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Inspiration from a year most of us want to forget

Keith Morris finds some inspiration from 2020 - a year that most of us will want to forget.

I am sure that you, like me, look back on 2020 as a year that you do not want to see repeated in your lifetime.

We lost so many freedoms which we had taken for granted. We also lost people we admired and loved.

My wife and daughter are both front-line medics and the pressures, dangers and anguish they faced on a daily basis put my comparatively minor inconveniences to shame.

As a humble journalist I can continue to ply my trade from home, almost as effectively as with freedom to roam. In fact, I have worked from home, at least part-time, for the last 15 years.

My main role, as I see it, is to tell the often inspirational stories of the real heroes of the last 12 months: doctors, nurses, shop workers, bin men, posties, church ministers, foodbank organisers, teachers, sometimes even politicians.

As editor of Network Norfolk, I and my small dedicated team have tried our best to keep the good news, and the not-so-good news when necessary, flowing to inspire, educate, inform and connect our audiences.

A personal thank-you from the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Lady Philippa Dannatt, was a real encouragement, as is on-going support from our many readers and partners.

A highlight was the launch of the faithhopelovenorfolk.co.uk website which, to date, has highlighted the work of well over 100 Christian churches, projects and organisations making a real impact for those who are especially vulnerable at this time.

In a world that seems to have been turned on its head; for those of us with a Christian faith, there is still one constant – and that is the person of Jesus Christ and the hope that he gives us.

For me this was best summed up last year by Catholic Deacon Peter Coates, from Woodbridge in Suffolk, who died in June.

Peter wrote a regular column in a Catholic newspaper which I edit. He had recently recovered from major heart problems and was looking for ways to continue his vocation. 

“I can no longer drive, nor can I walk more than a few yards, so my liturgical and pastoral possibilities are very limited,” he explained. 

Peter wrote on a multitude of topics. He was not afraid to address hard subjects such as the pain he often endured because of his poor health and his own mortality.

His June column was about his recent 80th birthday and his reflections on a long life and counting his blessings. He clearly knew then what was coming for him and where he was going when it did.

Less than a week before he died, Peter wrote to me for the final time, keen to provide his column in time for the July newspaper. “Pain is up this week but this writing is very therapeutic,” he wrote, “more later.”

I am sure, as ever, that he was right and there will indeed be more later…

KeithMorrisAug12Keith Morris is editor of Network Norfolk, the Good News for Norwich & Norfolk newspaper and is the Communications Director for the Catholic Diocese of East Anglia.


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