Monday, 17 February 2014

The Show Must Go On.

So far, it's been a year of being up to my family jewels in rainwater, whilst standing on many a high street in the South of England, watching other peoples possessions floating away never to be seen again. Local communities devastated and families lives reduced to zero by the weather.

Although a major news story here in the UK, the storms haven't stopped the grind of everyday life from catching the news producers eye and anyway, something's got to be done about my reporters bad case of trench foot and crotch rot.

I thought my day would get a little brighter by filming a fundraising party, held by a local community and family in aid of a dying mothers wish for her kids to go to Disneyland when the inevitable came. There would be cake, tea, a petting zoo and bouncy castles... Every TV news cameraman loves a bouncy castle... And cake... And a chance to dry out his socks.

Although a sad tale lay underneath this fundraising party, a bunch of kids with smiley faces would cheer me up no end after the misery of the floods, so we turned up, with shiny lens and fluffy mic, only to be told that the mother had died only 4 or 5 hours before, but you wouldn't have thought so.

The smiles and the laughter of the local kids were genuine, the cake just as sweet and the castles just as bouncy, but there was something lurking just underneath the grown up eyes of the grieving husband that betrayed the coming grief that would surely soon take over from the shock... Something was going to give, just not now, not here.

A lot of work had gone into the fundraising by the family and local community, the organising, the cooking, the booking of entertainment and the venue. Too much to just abandon even with the biggest of reasons to just go home and curl up into a ball.

The show must go on, as they said. So we filmed and we chatted and we told a story of a dying wish that was only a few hours old.

I felt uneasy filming the fun before me. I couldn't believe that any fun was actually being had by anyone. The husband talked of his courageous wife, the kids played and ate cake. The community rallied to the call and money was indeed being raised by the bucketful.

You see sometimes, what you may expect as you turn up with a TV camera, may not be quite what you get, and that people, at the worst time of their lives, can really surprise you. And it was wonderful to witness.

You can donate to Cancer research uk HERE.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.