Eastbourne reporters share their 10 most memorable stories of 2021

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The reporters for the Eastbourne Herald have taken a look back at 2021 to share their most memorable stories.

India Wentworth:

1. Meads protest for Co-op and Post Office

This showed me how people can come together to stand up for something they believe in. In this case residents shared their concerns for the future of the Co-op and Post Office in Meads which is set to shut in February. This reaction shows what a lifeline these stores are for people.

India covering the visit of the Duchess of Cornwall. Photo from Justin Lycett. SUS-211221-131534001India covering the visit of the Duchess of Cornwall. Photo from Justin Lycett. SUS-211221-131534001
India covering the visit of the Duchess of Cornwall. Photo from Justin Lycett. SUS-211221-131534001

I did some digging to find out what I could but the future of the building is unknown however there is hope Meads will get another Post Office.

2. Sabina Nessa vigil

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I attended the vigil not as a journalist, but as a young woman. Alongside hundreds of other people we listened to various speeches on male violence against women, prayers and a minute’s silence. It was really powerful to go to that and join together with others for such an important issue. The fact a man from Eastbourne has been charged with her murder really brings it close to home.

Jacob at the vaccination centre in The BeaconJacob at the vaccination centre in The Beacon
Jacob at the vaccination centre in The Beacon

Since the vigil I have stayed in touch with organiser Natasha Peacock for a march through the night and generally keeping an eye on other work she does around male violence against women – she is a very impressive lady with a lot of passion to fight this problem in society.

3. University set to leave Eastbourne

This was a shock because I use these facilities myself. I’m at the gym a few times every week and use it for yoga classes and swimming too so the thought of it going isn’t good. When I moved here nothing compared in terms of price so I’m not thrilled at the news.

The print feature I did on this with Jacob spoke to students, gym users, and important figures in the town and the resounding reaction wasn’t positive.

4. Traders opening up after lockdown

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Of course I couldn’t complete this top five without mentioning covid. It’s been a challenging year for everyone but the hospitality industry and small businesses really have been put through the ringer. Now with concerns over what January holds I can’t help but worry what businesses will survive. Usually a busy Christmas period gets them through January, but as footfall has been down due to Omicron worries, many business owners will be looking to the government once against to help them get through this tricky time.

This piece had a lot of hope and excitement to it as we thought we were moving back towards normality so it was a nice one to put together to give businesses a voice and encourage people back out again to support local independent businesses.

5. Duchess of Cornwall visit

Last month I got to cover my first royal visit which was very exciting. The Duchess visited St Wilfrid’s Hospice for its 40th anniversary and I got to talk to some amazing people about their work with the hospice/how the hospice has helped them.

I had butterflies as the car pulled up as there’s so much organisation that goes into it, as you’d expect, but once she arrived everything ran like clockwork.

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Although I didn’t get to speak to her myself (I did ask her assistant) I did get a smile off her so I’ll take that.

Jacob Panons:

1. An Eastbourne resident’s battle with covid

This was a story that I think held a lot of significance at the time because it was in March when there were a lot of misconceptions still floating around about covid. Speaking to Mark, who was a relatively healthy man, about his battle with covid showed just how serious the virus could be and put emphasis on why we should be doing our best to stay safe and protect others.

2. Visiting a vaccine centre

I did this story in my first week at the Herald, so it holds sentimental value for me. This was also a memorable article as it was at a time when the vaccine programme was just getting into the swing of things. It was such an important moment in human history to have this vaccine, so to report on it was an experience that might never be matched.

3. Meeting the MP and government tourism boss

Meeting Caroline Ansell and parliamentary under-secretary of the State for Sport, Heritage and Tourism, Nigel Huddleston, was an extremely memorable experience for a number of reasons. To chat with the UK’s tourism boss about how he hopes to make Eastbourne a year-round attraction was fantastic, but I also did this story on a tight deadline which added to the thrill. It was great to hear how Eastbourne could be moving forward as a tourism destination and to also help the team by completing the article on short notice.

4. Staycation boom

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Like the story above, it is always great to write about Eastbourne’s hospitality industry as it is the town’s bread and butter. Hearing positive stories is great, and to cover this one following a really tough year for hotels was fantastic. Full story

5. The Crown on Eastbourne seafront

Although I have not watched The Crown, going to see the filming on Eastbourne seafront is definitely something that I will remember for a long time. It was fascinating to see what goes on behind-the-scenes while filming a programme and it was great to be there taking pictures for Eastbourne residents to enjoy.