09/02/13 Chris McCullough Young – media whore

After nearly two years of Walk a Mile, I had finally invaded England. It was a crisp sunny day as I waved at passing traffic on the B road that runs parallel to the mighty M6 and it’s huge volume of assorted motorists.

I had a bit of time on my hands (when don’t I ? It still makes me laugh when Ella phones asking, “Are you busy?”) so I decided to phone the local paper and radio station.

Emily from the News and Star was very enthusiastic – just the thing to put a spring in the step – she would interview me and send out a photographer in due course.

Now for BBC Radio Cumbria. I was a little reticent phoning the BBC given the responses I’d received in Scotland – my story isn’t really news – but hey, I thought I’d give it a punt.

Imagine my pleasant surprise when I heard Sara from the mighty BEEB exclaiming, “Wow – that’s amazing – we’ll try to fit you into a slot today.'”

“I, er…cool!” I declared…I’d had my own radio show back in the day on Radio West Fife – a hospital radio station attached to the local Dunfermline hospitals.

My greatest achievement had been “Let the blood run free” the hospital soap.

That, and the fact that we’d received complaints for talking about the Karma Sutra on the late evening show.

Complaints meant folk were listening!

As I walked into Carlisle a man and his dog drew level – he asked if I was going far.

I told him about the walk and he shared a bit of himself. His name is Jerry and he heads up a clinical team who work in operating theatres in the local hospital.

I somehow managed to stifle my Tourette’s like urge to talk about Jerryatricks and/ or Jerry and the Pacemakers…

He told me how, in the light of the reports about Stafford hospital, staff at all levels and of all professions were feeling the squeeze of stress in their jobs.

I asked if there were systems in place should the stress of the job begin to get on top of folk.

He told me about the human side of the job – about the shock experienced by himself and others when they come across friends and family in A & E.

They are offered counselling, but, as a rule, most staff are reluctant to accept it.

A sign of weakness? Denial? Who knows?

Some folk use their line managers at these times…but what happens if it’s your boss who’s causing you stress?

I got a call from Sara at Radio Cumbria – I was going to be on Caroline Robertson’s show at 3.40.

How exciting! It also gave me time to scaff about the centre of Carlisle to enjoy the sights and sounds…

There again I could go to a local cafe, The Chimes, opposite the cathedral, and have chips and cheese – a heart attack on a plate.

I clattered in knocking a chair over, receiving a Paddington Bear hard stare from the proprietor.

I told her about what I was up to and lo, I was indulged to free hospitality.

Radio Cumbria wasn’t exactly like Radio West Fife – they had all kinds of shiny things and more than 1 microphone that worked.

I really enjoyed myself – the presenter, Caroline Robertson, was right dead friendly and I was put at my ease instantly….

I could see my celebrity life rolling out before me…the one show, Clare Balding’s rambling radio show…book signings…(best write it first) and so on…

My media ego was further massaged the next day when Louise, the photographer from the newspaper caught up with me and I did exactly as I was told – well, there’s a first time for everything.

So that was all good fun – and I’m getting the story across too – what more could I want?

Walk a mile

Chris

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