There has been a huge amount of activity since NYE in Edinburgh. A bit much really (my bits anyway)….which sounds ungrateful and a bit of a cliche, but working for the NHS for 35 years has bound to have an effect.
So here’s the news:
A couple of months ago I recieved a letter from the Cabinet Office…’The Prime Minister would like to submit your name to the Queen….’ My reaction was dramatic. I was always the one who nominated others…this couldn’t be true. And although Paul would argue to the contrary, I never feel like I am doing anything different to so many others. So this was a huge shock….The revelation of who nominated me came shortly afterwards, and then there was a lot of excitement. But I was sworn to secrecy! Then, the day before New Years Eve in 2011, I recieved a call from the Lancashire Evening Telegraph whilst shopping in John Lewis, in the Scottish city. ‘What do you think of recieving such an honour?’ Robert asked me. Oh dear…..the cat was out of the bag.
The Times gave the details of the honours list, and there it was, my name. Then the celebrations began with my sisters and their husbands, and special friends Frank and Lynne. A week later I am still overawed. I still don’t feel worthy and I can’t tell my friends even, so some of them don’t know…even though the local press have been proactive. The FRONT PAGE OF THE CLITHEROE ADVERTISER made sure the local got the message, and the ROYAL COLLEGE OF MIDWIVES informed the midwives….same photo! Oh dear…
And Anna and Garry got engaged! This phone call promoted a repeat of the celebrations on New Years day; we were all thrilled. Apparently Gazzer used a ring from a cracker to propose, and after the real ring was purchased Anna sent me photos of the two exhibits to see if I could tell which was the real one. I didn’t dare. Congratulations to the special couple!
And my book is selling like hot cakes, on the 5th January just 42 days after publication, the sales figure reached 27,136! Unimaginable. I NEVER expected such a response, not in my wildest dreams. But more than the number of books sold is the response from readers. I recieve at least 4-5 contacts every day either by direct email, Twitter or Facebook and of course the odd snail mail! The messages are so charged with emotion for different reasons, and it makes me feel that the whole excercise has been worthwhile. I have had a visit from Joan, a local woman who turned up on my doorstep. Over a cup of tea in my kitchen she told me how she’d seen my book advertised in a Weight Watchers magazine, and bought it. Then her daughter who was holidaying in Australia emailed her and attached a photograph of herself and her little family by the Opera House in Sydney. She explained to her Mum that the photo had been taken by an English woman was passing by, who was in Sydney as she was speaking at a midwifery conference. That was me. I had told the young woman after photographing her that I lived in Whalley, and as her Mum did too we bagan share other things that we had in common. So Jean put two and two together, looked me up in the phone book and came to call….. It’s been an adventure every day. Charlotte Ward, I never expected it to be like this at all….