Natalie’s Story For Change
With two full days to work on a passion project of my choice, it was nigh on impossible to know where to begin.
Am I an eco-warrior? Should I be raising awareness for loneliness in the elderly community? I’ve always wanted to support a local charity or volunteer my time with a non-profit organisation?
12 months pass and I still haven’t committed to my Stories for Change… it was an amazing problem to have, but it was a problem nonetheless. With so much scope and limitless opportunities, it was a year before my passion project took shape. Unexpectedly born following a conversation with my Dad, I hereby give all credit to him for what happened next. Not all superheroes wear capes…
2018 marked 100 years since the end of the First World War, and my home town of Bodmin (which was then the central Depot of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry) was planning to commemorate the occasion in a big way. With a week-long series of events lined up, my Dad asked if I would help to promote the town’s activities with the aim of attracting as many visitors as possible. Challenge accepted.
Having attended Remembrance Day every year since I was child, I’ve always had huge respect for veterans and feel that it’s incredibly important to remember all those who have lost their lives in war. Not just during World War I and II, but every soul who has paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve liberty and freedom throughout our history.
I feel it’s our duty to educate future generations to ensure that Remembrance stays at the forefront of our national consciousness. It’s about bringing people together to learn about our shared history and forebears’ sacrifices and to honour their memory.
It’s so easy to see it as a phenomenon pictured through the lens of a camera in far-away parts of the world – but war has touched all of our lives in some way. Perhaps you’ve listened to your Grandad’s stories or found medals or memorabilia in the loft. Maybe a member of your family or friend is in the Military or you watch worldwide conflict on the news. There’s people in our world who serve and willingly endure hardship and fear in order to strive for peace.
Beginning the project in October 2018, my Stories for Change was underway. Following two meetings with key members of participating, voluntary organisations including The British Legion, Bodmin Town Council, Bodmin Town Museum, Cornwall’s Regimental Museum, the Rotary Club and St Petroc’s Church, I devised a plan of how we could maximise the success of Bodmin’s ambitious Remembrance programme. Taking the approach of a traditional PR campaign, ‘Bodmin Remembrance 100’ was born. Subsequent deliverables included a pre-event press release to local media channels, accompanying photography (huge thanks to my colleague Clare!), distribution, media call, promotional artwork, social media graphics/ copy and outreach.
Establishing a key point of contact within the group and with input from all parties involved, I was delighted to achieve a very positive response to the campaign. This included a front page inclusion in the Cornish Guardian (17/10/18), coverage on Cornwall Live, the Western Morning News (17/10/18), a front page and feature in the Bodmin Banner, interviews on Pirate FM and BBC Radio Cornwall and two visits and subsequent ‘live’ broadcast by ITV Westcountry from St Petroc’s Church. This resulted in a 5-minute broadcast feature on ITV news, promoting Bodmin’s compelling events to the whole of the South West during the week’s events.
Coordinating various interviews, locations, times and topics, ‘Bodmin Remembrance 100’ achieved significant print and broadcast coverage prior and during the events. Although there’s no ‘exact’ measure on the impact of the campaign, it was fantastic to see Bodmin recognised for something so positive, and for all the hard work of local organisations, businesses, schools and individuals to be acknowledged.
Each individual event was reviewed as a huge success; including the Cornwall Regimental Museum’s 9,687 handmade poppy display, Bodmin’s Remembrance-themed Firework Night, the memorial to 7, long-forgotten Boy Scouts who lost their lives, poppy floodlighting and School poppy displays at St Petroc’s Church to name just a few. There’s no doubt that through the various promotional activities, we achieved significant momentum for ‘Bodmin Remembrance 100’, safeguarding the town’s historic position as the military centre of Cornwall and attracting people from across the region. I view every visitor to the town’s events and any subsequent conversations as a tribute to the fallen and recognition for the freedom men and women fought – and fight – to preserve.
It was a huge privilege to be given the opportunity to work with my home-town on such a unique and poignant occasion. Thank you to Idenna and all the organisations who supported the campaign.
“While it may seem small, the ripple effects of small things is extraordinary.”
The issue now is… how will I decide on my next Stories for Change project? *