In memory …

Luckily, there’ll be no mention of Friday the 13th today.

As we move into January and the rhythm of our school and college lives returns we can take time to reflect upon what we might describe as ‘our lot’ today. It’s relatively easy, at this time of year, to see so many negatives in our personal or school/college lives and become consumed and overwhelmed by the issues we face. I know that we will all find our own way through this but I tend to maintain a glass half-full approach. I want to take and see the positive, as much as possible, even in the depths of winter.

Whilst reflecting upon how difficult it might be for oneself, it can be worthwhile considering how challenging it might be for our friends, family and wider community. That old phrase ‘we are all in this together’ rings particularly true at this time in our history. Very few of us are able to rise above the significant challenges that we face, economically and societally, at the moment. The only way through this is for us to stand together, shoulder to shoulder, and support each other.

We as educators often find ways of offering help and advice. Sometimes we may not have that direct advice at our fingertips but we can share resources and/or signpost to those who may offer help. We know that many families will be facing incredible difficulties, financially, at the moment, due to the challenges with the cost of living. We know that this can be overwhelming but, equally, we know that help is available. For example, the BBC offered the following links:

  • Citizens Advice – an essential resource for advice about dealing with built-up debt one might be struggling to pay off, ensuring there isn’t a loss of home and any other serious problems people with financial troubles can face.
  • StepChange – for advice on debt, budgeting, financial advice, and methods of prioritising debts.
  • Money Advice Trust – runs a confidential debt-line via phone or webchat, as well as a second line for small business owners or self-employed people in need of assistance.
  • MoneyHelper – provides guidance with how to contact and speak to anyone someone might owe money to (be it a bank, company or person) and about issues paying the debt back.
  • Mental Health & Money Advice – for support and tips to lessen the strain of finding oneself in financial trouble, as well as maintaining positive mental health, as much as possible through tough times.

And finally from me something very poignant and, although desperately sad, equally uplifting, at the same time. During the coming week, family, friends and the wider community will say their goodbyes to Lulu Blundell. Lulu was an incredible young woman who faced down challenges which many of us will never have to contemplate. She did that with great bravery, resilience and a remarkable determination. She did that with a smile, with good humour and an incredible zest for life. Lulu has touched many lives over the years, and especially over the last four years, since her diagnosis.

We are mourning the loss of Lulu and we will continue to mourn that loss. We pass on our deepest condolences to her family and to her friends – our thoughts are with you all!

Importantly, Lulu was driven by, and had a passion for, making a difference. At this time there is very little we can do for Lulu’s family however we can honour her memory by contributing to her fundraising campaign; in support of the Teenage Cancer Trust. Lulu, over a very short period of time, just in the last 12 months, raised around £80,000. There is a push to get that figure through the £100.000 mark. Should you feel that you want to make a contribution follow the link to Lulu’s JustGiving fundraising page 9 or make a contribution to the Teenage Cancer Trust, and mark that contribution in honour of Lulu.

Lulu, we will miss you; you will be in our thoughts for many years to come. Many of us will be inspired by your approach to facing the enormity of life’s challenges.

‘What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal’. Albert Pike

Whatever you’re doing this weekend it might be worthwhile just to take time to reflect on how difficult it is for those around us. And in doing so we remember that our own glasses are half full, not half empty.

Have a great weekend.