Though this barely counts as ‘meeting someone you respect’, I was utterly chuffed to share the screen with Anne Diamond for a few minutes in an interview yesterday.
Anne was obviously a stalwart of daytime TV while I was growing up, but it was her campaigning around ‘cot-death’ or SIDS, that made me really respect her.
We’d had an incidence of it in the wider family, I was around 8 or 9 at the time. I couldn’t understand for the life of me how a baby could just die. All this excitement for a new baby, and then everyone just clammed up. It was never spoken of.
Only months later, I remember seeing her on TV talking about her own experience of this traumatic occurrence and her campaign to highlight the risks beginning.
Nowadays, cot deaths are down from 2000 a year to 300 and campaigners attribute a great deal of that to Anne Diamond.
Tireless, powerful campaigning to keep so many families from such agonising pain and thus someone I really really respect.
Moreover, to my child-self, I was so relieved that someone was going to do something about it. I remember feeling that comfort so deeply too because it was something no one in the family wanted to talk about or explain. Anne voicing her pain was the total opposite of how our family dealt with it. That was 30 years ago, how times have changed!
Obviously, there was no chance to thank her or say such a thing in an interview, but it was never far from my mind.
Perhaps that’s why I misspoke towards the end of it, I meant to say ‘I know some schools placing children in remedial handwriting classes at 5, while other COUNTRIES haven’t even sent children to school at 5’ - but in the interview, I said ‘schools’ again instead of ‘countries’. Apologies.
Overall, it’s more of my ‘exams are the tail that wags the dog’ of our education system.
Something we really need to fix in order to make schools places of learning, not places of sorting.