Monday, 14 January 2019

Happy 150th birthday to The People's Friend

150th souvenir issue, 12 January 2019
It's the 150th birthday of the longest-running woman's weekly magazine in the world.

Take a bow, The People's Friend.

I have the joy of writing the Maddie's World column each week from deep in rural Dorset. It's lovely to be able to share the goings on in my very special part of the world with 400,000 'Friend' readers all over the globe. 

When the 'Friend' was looking for a new columnist  four years ago and found me through this blog, I had to re-read the editor’s out-of-the-blue email to me at least three times. 

'For some time now, we've been mulling over the idea of introducing a weekly columnist, but we haven't been able to settle on the right person,' she said. 

'However, having looked at your blog, I think you might just be the writer we've been looking for! I like your ability to write with humour about the minutiae of daily life, but with a touch of emotional depth, too.'

If I had been able to do cartwheels, I would have also have done back flips all across the floor.

'I can hardly contain my excitement!' I told her. 'Of course, I can do a weekly column for you.'

When celebrity codswallop threatens to engulf our daily lives and parliamentary procedures fug up our brains to the point that we inwardly (or outwardly in my case) scream 'enough is enough!, the 'Friend' is a beacon of kindness in an often grim world.

So it's appropriate that the magazine is celebrating its 150th birthday with gusto.

The first issue, 13 January 1869

As I write this blog post, the 'Friend' editor, Angela Gilchrist is being interviewed on Radio Four's Woman's Hour. And this piece on the BBC's website gives a fascinating insight into the history of the grand old lady that is The People's Friend.

I love writing for The People’s Friend. I’ve been a writer all my life in some shape or form, having trained as a newspaper journalist after doing my A levels in 1979. 

To be able to write about the Dorset and the people I love for such a special magazine is a real privilege, and getting feedback from readers is just wonderful. When I started writing my columns, it was like being shown around one of those cosy, warm houses in lush countryside that you see on television programmes. It felt like I’d found my writing home. 

Many happy returns, The People’s Friend. Long may your warm words of wisdom continue.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

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