As I sign off to join in the festivities, I want to say, Happy New Year to you all! Wishing all readers all over the world the best of health, good fortune and happiness in 2018. Here’s hoping it’s YOUR best year ever. Thank you for all the support. I’ve had a bit of rollercoaster year here at Blantyre Project!
Let’s recap for a few moments….
Here’s some of the highlights!
- Over 750 unique history articles were added to Blantyre Project in 2017
- 2,150 photos were added in 2017!
- The Archive surpassed 10,000 Blantyre photos making it one of the largest collections of history photos in the country for any one place! Unbelievable!
- All stories and photos were archived on the revamped website at http://www.blantyreproject.com where Internet traffic this year simply went crazy and saw over a MILLION visitors to date. also on Facebook where social media comments are there, always for all to read.
- My Glasgow Road book was finished in December, taking 1 year to write at over 600 pages and 431 photos. At a fifth of a million words, it will by far be the largest book ever written about Blantyre and is out in Springtime 2018.
- Several excellent presentations to various clubs!
- I was absolutely thrilled also to have been given the honour of naming 5 new streets in Blantyre, something unexpected and exciting.
There were some ‘lowlights’ too in 2017.
- It’s been a strange old year for me often working away on a difficult construction contract away from family. It meant plenty of “hotel time” to write about Blantyre, something I tried to put to good use.
- It meant not being able to attend all the community groups Im part of. I missed many Committee and “Friends of the Calder” meetings, something i’ll be rectifying in 2018.
- A little health scare last Winter meant i had to take the foot of the gas too.
- I realised too, I can get things wrong from time to time and need to listen to people more. I tried to do that often in 2017 and enjoying learning from YOU guys by not being afraid to ask you “Quick Questions” when I have no idea of the answers! Accuracy is most important to me, especially given the expanding audience of this page. I will never post assumption.
- Experiencing copyright theft in Summer wasn’t particularly nice, but I’ve an excellent lawyer who took preventative steps in August to ensure it doesn’t happen again, as did my very helpful publisher. I let it slide given the offending book was packed full of copyright breaches, overpriced, unlicensed images and otherwise founded on literally hundreds of inaccurate assumptions. I took great satisfaction as people pointed out all the inaccuracy and quickly moved on from that episode.
- At the end of the year, I was saddened like all of us to see the fire at the Welfare and all the businesses displaced.
Never one to be down… away from Blantyre Project I had a fantastic time at the summer gala and festive event and feel very proud to be part of the growing Community Committee, where this year there has been a feeling of fun, motivation and excitement as significant funding was awarded.
Blantyre Telegraph also went absolutely ballistic! Strangely, if something is happening in Blantyre, you can guarantee people seem to want to let me know!? Bizarre, but it means I have a close ear to the ground and of course satisfies my natural nosey curiosity! The Network of contacts there has grown SO much that it takes up around an hour of my evenings, every night. I don’t mind at all, as long as it continues to raise funds for charity. To date it has now raised £15,550 for 82 Blantyre good causes, something I’m really proud of. Now 7 years old, I would love sometime in future to monetise Blantyre Telegraph into a REAL newspaper to be bought inexpensively in local shops every week, a plan I intend to visit in future years, although this is never going to be practical as long as I have an interesting full time day job. I love my day job and it comes first, the lines never crossed. Blantyre Telegraph, like Blantyre Project is a spare time hobby. I want to look after both….they’re recognised ‘brands’ i’m most protective over.
However, my real highlight of 2017 was organising and hosting the inaugural Blantyre Oscars Night. It was SO exciting and SUCH a success. Everybody had a wonderful time, the feedback was incredible and of course it recognised the excellent kindness and accolades of everything that is GOOD about Blantyre through 15 amazing nominations. I was bursting with pride and can’t wait to show you all what I’ve planned for the 2018 evening including some very high profile surprises. I suspect tickets will sell out fast again, raising more for charity.
So what about 2018?
I’m thrilled to say 2018 will see THREE amazing new Blantyre books of utmost quality being brought to the history shelves. Royalties on book sales in recent months have been brilliant and I hope to raise funds in 2018 to improve the remaining Christmas lights on Glasgow Road. Thats what I’ll be raising money for in 2018 from book sales.
Offline, I’ve booked a couple of little holidays abroad (unusual for me!), to spend time with family. I intend also to look after my health a little more, eat better, exercise more as I’m sure most of us set out to do. I have a large building project coming up which will consume a lot of my spare time in 2018, away from work, which needs my attention this year. As such, I’m returning to a post or two per day to free up some time.
I hope you all continue to enjoy this website, it’s daily stories, photos and events. For now though, its party time, my glass is half full and family beckon me to closedown the computer.
Thank you and Happy New Year!