It feels like the time is right for me to review what 2017 has brought me and how it leaves me for the coming year. This has been a rollercoaster year and is split in two halves.
My year started recovering from illness that had wiped me out over Christmas and had prevented me travelling for a work appointment in Berlin. It was a disappointing start to 2017 but one that made me determined to get the most from the year and to look after myself a bit more.
The start to the year was busy but not massively eventful. Work was busy and as we were short staffed it added to the challenge. I managed to have a few days holiday during February and March and to enjoy time with my lovely animals and spend time on some spiritual pursuits. I also chalked up 30 years with my long suffering partner.
In the first few days of May I had an amazing night out watching Iron Maiden at the Manchester Arena. It was a great stage show and I was transported back to my teenage years. I could never have imagined the horror that happened just two weeks to the day.
When the terrifying events happened on 22 May at Manchester Arena they changed many lives. Like many I will never forget those people who lost their lives or were injured in our city. For so many people their loved ones didn’t come home from that night out. Dealing with the communication that night was the most challenging experience of my whole working life. It is something I will never forget as well as the amazing response from the people of Greater Manchester.
It took me a long time before I realised that there was going to be no return to normal. What we have been living and working with is the new normal. I learnt a lot about myself in the days, weeks and months that followed that night.
I am not as resilient as I have thought I was and like many of my team I felt broken for quite some time. I have got stamina and determination and above all we as a team had heart and that emotion and feeling came through in all the communication. For some time after the attack and even today I can feel as though I should have done more to help.
The team were amazing throughout the experience and just focused on the work that had to be done. It is why I have been very proud to accept awards for the communication response. They are a recognition of the commitment, dedication and professionalism of the team. Every one of them went above and beyond and often at a personal cost.
I have been overwhelmed by the personal support I have had throughout the year. I still can’t believe that I am now a fellow of both the CIPR and PRCA as well as being about to step into the role of vice chair of the PRCA Council and to start the year as a Chartered assessor.
It is also the year when I step down from my role as Chair of the Association of Police Communicators after five years. The role has taught me so much and I hope that the work has more recognition.
So as we are in the last few days of 2017 what have I learnt? Well, I am stronger than I think but I don’t always have to be. It is ok to be vulnerable. I am lucky to work with amazing people who do amazing things. We all need time and space to grow and develop. My support network is vital and has helped me through . I have a lot to be grateful for.
Finally I have made it through with tears and some laughter but it has only been possible because of the support I have every day. Thank you to everyone who is part of that support. Let’s hope for a happy new year.