Blog: Pass the mic!
By Hearing Link volunteers Mel Woodgate and James Kemp
Mel and James share their adventures about travelling to and taking part in our recent volunteer media training event held in Edinburgh.
“The adventures started at Gatwick and Belfast Airports on Friday 7th December when we were both travelling from different parts of the country to Edinburgh for the PR and Social Media training.
James was travelling with his friends from Hearing Link, but I was flying for the first time alone. My Hearing link friends were not with me, but their words of support and encouragement were. Right there in my head, when I slipped the sunflower lanyard over my head, followed the special assistance guide through the airport and onto the plane. Flying alone was a big personal challenge, even though I had other passengers on the plane with me.
I had the benefit of having Alison Coyle from Hearing Link’s Edinburgh office, waiting for me at arrivals with a big smile after it took two attempts for my plane to touch down in Edinburgh in gale force winds. It took two extra hours for James to arrive – an unlikely tale of a stewardess needing medical assistance, which trumps my gale force winds on arrival!
Alison and I enjoyed the afternoon seeing the sights of Edinburgh, while James was just hanging about in Belfast before making a dramatic entrance when the rest of us were halfway through dinner, when he finally arrived from Northern Ireland.
After an evening of laughter and giggles, the training began in earnest on Saturday morning after a leisurely lie in and breakfast by some, including James. While others squeezed in a quick visit to the windswept beach before the hard work began.
This training weekend was no different from any other Hearing Link weekend, participants were actively encouraged to join in, take part and feed views back to the group invariably with the dreaded microphone.
Those of you who have met James and I will be aware of our differing issues with microphones. The pair of us are at opposite extremes with our presenting styles. The microphone has to be torn away from James when he gets going, but gently coaxed into my hand when its my turn. Not everyone knows that it was not always the case with James. At his first encounter with Hearing Link it took three days or more, so I have been told, for James to form his life long friendship with the mic. I am still not comfortable with the whole ‘feeding back to the group’ process. James has always reassured me that, ‘you’ll be fine, you’ll be just like me one day, you know!’
This year I have attended several Hearing Link events and so many people have given me positive feedback after I have been up at the front with the microphone. While others have smiled and nodded while I have been quaking with nerves. James has always sent all knowing grins and giggles my way.
This course achieved what I perceived as unachievable. Me. Right there at the front, loudly demanding, ‘pass me the mic’, after flying from London to Edinburgh on my own.
Now, James whispers: “Pass me the mic!” every time he sees me. He has to have the last word.
No, not this time. Hearing Link does. It is there in its key slogan – ‘Hearing Link – connecting people, transforming lives.’
Well they have well and truly transformed the pair of us!”