By Chris Sweeney | Published on 14 June 2019
For this series of interviews as a Line Resident for Southern Rail, I wanted to tell you all inspiring stories of transformation. I wanted to share stories that were diverse, inclusive, that you may not have heard before, but would entertain you. That would make you laugh and make you cry. So off I went on the train up and down the country, and I had a blast.
Travelling through London to meet my first interview, Mark from the London Gay Men’s Chorus was such an inspiring beginning. To hear what singing can do for your confidence and how it brings so many people together and changes so many lives was just incredible.
Next up Asifa Lahore made me realise that no matter how different you feel, you can transform your life to make yourself happy. She has changed her life in so many ways and continues to do so. What an amazing woman.
The Naked Bike Ride in Brighton taught me that I need to relax about so many things, and that so much joy can take place if you just let go. Have I cycled anywhere naked yet? Not yet but I’m thinking about it… Watch out for me on Hackney Road sometime soon!
Tobi from Femmes of Colour taught me everything about intersectional Britain that is exciting right now. Kind, generous and changing people’s lives every day, Tobi and everyone involved in Femmes of Colour, including her business partner Ruth Simmons, are a true inspiration.
Polly from Southern Rail was a shining example of someone making a difference every day in her work, and doing it in a way that is fun and inclusive. We had such a fun chat and her life story is so brilliant. From driving trains in the Australian Outback to speaking to huge auditoriums of people about inclusivity and diversity is such a great transformation.
And my final trip to meet Ed Halliwell of Haywards Heath, and hearing his incredible transformation from Lad’s Mag editor to mindfulness teacher serves as a reminder that life can have many chapters, all very different and the things that make you happy in your twenties are not necessarily the things that make you happy in your thirties and beyond.
What with all this focusing on transformation in other people’s lives, I hadn’t considered how much it would change me. Meeting inspiring people who have faced adversity, not been able to get what they need, and set about changing their lives in order to do so, is very humbling and has made me that much braver, and that much more grateful for people like them in the world.
Thank you all so much for taking the time to listen - it’s been a real privilege and I am so thrilled that the stories we have told have been so wonderfully received.