From Buckingham Palace to the Arctic Circle and from the inside of a warship to the deck of a tall ship, I have been very lucky to visit some incredible places during my career and to be given access to areas few others get to see.
I have experienced the thrill of going down a slipway on board a lifeboat. I have been to see the graves of the fallen from the First World War, something I found deeply moving.
I had a ringside seat when the Olympic flame arrived in the UK at RNAS Culdrose and I’ve climbed scaffolding around a tower to inspect repairs to a historic clock in Exeter.
The list goes on.
Now I can add another special place I have been lucky enough to visit in the line of work: the Bude Surf Lifesaving Club.
I was there recently for a live broadcast to mark the seventieth anniversary of the club.
They have a great base next to the beach, but it wasn’t the clubhouse that made the visit so special; it was the people.
I was made so welcome and they were all genuinely delighted that we had come to report on their big anniversary.
But I am also grateful to them for reminding me there are so many dedicated people who give up their free time to make a difference to their local communities.
During the programme I met several of the volunteers who help train the members in surf life saving skills. I heard how they give up their evenings and weekends to travel to competitions.
Not only do they do it willingly, they do it because they enjoy it.
That was evident because some of them have been doing it for decades. I even met one member who’d been involved since the start seventy years ago!
It was a joy to spend a few hours with them and they restored my faith in human nature, something that is often severely tested in my line of work.
Alongside the highs and the incredible places I have visited, there have been the lows and seeing the worst of human nature.
As a journalist I have had to report on some horrific crimes. It never ceased to amaze me just how cruel, violent and wicked some people can be.
In the newsroom we all had different coping mechanisms for dealing with the worst cases.
Usually the pressure of a deadline, or the desire to get the facts right and to remain professional got us through.
But afterwards some of the stories affected me, although I would try not to dwell on them for too long.
You’d think I’d be hardened to it by now. Having presented so many stories showing the worst of humanity I should be immune to the effects.
But only last week I switched off the radio during coverage of the nurse found guilty of murdering several babies. I found the details too harrowing.
We are bombarded with horrors, catastrophes, grief and suffering. It can sometimes be overwhelming.
I was reminded of the effects of this recently when a listener to a radio programme I was presenting sent me a message.
He had just listened to me talking about the response a community had received following a previous broadcast appealing for help to provide more defibrillators.
After hearing the appeal a family had offered to fund two of the devices in memory of a loved one.
The man who messaged me pointed out he was a burly bloke in his fifties who loved rugby and was not prone to displays of emotion.
But on hearing the response to the appeal he found himself in tears.
He went on to explain that this little bit of good news seemed so rare these days that it had a profound effect on him.
I think this is why my recent visit to the Bude Surf Lifesaving Club was so enjoyable.
They displayed the best of human nature: dedication, friendship, sacrifice, fun and laughter. Not to mention the skill to potentially save a life!
They’re also not the only ones this summer to remind me that there are people who go out of their way to make life better for others.
A few weeks’ ago I was broadcasting from the Stithians Show. As I went around the showground interviewing people I bumped into someone I’d not seen for nearly forty years.
It took me a moment to place him, but he introduced himself as my commanding officer when I was in the sea cadets.
It was great to see him after all these years. I had assumed he had long since given up his involvement in the sea cadets.
But, much to my surprise he has only just retired. He had dedicated more than forty years’ of his life to helping young people, sacrificing much of his own free time to do it.
The relentless tide of grim news can often wash away any trace of uplifting and positive stories.
But remember there are good people, doing good things, all around us all the time.
People like the members of Bude Surf Lifesaving Club.
Happy anniversary and thank you!
Bye for now.