So, there is too much news. I booked a holiday to try and get away from Dallas, Orlando, Brexit, you name it, but I forgot that I can still see, hear and read things in a slightly different location. It is still rushing in from everywhere, a rising tide of horrors filling my nose, my ears, my vision, my mind… I feel like I am choking and, with new stories breaking every minute, there is nowhere I can put my feet down on solid land.
So I grab on to what I can. The good news stories are still out there, and to which we can all cling as drowning women would to driftwood. So this is my gift to you. Welcome to the good news public service broadcast.
1. Nearly £30,000 has been donated by the public to Maria Burgea whose Romanian food shop in Magdalen Street, Norwich was burned out in an arson attack carried out in the wake of the Brexit result and thought to have been racially motivated. A woman who lives in Norwich, Helen Linehan, set up a JustGiving page and people… well, people just piled in. Keen to help. Keen that people not suffer more than they already had. Keen to undo the work done and the message seemingly conveyed by the attackers. Keen to say, “The world shall not be like this, not in reach of my arm, or credit card.” This is how we turn all sorts of tide, from panic to hate.
2. Six inmates in a Texas court broke out of their holding cell when they saw the guard outside suddenly slump unconscious to the ground. He had keys and a gun on him – pretty much top-of-the-wishlist stuff for any suddenly-liberated Texan jailbird – but they hadn’t broken out for that. They shouted for help instead, and banged on doors, to bring other guards – armed, antsy and very much not on the top of your average jailbird’s wishlist – running. They arrived just in time to administer CPR to their colleague. Without the actions of the inmates the unconscious guard may not have been found for up to 15 minutes so their actions may well have saved his life. He has now recovered and is expected to return to work. “It never crossed my mind not to help, whether he’s got a gun or a badge. If he falls down, I’m gonna help him,” said one of the six. Cockles, warmed.
3. The cell they broke out of has now been reinforced. This is good news too. I am not a believer in pushing your luck.
4. We will shortly have our second female prime minister. Whatever your politics, a generation of girls will grow up thinking this entirely natural, reasonable, right and possible. As they should.
5. Andy Murray and Serena Williams winning Wimbledon. And Williams replying to a question about how it felt to be one of the greatest female athletes of all time with “I prefer the words ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time’.”
6. Norman Borlaug. You probably have never heard his name before. I certainly hadn’t till last year, when I was researching a piece about Nobel Peace Prize winners. He won it in 1970 for, among other things, developing a disease-resistant form of wheat that gave four times the yield of any other. He is so far estimated to have saved a billion people worldwide from starvation.
So we just have to remember good things are happening all the time, without ever making headlines or entering common knowledge. But they’re still out there. So cling on, my friends. Cling on.
Photography: Ellis Parrinder, Rex Features