Sunday, April 01, 2007

Putting your private life in the spotlight

When Steve Faragher set up his Councillors' blog pages on Kensington Vision he promised readers that they would learn not just about our public lives but also our private lives.

I have thought about that a lot since.

As a rule I dont write much about the truly personal stuff - my love-life or my work-life for instance. But sometimes you have to get into the truly personal things in order to make the political or social points that need to be made.

This week is going to be like that and because it is important, I want to use this blog as a vehicle to explain and comment on why I am exposing something very private and how I hope it will be viewed.

People who know me well will know that in 1999 my fiance Michael Price died of Carbon Monoxide poisoning in his home. That is the key driver behind my relentless push for detectors in the Kensington and Fairfield area and indeed, if I had the power to influence a wider world, a push for detectors in every home.

Last week there was a story in the Liverpool Echo about a family in Little Neston on the Wirral who were poisoned by a faulty boiler and who were dragged out to safety by their son and a neighbour who found them unconscious in the sitting room. The family are now calling for people to install detectors in their homes.

I know how they feel, it is only by trying to save other people from the same dreadful circumstances that makes any sense of the tragedy. Thankfully in their case no-one died but it could so easily have been different.

I take every chance I can, in memory of Michael who was a wonderful bloke and who I adored, to promote safety.

So, I have been in touch with the Echo and asked them to publicise Michael's story in the hope that it will encourage people in the Kensington and Fairfield area to take up Kenny Regen's offer of free CO detectors to keep them safe.

I also want to encourage people to have their chimneys swept regularly and their appliances checked. It is not just boilers that produce CO but anything that burns carbon.

The downside is that it exposes my personal loss to people who didn't know before and the worry is that they treat you differently, at least for a little while. I sensed that the journalist I gave the detail to was unsure of how to be with me, knowing now of my loss, and yet he has never had a problem before. I am sure this will be repeated with others, as it was in Huddersfield when I last felt the need to publicise Michael's story after a young boy locally died in similar circumstances.

I want everyone to be alert to the danger and to the symptoms and to protect themselves, but I dont want anyone to suddenly feel they have to treat me with kid gloves or with nervousness because they are now aware of something that in fact happened 8 years ago and which I long ago came to terms with.

So, if you see the article in the Echo and then read this, please dont treat me any differently, nothing has changed except that you now know something you didnt know before. I don't want sympathy, I want you to listen and take action and protect yourselves and your families.

That will be the best response you can give me.


Kevin said...

Thanks for highlighting this issue Louise, i lost a good friend through carbon monoxide a few years ago and im still staggered at the general ignorance surrouding the needs for a detector.

hopefully the echo will be able to promote the need for every hoem to have a detector.

Louise Baldock said...

Hi Kevin

The Echo ran a story on Monday which was okay, but we need a lot more publicity.

Hopefully when the Fairfield scheme sponsored by Kenny Regen and the fire service gets going, very soon, we can get loads more publicity!

We have to make people take this seriously and get a tester and get a chimney sweep and get the boiler checked etc