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Sunday, 23 February 2014

Days of World War1

In October I began working on a very special project ...a very ambitious BBC project called World War 1 At Home. A journalist from each BBC local radio station was selected to find stories which reflected the huge impact that the war had on places and people in local communities across the country.

I wrote about the beginning of my journey to find some of those stories in Leicestershire and Rutland those stories here ...

Now, only a few months later, tomorrow sees the launch of the first batch of what will be over a thousand stories from across the country both on local radio and online.

Nearly thirty of those will be mine. Stories gleaned from archives, from meeting people with a fascinating story to tell and from passing places and thinking, "I wonder what happened here during the war?"

It's been a very emotional few months. I've been genuinely in awe about how a whole generation coped with four years of war, the devastating loss of so many of their young men, and the way their communities changed.

I've fallen for characters whose actions and words will stay with me forever and I've been amazed at what went on in everyday places I often pass. I also used up packets and packets of tissues as I heard about heroic deeds and tragic tales, finding myself crying at odd times in different places as I've spoken to descendants of those who took part in World War 1. I was also terrified as one of those descendants opened an old tin trunk full of World War 1 memorabilia and handed me two grenades - one English and one German.

It's also been a pleasure to meet local  historians who have helped me ensure that these stories are  kept alive for future generations.

It's such a privilege to bring stories like this on air, and I do hope you listen and like them.

My stories will be going out every day in the coming week in mid morning with Jim Davis at 11.10am and will be repeated at 4.10pm every afternoon with Ben Jackson. On 104.9 FM or you can listen online at

I'd love you to listen....and the next batch of stories will be broadcast in the week beginning 7th April.