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Life after Lockerbie

Section:  Be, Lockerbie and Lochmaben  | Tags: , ,

SMALL Scottish towns with populations of 5000 are not often topics of global interest or importance but my small home town has once again made headlines across the world – and that town is Lockerbie.

I was born in 1994 – six years after Pan Am Flight 103 fell from the sky above Lockerbie, killing 270 people, 11 from Lockerbie.

I have no memories of the first time I found out about the disaster but I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t know about it.

Most of my young life I believed I’d leave the small town the first chance I got.

I’d go away to university, get a job and rarely look back.

Although it was my home town it was nothing special, just an average small town that offered average small town life.

I wanted to be a journalist and work in newspapers or magazines and I thought all of life’s best opportunities lay outside the confinements of Lockerbie.

But at 17, after five years of secondary school, an opportunity arose for a trainee reporter at my local newspaper – the Annandale Herald.

As luck would have it, even though I was very young, the job was mine.

I can honestly say I didn’t really appreciate Lockerbie until I become a reporter and even then it took me a while.

As a child and in my early teens Lockerbie’s charms were entirely lost on me.

People would ask me what there was to do in Lockerbie and I’d say nothing – Lockerbie is a town most famous for its role in the Air Disaster.

Whenever I’d go on family holidays in my younger years and people would ask where we were from, they would go quiet when we said Lockerbie and a sort of pity would form in their eyes.

I’ll never truly know what people expect Lockerbie to be like.

Maybe they expect a giant crater in the middle of the town where the plane fell? Even though the plane didn’t fall in our town centre.

Maybe they imagine the plane took out half the town’s buildings from the schools to the high street shops and we never re-built?

I always think people imagine the town will scream of devastation, that sadness will hang in the air and that Lockerbie will display obvious marks of suffering.

In all honesty Lockerbie just looks like a normal town. Yes we have memorials and many are well sign posted but we’re not just a tragedy town, we’re so much more.

I’ve only ever known life after the disaster and while it serves as an important part of Lockerbie and the world’s history, and a great scholarship program has blossomed out of the tragedy, people would be foolish to think Lockerbie is just a town that played home to terror and misfortune in December 1988.

Through my job there is a good chance I know Lockerbie maybe not more than most – but in a way many never will.

As a local news reporter every week I meet people willing to give up their time for the town for no real gain of their own.

There are hosts of groups from the Christmas Lights, who aim to make Lockerbie sparkle, to the Gala, who strive to uphold Lockerbie’s century-old riding of the marches tradition and organise a good knees up for all.

And some people really stand out … from the publicans whose bar’s imitate a TV’s ‘Cheers’-type atmosphere where everyone really does know your name to the business owners willing to donate to every cause and community stalwarts who just live to see Lockerbie shine.

Yes Lockerbie locals have their grumbles, they make their jibes but ultimately there is a very strong and admirable sense of community spirit in Lockerbie.

Globally Lockerbie makes the news quite frequently for one of the saddest reasons imaginable but locally we have an abundance of good news to share about a vast array of talented, interesting, friendly and hard working people.

What happened on December 21 1988 will always be a part of Lockerbie but for so many of us who truly call Lockerbie home we will not let that act of terror define us.

Forward Lockerbie!

by Lockerbie resident
and DnG24 reporter
Amanda Kennedy


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