What was your favourite story published by the Mudgee Guardian this year? Let us know!
2021, what's there to say other than 'it wasn't that bad, I guess?'.
This year, much like the others, I as a journalist had the supreme opportunity to share incredible stories featuring Mid-Western locals and Katherinites, whether positive, negative or inbetween.
We've gone through our second year with COVID, had a Gulgong-native represent the area at the Olympics, tell stories of businesses, and have just gone through another local election, and much, much more.
In my top 10 story countdown for 2021, I've focused on the positive, the heartwarming and the informative, so strap in folks!
Without further ado, here they are:
10 - The proud family of Gulgong-native, Michelle Bromley
If you don't know who Michelle Bromley is and you live in our region, it's time you heard - she's an Olympian from Gulgong.
Before the table tennis superstar jetted off to Tokyo this year for the 2021 Olympic Games, I had the privilege of interviewing her mother, Glenys and two brothers, John and Rob, who all shared their stories featuring Michelle.
If you love stories about homegrown heroes, this one is sure to inspire you.
9 - Let's call it fate: The joy of finding my baby pram in an op-shop
This piece describes one of the most 'wow, what the heck?' moments in my life, it relays the very moment my mother and I found my baby pram in a random op-shop - you can't get any more coincidental than that! (or is it fate? Who knows...).
If you're into hearing people's weird stories, this one's for you.
8 - COVID advice with Dr Alex Ghanem
I can't say there has ever been a time I have not enjoyed writing these stories. Not only are they absolutely crucial, but Dr Alex Ghanem brings something to the table with his passion to inform and assist the community.
7 - 50 business operators sign petition calling for Katherine East retail rethink
I'll admit it, this was definitely one of the more challenging stories I've ever written. It took a lot of learning, researching and perseverance to get through this story but when informing a community, there's no excuses.
This story serves as a reminder that we as journalists are continuously learning and improving to give our readers the best stories we possibly can. Sure, we run into challenges, but do you think that's going to stop us? Think again.
And if you're wondering why it's on my top 10 list, it's because I love a challenge (if you know me, you know).
6 - Bocoble family race the clock to raise thousands of dollars for life saving surgery
This is a story of survival.
A Bocoble family, after visiting family in another state, had their world turned upside down when breadwinner, Charlie Wheaton was diagnosed with a Pineal Apoplexy.
With Mr Wheaton unable to work and his wife, Cara Wheaton the primary carer of their 12-year-old son, Chaz who lives with severe non-verbal autism and an intellectual disability, the family were stretched thin.
Not only is this story about the Wheaton's, but also the kindness others selflessly exert in order to help others.
5 - Mudgee mum's merry idea that will result in a Christmas miracle for dozens
Christmas, it's my favourite time of the year (apart from Spring). Why? Because not only is it, in my opinion, the happiest time of the year, it's also a time where unsung local heroes come out to shine.
This story features a local family who, after realising just how much others had struggled in 2020 due to COVID, decided to spend some of their hard earned money on making Christmas hampers for those less fortunate.
This year was no different with the family and We Care Community Shop once again joining forces to offer others the same blessing.
This story restores your faith in humanity.
4 - Meet a Maker/Follow the Farmer series
In a time when supporting locals couldn't be more crucial, the Mudgee Fine Foods and myself came together to share the stories behind market stallholders.
No story in this series is the same, proving to be the perfect distraction from hum-drum news we all needed.
3 - Real estate series: Who is buying the properties? What is the region's average house/rental price? What's some advice?
As a first home buyer in 2019, I became all too familiar with the ups, the downs, the highs and the lows associated with purchasing real estate.
With a market unlike ever seen before, it was high time those new, experienced or thinking about dabbling in the real estate game got some solid advice from those operating in the area.
And with help from a collection of fabulous local agents, I formulated a real estate series.
I guarantee there is something in each of these stories that will surprise you.
2 - Katherine war hero to be recognised after 64 years in unmarked grave
During my time as the stand-in journalist for the Katherine Times, I found myself in a position of adding to the light being shone on an Australian Indigenous war hero who had laid to rest in an unmarked grave for 64 years.
How can the story of Corporal Frederick Prentice not make my top 10?
1- 'Our little miracle': Local family help give the gift of live
It's emotional, it's personal, and it's guiding.
As a woman, the more you age, the more you realise that falling pregnant is not as easy as you were once led to believe, in fact, infertility affects millions of people for a variety of reasons.
This family weathered more than their fair share of lows but all it took was one high to set them on the path they had yearned to walk for years.
I can safely say this story will forever remain a favourite of mine. Not only is it personal, but it's informative and I, as well as those interviewed, hope it helps those in a similar situation realise they're not alone.
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