“Being a regional reporter means absorbing yourself in a city’s DNA”

For me, every part of this city tells a story.

Saturday, 30th January 2021, 11:55 am
Trying a spot of sword dancing, with Handsworth Sword Dancers

Every street, building, and landmark brings a different face to mind; the whole city a tapestry of stitched-together memories.

I’ve explored its fascinating history with characters like Ron Clayton, its heart with people like John Burkhill, and its ambition with countless councillors and independent business owners.

11 years ago I waved the Women of Steel off to Downing Street from the platform at Sheffield station, and three years later I rode on the back of a lorry to film the Olympic Torch’s arrival in the steel city.

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Covering one of many protests and marches through Sheffield city centre

I was there the day lions arrived at Doncaster Wildlife Park, and when Don Valley Stadium closed its doors for good.

I’ve covered protests and marches, flooding and snow, reported from chilly sports halls on Election Nights, and stood for hours outside the courthouse waiting for verdicts.

I’ve mourned with families who have lost loved ones, and celebrated unbelievable triumphs with people who’ve pushed themselves to their limits: in the name of business, charity, or health.

I’ve enjoyed a jog or two with Jess Ennis, interviewed visiting Royals, met The Fonz for coffee at St Paul’s Mercure (and secured an Ayyyyy...), taken a spin around the ice with Torvill and Dean, and had afternoon tea with the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire down the road at Chatsworth Hall on her 90th birthday.

Getting ready to film a spot of brain surgery (!) with former Star journalist Ben Spencer

In my 12 years as a Sheffield Star journalist, I’ve seen the whole spectrum of life in this beautiful region.

This coming Thursday will be my last day, and though it’s time to move on, it’s difficult to leave a place that has meant so much.

I was just a kid when I started, young and inexperienced, and I’m leaving as a woman, a wife and mother, and all the better for my time as one of your storytellers.

The words we write on the page, the footage we film, is only one part of it. Being a regional reporter means absorbing yourself in a city’s DNA, experiencing every high and low, putting yourself entirely in somebody else’s shoes, finding the heart of the message and - always and most importantly - telling the story, and doing it justice.

Exploring the realities of speed dating

The Star’s newsroom is filled with people I’m lucky to call friends who have this same love for Sheffield, and a passion for representing you - for making sure your needs, your concerns, and your most wonderful moments are put front and centre.

This last year isn’t the way I would have liked to see the city at the end of our time together, but as always, I’ve been blown away by the resilience of its people.

I’ve interviewed people in their driveways and back gardens, as they’ve talked to me about losing jobs and launching businesses, pivoting in new directions, and rallying in their communities to keep going in the face of this horrible virus.

If anybody can, it’s the people of this city.

The arrival of my daughter, Imogen, signalled the start of my time as a family columnist and blogger for The Star

So as I submit my final story this week, and my words become relegated to the archives, I want to thank you for letting me in your front doors, for stopping to talk to me, at events or in the streets, for letting me into your worlds, and sharing your stories with me.

It’s been an absolute privilege.

Chatting to 'the mum who never says no to her kids'
Taking a spin around the ballroom with Darren and Lilia, as Strictly Come Dancing came to town
Filming a live music session with Scouting For Girls at Hallam FM
With fellow Star journalist Rochelle Barrand and Sheffield's MamaMei blogger/vlogger Sophie Mei