My 2020 in review

Everyone keeps sayig 2020 has been the worst year in under a century and I’m sure for those who lost loved ones, their jobs and/or livelihoods, then yes, it’s been a shit year. However for those of us who have continued to stick to restrictionss and found alternative ways to work and socialise, like myself, then 2020 hasn’t been such a bad year after all.

I’ve secured more work than ever since I left university, had access to online courses and events and got to enjoy heaps of box sets and films that I’ve lost count. I’ve been given more jobs greater responsibilities at my role at Disability Horizons, where I even got to speak to many celebrities. I learnt many more journalism skills than I ever did throughout my degree and I even got accepted onto a mentoring scheme. Plus, my audio description campaign has gained thousandsor supporters and some media coverage.

To be honest, the only thing I’ve missed this year is attending gigs and festivals and visiting my friends. Fortunately I’ve had Amazon Music to keep me entertained and Zoom/Skype/FaceTime to keep me company.

Below are a list of highlights I’ve had each month of 2020, a roundup of my blog summaries this year and what I’m hoping for in 2021:

Highlights of 2020

January 2020 – We Will Rock You

As part of my birthday present, I went to see the musical We Will Rock You at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. It was an amazing night out and definitely worth seeing once we can return to theatres.

February 2020 – Billy Lockett

My first and only gig of 2020 was to see singer/songwriter Billy Lockett in Guildford, who I discovered at a Jeff Lynne’s ELO show in 2018. His performance was powerful, emotional, artistic and good humoured. All his songs are deep, meaningful and personal to his life experiences of love and loss.

March 2020 – John Bishop

I was very lucky to see John Bishop’s stand up show in Basingstoke two weeks before lockdown. It was fun, laugh out loud event and thoroughly entertaining.

April 2020 – MacBook Air

With the increase in my workload and knowing I’d be home much more over the next few weeks and months, I treated myself to a MacBook Air laptop.

May 2020 – Getting started as a freelance journalist course

I signed up to an online course to gain the skills to be a freelance journalist. The skills learnt will be useful but do to other work and personal commitments, I’ve not been able to put the skills ino full practise.

June 2020 – Audience Engagement Strategy course

I continued to attend other online journalism courses including a course in Audience Engagement Strategies. This had a nice combination of video meetings and written content.

The thing I like most about these courses is that they’ve been accessible to me from home and there has been no need for me travel. This may have never happend unless Covid had occured.

July 2020 – Featuring in award-winning film Living in Fear

Back in March, I was invited by my wonderful friend and talented filmmaker Stephanie Castelete-Tyrrell to appear in her first feature length film Living in Fear – a documentary about how disabled people were managing at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic.

In July, Steph found out her film had won an Award of Merit at the Impact Docs Awards. I’m so proud and honoured to be featured in an award-winning film – And of course well done Steph!

Since then, Living in Fear has won multiple awards and Steph has made appearances in the press including The Telegraph, BBC Northampton Radio and, of course Disability Horizons.

Check out the trailer to Living in Fear here –

Living In Fear – Official Trailer from Four Wheel Drive Productions on Vimeo.

August 2020 – Celebrity interviews

For Disaability Horizons, I got to speak to two people who I consider disabled A-listers. Firstly, I got the pleasure to speak to former wheelchair basketball player and TV presenter Ade Adepitan. I was quite nervous about interviewing him as it had taken over a year to organise and he such a big name within Paralympic sport and television. He is probably the first disabled person I saw on TV as a child when he presented X-Change on CBBC. Thankfully, he was a real gentleman, very honest and down to earth.

Secondly, I got the opportunity to interview the finest man on TV, journalism and comedy, Alex Brooker. I’ve been a superfan of The Last Leg since day one. Plus, thanks to this show, it started my journalism career and gave me my first ever published article at Disability Horizons, with a review of The Last Leg in 2012. Alex is by far been my favourite interviewee and a highlight of my career so far. He told some great stories that made me laugh out loud and he is just as friendly as he is on TV.

Both interviews with Ade Adepitan and Alex Brooker are available to read on Disability Horizons.

September 2020 – Relaxation and recovery of eye surgery

In mid-September, I had routine eye surgery at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. Following the operation, I had two weeks of relaxation to enjoy, which is rare for me as I’m a workaholic.

