With all that’s going on in the world, this may seem a strange heading. What’s to celebrate? I have a few things and it’s worth sharing those celebration points, perhaps all the more when we’re assailed by extreme weather, pandemics, incompetent government and queues for the basics. So, here they are.

First of all, it’s been 25 years since charity New Ways funded the first project and the group is still going strong. I’ve been involved in many ways – cycling across Kenya, not to mention Normandy and Hampshire, attending a range of events, putting on shows, and editing the newsletter. All this reinforces the degree to which I feel invested in the charity and it’s been particularly cheering to reflect on the various projects supported, the access to water that’s been enabled, the nursery schools, the nutrition, the improvements in lives and life chances, and the community of friendship across the oceans.

Second, we’re into planning mode for Damn Cheek’s 2022 projects, working with some great people in the North East and in Surrey, with others in the pipeline. Yesterday we had a meeting with a few of our friends in Gateshead, looking to build on the success of Passion for the Planet.

Next year’s event will be built around the Lindisfarne Gospels and the ideas spinning off from this are exciting and stimulating. We have an excellent creative team and it’s a real positive to work again with some of the people we got to know over the last year, building on the friendships which grew over that time. Add to that the addition of 2 new directors to Damn Cheek – both friends and known quantities with whom it will be a joy to work.

Finally, it’s Arts Alive time in Mole Valley and there’s a wealth of creative activity taking place. I’m directly involved in 3 events. I’m spending tomorrow at a Messiah workshop with Brockham Choral, Monday 11 October sees Mole Valley Poets run Choices, the latest in a series of on line readings which have proved very popular, and Wednesday 13 October is the latest chance to see Darren Cheek in Diary of a Madman. We developed this as part of Damn Cheek’s Zoom offering last year and it went down a storm on the Buxton Fringe and at Saltaire Festival so it’s good to bring it to the Mole Valley. All events to get you thinking, lift the spirits and to remind us all that there is plenty of creativity to celebrate.

Information and tickets for these events:

Image: courtesy of Billie Grace Ward and Flickr.

This blog post originally appeared on Tony’s website.