Editor's letter: After that rollercoaster year, here’s to a brighter 2021

Ray and Theresa Cossey putting their hands up to glass doors to touch the fingers of their great gra

Ray and Theresa Cossey putting their hands up to glass doors to touch the fingers of their great grandchildren, three-year-old Florence and one-year-old Edith. The photograph reportedly inspired the Duchess of Cambridge's Hold Still photography project. Photo: Ray Cossey - Credit: Ray Cossey

Dear reader,

Where do you start when looking back on a year like that? I’m certain to not be alone when I say that 2020 was the toughest 12 months I’ve known. A rollercoaster of emotions, full of unknowns and fears and, sadly, far too empty of happy memories.

But at least we can now say that it is over. And that while the immediate future continues to look full of peril and heartbreak, I’m sure that overall 2021 will be a much more positive one for many of us.

However, there are of course some out there who sadly are not around to look forward to brighter horizons and I want to start this piece by offering my wholehearted sympathies to anyone who lost someone close to them, through covid or otherwise, during 2020. I hope this year brings you better fortune.

I’m writing this from my tiny office at home, the place I have spent way too many hours over the last nine months, wondering what I would have said 12 months ago had someone outlined the year that was about to pass. At that time the mood of the nation was generally one of optimism. Yes, Brexit continued to be a largely unresolved mess, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson set the tone when he said we could all look forward to ‘a fantastic year ahead’ as 2020 began. In Norfolk and Suffolk, despite its many challenges, the outlook was similarly positive.

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As we all know, it didn’t take long for the mood to darken. Looking back to February and March is a weird thing to do. The feelings of worry and anxiety I felt at that time still feel fresh, yet it seems like that was a lot more than nine months ago. Since then time has become a weird thing for us all and I’ve heard many say how it feels like the days drag, but the weeks fly by.

My own memories of those early covid days are of trying to find order, understanding and balance in everything that was happening at the time. Firstly I was trying to find enough headspace to lead the paper and set the right tone between being informative, but not scaremongering. We needed to be challenging of authority, but also not ignorant of the fact we had, and still have, a role to play to ensure everyone did what was needed to try to keep the virus at bay. 

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At the same time I had a team of similarly concerned individuals to manage, all with their own fears and their own questions. Meanwhile, at home, my wife and I tried to get our heads around what lockdown meant for us and the two children. I’ve been very fortunate to have such a supportive partner, who has done an amazing job home schooling our children for much longer than we would wish to recall.

I’m completely biased of course, but I remain immensely proud of the efforts of my team over the last nine months and I hope that you, the reader, would recognise that this newspaper and its website has had a massively important role to play in the community we serve in 2020 - and has done so in a fair, balanced and calm manner.

Of course we haven’t got everything right - but I know we’ve done our best and believe we’ve done it very well. We’ve worked all hours to try and inform, educate, encourage, campaign and entertain. Hopefully along the way we’ve given you a few moments of light relief as well. I want to thank all of the team for their hard work during this most unprecedented of years.

Finally, and most importantly, I want to thank you the reader for continuing to believe in what we do and continuing to come to us every single day, whether it is in print or online, for the latest on what’s happening in the region. I hear from many of you and am always happy to do so, even when it is to constructively criticise something we’ve written that you perhaps have not agreed with.

Being editor of this newspaper and its website is a job that gives me an immense amount of pride. I wholeheartedly believe in the positive role this newspaper plays in the community and like many of our team, just want to do what I can to make this fantastic part of the world an even better place to live in. 

Wishing you all a happy and prosperous new year.

David Powles


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