People encountered influence our lives

Sunrise over Great Yarmouth historic South Quay.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Sunrise over Great Yarmouth historic South Quay.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Almost every moment of our lives we are influenced by the world around us and especially by people we encounter. Sociologists estimate even the most retiring introvert influences around 10,000 people during their lifetime.

As a journalist, I influence people who read my words. As a local football referee, I spend a high pressured 90 minutes most Saturdays trying to influence 22 players to approach the game in a fair and positive manner.

As a parent I try to influence my, now grown-up, children by setting them an example they would want to follow.

I am influenced by family, friends, work colleagues and acquaintances.

I think of four people who have had a positive influence on my life and all died during 2016. Sally was a district nurse, wife and mother. She helped run a community radio station I worked on for a few weeks over several summers. Although she did not have an official position, Sally was the backbone of the station and key to its success.

Jo, who died at 49, leaving behind two young children, was a former work colleague and senior PA. She also was a key hidden cog in the whole operation. Whatever the circumstances, Jo always had a smile on her face.

Tim was a former deputy headteacher, and pioneering community activist, leading projects based around young people and football, setting a positive example to hundreds.

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Chris was a beloved uncle, a pig farmer, community leader and devoted father and grandfather. Sally, Jo, Tim, and Chris all exerted a positive influence on me through the way they lived and, ultimately, through the way in which they all faced up to terminal illnesses.

Most had a strong Christian faith. As we all pass through both the joys and tribulations of life, I pray that God will give each one of us the strength and the faith to face them in a positive and influential manner.