Over the fortnight, I enjoyed a variety of films, box sets, podcasts and audiobooks. I binge watched the Harry Potter films and re-read the Harry Potter books for the trillionth time.

I also watched the Toy Story series, Hangover trilogy, Ted, The Invention of Lying Old Yeller, The News Boys, American Pie and many more.

In addition, I continued listening to The Chris Moyles Show on Radio X podcast and Chris and Rosie Ramsey’s podcast Shagged, Married, Annoyed, which has also been made into a book of the same title that is hilarious.

October 2020 – RFD Question Time series

In October, I launched a new guest blog series called RFD Question Time, in which I interview disabled people and/or bloggers. So far I’vee published six interview with Gemma Orton, Simon Sansome, Kerry Thompson, Andy Dovey, Lucy Currier and Amanda Nelson, all of which you can read on the RFD Question Time series page.

If you would like to feature in my “RFD Question Time with…” series in 2021 or publish an original guest post, please contact me.

November 2020 – The John Schofield Trust

Back in March, I sent an application to the John Schofield Trust Mentoring Scheme for journalists. This month I received the exciting news that I’ve been accepted onto the scheme.

John Schofield was a young journalist who was killed in a Croatian conflict in 1995 while reporting there for the BBC. After his death, John’s wife Suzannah set up the John Schofield Trust to support young, aspiring journalists thrive in their careers.

The scheme will begin 1st January and end 31st December 2021. I’m still awaiting further information but I’m assuming in early days it will be mostly virtual meetings then, once the pandemic is over, we can have in person meetings.

I was so surprised and honoured to be accepted. One because it’s been so long since I applied for it that I kind of forgot about it and second because I honestly didn’t think I’d even be considered. I’m looking forward to meeting my mentor and this year’s other mentees.

December 2020 – Christmas celebrations

Although Christmas celebrations had to be scaled back this year, I still got to enjoy it.

The Disability Horizons team got together on Zoom for a virtual Christmas party. They sent us all a party box with snacks, drinks and Christmas goodies, which was very nice of them. We had some music, played games and had a good old chit-chat for a couple of hours, which was great fun.

On Christmas Day itself, I just had Mum and Dad with me. We opened presents, had dinner, played Scrabble and watched TV and movies. Simple and quiet as we like it.

My summary of 2020

In case you missed any of my blog posts this year, here is a recap of the monthly roundups:

  1. January 2020 summary
  2. February 2020 summary
  3. March 2020 summary
  4. April 2020 summary 
  5. May 2020 summary
  6. June 2020 summary
  7. July 2020 summary
  8. August 2020 summary
  9. September & October 2020 summary
  10. November 2020 summary
  11. December 2020 summary

Donations 2020

Thank you to everyone who has donated to my blog this year. In total we’ve raised £160, with 20% going to The John Schofield Trust, a charity that supports young journalists in the industry through a mentoring scheme, and which I’ve been accepted onto in 2021.

Please continue to donate throughout 2021 to support my blog and 20% will go to another worthy charity in December 2021.

Hopes for 2021

Of course, my biggest hope is everybody gets the Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible so we can get back to socialising, attending events and travelling. But I also hope working from home and virtual meetings and events will continue for the foreseeable future.

I’m looking forward to meeting my mentor as part of the John Schofield Trust. I hope the support, advice and guidance I’ll receive will enhance my journalism career further.

As long as they don’t get postponed again or cancelled, I’m very excited to be seeing The Killers and My Chemical Romance in summer 2021. Then hopefully once things return to some kind of normality, I will try and purchase tickets to go to more shows throughout the year.

I am also hoping I can resume my assessment process for a guide dog. I had my initial assessment back in December 2019 then was waiting to have a second meeting with another member of staff when the pandemic hit. Fingers crossed I get to meet with them again soon and maybe eventually be put on the waiting list for a guide dog.

My new years resolution

This new years resolution actually began back in October 2020. I have decided to NOT read the Harry Potter book series for an entire year. Every year I always end up reading them again as I love them so much. But this year I’m determined to try and stay away from them and try and discover as many new books as possible within the next 12 months.

Happy New Year

Thank you again for all your amazing support on this blog. Please continue to like, comment, share and subscribe and I hope you all have an amazing 2021!

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Published by Rock For Disability

This blog follows my life as a disabled person, reports disability news, share music reviews, give advice pieces, shows multimedia content plus much more!

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