Heroes Needed

No sooner had the winner of the X Factor been announced a few months ago than I saw a Twitter message by Steve Brookstein. ‘Who?’ you well may ask.

Steve won the competition six years ago and now, according to his recent message, was singing to twenty people in a coffee shop.

So as Matt Cardle sets off towards gaining his almost certain Christmas number one record spare a thought for all the forgotten winners whose dreams have been turned in to….well perhaps not nightmares, but you know what I mean!

Just think about other winners and runners-up; Andy Abraham, G4, Ray Quinn, Leon Jackson, and Rhydian Roberts. The memories are rushing back in.

In truth I remember very little about any of them.

Will the same fate be handed out to the latest winner Matt or will he gain international stardom along with the likes of Leona Lewis.

Just prior to the winner being announced we celebrated the 49th wedding anniversary of some very dear friends of ours. This quiet meal for a dozen friends could well have gone unnoticed by the other customers of the restaurants and yet for those involved it was a special occasion. Our happy couple are at an age where they too must go unnoticed by most of society. We tend to do this with age as if those with the most experience of life have nothing to offer the rest of us less experienced travellers.

The gentleman of our couple was one of the Ambulance heroes of the Bradford City fire all of those years ago. He doesn’t talk about it too freely but every now and then, when pressed, will tell a little of the trauma of that day and how so many people worked tirelessly to rescue those in greatest need.

Our time at the restaurant celebrating this precious couple seemed somewhat at odds with the celebrity culture honoured by programmes such as the X Factor.

Our ambulance hero has never sought the limelight as for many years he served his beloved Yorkshire, yet on one fateful Saturday in May his daily job became linked with the stuff of headlines.

The rest of who looked on back in 1985, hoping that our loved ones were not caught up in the blaze, will always remember the bravery of those who came to the rescue. Yet we do so without knowing their names for this is not the same remembering that is demanded by the celebrity culture. It is more important than that.

So as Steve Brookstein becomes a casualty of Simon Cowell’s fame machine its hard to have too much sympathy. He knew what he was getting in to and he must have known that it wasn’t really about music; it never is.

And as Matt Cardle’s new song hits the airwaves this Christmas lets take the time to remember some of the heroes in our locality who are all too easily forgotten.

I wonder what incredible stories we might uncover as we do. Perhaps there are other heroes of the Bradford fire who deserve the chance to be honoured by simply taking the time to listen to their stories. They had the X factor back then and, as we have found out with our dear friends, they still have the X factor now; it just isn’t about singing.

Come to think of it neither is the Simon Cowell version.

No comments: