This month is known for dampening spirits. The dark days, gloomy weather and at the moment the demoralising and aggravating news stories.

So I was pleased to hear an inspiring and uplifting life story on Desert Island Discs the other day.

Simon Reeves got into trouble in his school days. He played truant, carried knives, mixed with the wrong crowds, left with no qualifications and was on the verge of suicide, yet the constant support of his family, a meeting with a kindly woman in a job centre and working hard at a menial job led to him turning his life around and having the most extraordinary opportunities.

It's a story of hope and redemption and his book recounts how he is now using his privileged role to inform, educate and entertain tv viewers about situations and populations of which we might be unfamiliar. It's encouraging, stimulating and energising. Just what I need at the moment!

Thank you for reading.