• Rosemary Cook

A weird but in some ways wonderful year ...

Looking back at 2021, it was not the year we had hoped for ... after 2020, we really hoped that the pandemic would be on the wane, the difficult restrictions and limitations could be safely lifted and things would start to feel normal.

Instead, we've had another year of variants, lockdowns, isolation and separation from people we badly wanted to see and hug. But one good thing amongst the gloom was the way that online talks and meet-ups took off. Rather than doing face-to-face talks around the local area, groups have been able to book speakers from anywhere and everywhere for their groups. I've been delighted to speak to groups in Wales, and the far North and South of England, where I would never have had time to travel.

Even better has been seeing the interaction between group members online. The chat and the checking up on each other's health and news; the exchange of tips about keeping safe and where to go for vaccination; the delight in seeing other members' faces again - at times I've felt like NOT giving my talk, and letting them enjoy each other's company instead! In particular, it's been obvious that doing talks online has allowed people to listen in who would never have been able to come out to a face-to-face meeting. Some of the frailer older people, those with health problems or no transport, have all had opportunities opened up to them this year.

Yes, the tech companies may have made a mint out of the upsurge in online meetings - but I'm very glad the technology was there when it was needed, and not just to discuss Board business and sales opportunities ...

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