This is a departure from my usual updates on my business, it is what journalists hate to do most of all, writing about themselves.
I have chosen to write this blog because someone out there is going through exactly what I am; they have an undiagnosed overactive thyroid. I hope by telling you what happened to me, it may also help someone else.
For just over a year I have been battling a condition called hyperthyroidism, unbeknown to me an organ in my neck has gone into overdrive making my life and the lives of others around me a misery. This first blog is in three parts, but as yet it has no conclusion.
Forgive me for the length, but it is a frank, open and honest discussion on the subject and the effect it has had on me. Please, if you have similar symptoms do something about it.
This first picture is by Liz Henson Photography and was taken in May 2015, BH Before Hyper.
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When Haslingden High School set about trying to get an all terrain mountain trike to aid a student's mobility, more than 3,500 pounds was raised in just a few weeks after excellent publicity was achieved.
Sam Ainsworth has Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, an inherited muscle-wasting condition, which affects the motor and sensory nervous system. He also has a recently diagnosed condition affecting his hands. This makes using a normal wheelchair impossible without assistance.
The new trike costs 4,750 pounds and will allow Sam more independence.
Stories on the trike appeal were used by the Lancashire Telegraph, Rossendale Free Press and Local Journal. Sam will get to test drive the trike in school in September. One donor from East Sussex also gave to the appeal.
To donate to help him reach his goal click here.
Ten pupils, one week, 11,000 words and 16 pages; that in a nutshell is the latest edition of Fearns Chat.
Every year since I started working for myself, I have spent a whole week at Fearns Community Sports College, Stacksteads, producing the school newspaper.
The paper is A4 size and packed with information about school life for the whole year. The pupils who participate discover information they never knew about their school. It is a tough week, they have to work hard and on their own initiative, but they produce an amazing product that they, and the school, can be rightly proud of.
After putting up with me for five days, the school paper is finished, stories written, photographs taken, pages laid, proof read, corrected and sent to the printer. No mean feat.
Fearns Chat is now the only flagship publication for the school, because the pupils do such a good job.
A chance offer to rebrand, relaunch and update my book on the murder of Sophie Lancaster has had an incredible response.
The original book was published in 2010 under the title Weirdo Mosher Freak, the new version The Sophie Lancaster Story, has been updated to bring the story right up to 2016 as so much has happened with the foundation set up in Sophie's name while three of those responsible for the attack on Rob are now out on licence.
The book has been published by true crime author RJ Parker from Canada, who reviewed the original book back in 2012. His daughter has a Goth friend who is not treated fairly and RJ gave her my book to read... the rest is history.
Many new reviews have been posted to Amason in the UK, America, Canada and Australia The book has been consistently in the top 10 for true crime and UK history Kindle books. It will also be recorded as an audiobook.
My former employer the Rossendale Free Press documented the story.
Since the publication of Weirdo Mosher Freak, sales have resulted in 860 pounds being donated to The Sophie Lancaster Foundation. I will continue to donate money from sales of the new book to benefit the work of the foundation.
Photograph Liz Henson Photography
Catherine Smyth Media is a one-stop shop for Press and PR with an added specialism - creating school newspapers
I write news stories and take photographs for businesses, organisations and individuals with proven results. I have had contracts with two Rossendale high schools since 2009, gained a third in 2015, worked for local charity REAL for more than three years and since 2012 have worked for Rossendale-based charity Veterans In Communities. I am on contract with JJO kitchen, bedroom and bathroom manufacturerer in Bacup and I also work for a number of businesses as and when they require. I produce newsletters as well as news stories for the written press, online media, TV and radio.
Why not let me run a School News project at your school?
You can choose either a School News in a Week project with the end product of a 16-page full colour newspaper written by the schools own pupils promoting literacy and inclusion.Alternatively you can select the School News in a Day project which produces a 4-page paper and links in with the national curriculum journalistic writing taught in Year 6.
Check out the School News section to see examples of a paper in a day projects. Click here to read testimonials from teachers and pupils.
I also offer an after-school club newspaper service to produce a termly or half-termly paper written by primary school pupils.
I produce brochures and school prospectuses, which can be printed in school saving on costs or externally, if preferred.
To see an example click on the above photograph.
I work as a freelance journalist and photographer.
I have been a journalist since 1988 working on local evening and weekly papers. My last role was as news editor so I have organisational, subbing and page laying experience.
I was a school governor for 10 years, firstly at nursery and then at my sons' primary school. While a governor, I developed a successful school newspaper at my sons' school and now share that experience with other schools through a one-week, one-day or termly or half-termly enrichment programmes.
Check out my School News page for more details and testimonials for feedback.
I have also written a book on the murder of Sophie Lancaster - Weirdo Mosher Freak, which can be bought direct from me. Just follow the link to ebay. To find out more click on my Sophie Lancaster Book page. The book has now been rebranded The Sophie Lancaster Story and is available on Amazon.
In a voluntary capacity, I am a Cub leader and chairman of the local carnival committee.