed and reading it now brings back memories of the things we enjoyed together…so on a purely selfish note, please carry on.’
And David Payne said: ‘I always find your weekly column of great interest, especially when you mention local events that were once headline news in the past.’
Catherine Wilson wrote: ‘I enjoyed the column when it was your dad’s and still enjoy it. Please keep on as you are, I do enjoy the historic and nature and wildlife themes. But basically anything you fancy writing about.’
Rosemary Scott emailed with the following: ‘I’m writing to tell you how very much I enjoy your column and how I look forward to seeing it every week…I enjoy your natural way of expressing yourself and sharing information with your readers. Mind you, I appreciate that it probably takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to sound that natural.’
You know what, Rosemary, sometimes it does, but also some columns just seem to write themselves. And this week, thanks to all of you, very little blood, sweat and tears were spilt in the production of this piece!
Sue Barton grew up with the paper, and upon moving to Scotland after marrying, her mother posted it to her. She says: ‘I really enjoy reading about occurrences that have almost silently slipped into the past. The two accidents at Blue Bank were tragic but sadly almost forgotten. The ghosts of Sutton Bank, whether we believe them or not, should be treasured as part of our folklore…They may not be of national importance but they are important to our local area and history and should be kept alive.’
And Patricia Crack said: ‘My ‘must-read’ is your article…I love the variety of subjects covered and often wonder what I would write about…This local paper keeps me in touch with Darlington/North Yorkshire/Dales news and events. Long may it reign!’
Mike Morrissey reveals that he and his wife argue about whether, with my dad’s reputation with more than 100 books and various columns to his name, it is wise that I mention him so often. Perhaps it isn’t, as they are very hefty shoes to fill, but then, I do like to let people know what he was writing about all those years ago. I also love to read them, as it takes me back to when I was a child, and when he was younger than I am now. So mentioning his old column has become a bit of a ‘thing’. I wonder if people would miss it if I stopped mentioning his columns altogether?
On that note, Andy Brown said: ‘I think it is great that you are keeping his legacy alive for a new generation, and I also like that you give it your own personal perspective.’
Perhaps my favourite comment, though, is this very succinct contribution from Kevin Hunter: ‘Keep writing for paper lass if ya can, and thank editor for keeping paper goin’.
I think, for this week, that is the perfect ending.
Read more at countrymansdaughter.com. Follow me on Twitter @countrymansdaug
This column appeared in the Darlington & Stockton Times on 15th May and the Gazette & Herald on 13th May 2020