My View, Mel Hewitt: How a 1970s music icon made our day

Ian Dury and the Blockheads.

Ian Dury and the Blockheads.

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Over 35 years ago I was on a coach travelling on the motorway to London with my fellow Doncaster art college students to see an exhibition.

Someone suddenly shouted ‘It’s Ian Dury’ and we all piled to the back window to wave and cheer at the singer songwriter had recently released ‘Reasons to be cheerful, Part 3’.

He waved back from his car and the unexpected joy of this encounter set us up for the day. It still brings a smile to my face when I remember it – as does the song.

Today, it can be really hard to keep your sunny side up as another old song used to say.

There is no doubt about it the world can feel overwhelmingly full of woe at times. Online, on TV, at school or work we now have instant access to breaking news in a way that could only be dreamt of a generation ago.

Whilst this can inspiringly bring comfort and aid to those in horrendous situations, rightly empower those whose stories need to be heard and give us real sense of being part of a global family, we can easily lose sense of the wonderful things that are happening right on our doorstep.

We aren’t always tuned in to see and feel the positive these days. The rise of such things as ‘mindfulness’ to help people find the happy things out there and bring us more peace of mind, shows how much what might have once been thought of as a little ‘alternative’ had now become mainstream.

Yoga classes, meditation, colouring books for adults and self-help books are all part of our lives and making a real difference to millions of people. After all, we all need to find a way to cope with the pressures of 21st century life that has already brought us challenges – as well as opportunities – we may never have imagined.

There are some great tings around us, so to end on a high, here are some of my reasons to be cheerful:

n The wildflower project across our borough has brought a wave of undiluted loveliness to our roadsides – I really do hope Doncaster Council decided to continue with this every year.

n ‘Dancehall’ the homegrown production at our fantastic CAST theatre was amazing, with lots of local talent and originality. I think we are so lucky to have this brilliant building and a dynamic ever-growing programme of great things to see and hear.

n Last but not least the ladies Sprotbrough WI made a fantastic contribution to the efforts of Team Mash, who completed a magnificent charity cycle ride from Bristol to Newcastle. They laid on home made cakes and other refreshments to support the cyclists on their journey – a typically heart-warming response from them to a request for help. Are there three things you could think of today to make you smile?