Tim Minns – columnist of the year

The award-winning columnist who knows things better than anyone

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You may have read recently about Corby Council denying responsibility for birth defects linked to the removal of waste from the former steelworks twenty years ago. This behaviour is typical of all councils across the country, who are faceless and unaccountable in all cases of negligence for which they are wholly responsible. I know better than anyone about this particular cover-up as I actually worked at the Corby Council offices in the late 1980s. We were all well aware of the dangers of this waste removal process and it was only a matter of time until these dangers began to reveal themselves in some alarming ways. There was a lot of public anger at the time due to the plant having been closed and many people being left out of work, and this anger increased as the council appeared to distance itself from the waste removal process after some babies in the area were born with birth defects.

I remember being told to destroy certain documents in the office shredder and not to mention anything to anyone about it. I felt uncomfortable doing this and I eventually resigned my post in disgust at these dodgy practices. I knew full well by this point, better than anyone in my office, that I was becoming embroiled in a full-scale cover-up. It was shortly after this time that I moved to London in order to pursue a career in journalism – a decision at least in part attributable to Corby Council. I’m just glad at least one positive came from this unsavoury point in time and that I finally bit the bullet and took up a career in the media. Who knows what I’d be doing now had I not made a stand and resigned…

I just hope the truth that I already know is revealed and that Corby Council is brought to account for its’ horrendous negligence.

I only wish I’d kept those documents.

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Everyone is now fully aware of the problems experienced by both Peter Andre and Katie Price in the fallout of their very public marriage break-up. It is always highly distressing for both parties during a split – especially when there are children involved. That distress is magnified when you’re in the public eye, which I myself know better than anyone, as my first marriage broke up ten years ago when I worked in regional news. Everyone in my town knew what was happening and for the most part they were always highly supportive, though it was massively uncomfortable having my dirty laundry washed in public. My ex-wife and I managed to work things out and are good friends now, but it wasn’t always plain sailing. A lot of water has gone under the bridge but we’ve come out of it amicably with two wonderful children. I know Peter Andre reads this column and I hope he takes heart from my experience. Don’t give up hope, Pete, it does get better – just hold on to the good things in life and focus on the future and things you can change.

Though I’ve not met Peter myself I am actually good friends with Katie Price, after being introduced by her PR manager Claire, who I’ve known for over fifteen years. I know better than anyone about her ordeal and I’ve been privileged to get to know the real Katie and under the tough public facade is a very honest, loving wife and mother who currently feels extremely vulnerable. After their break-up became public her house was surrounded by paparazzi and journalists camping outside. She needed to get away from the media circus in order to come to terms with things so I offered to put her up at my place until things quietened down. Claire drove her over during the evening and slept on the couch, whilst Katie took the spare room. Most of the doors inside the house were open as it was hot at the time and I could hear her sobbing from my bedroom as she tried to get some rest. The crying seemed to subside and I assumed she had managed to get some sleep. After a while I started to doze for a few minutes and I became aware of some soft footsteps outside my room. I just thought she was going to the kitchen to get herself a drink, but the taps on the floor came right up to the side of my bed. I felt the covers lift as Katie climbed in and I asked her if she as OK. She just said “Hold me”, so I held her in my arms as we both fell gently asleep.

I know what some people reading this may be thinking, but I didn’t for one moment consider trying to make a move. It would have been a callous thing to do given the state she was in at the time and I value our friendship too much to ever let such a thought pass through my mind. She stayed for over a month and we often shared a bed, but it was always in a platonic and mutually respectful manner. I would never compromise our friendship as it means so much to me.

I just hope that both Katie and Peter can work through this and find peace. They both have so much to live for. I just hope that the press will back off and give them space to do so.

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