Marie Louise McConville: Let's learn the lessons of 2020 - the year that never was

It may have been a bad year but 2020 has taught us valuable lessons like truly appreciating what we have
It may have been a bad year but 2020 has taught us valuable lessons like truly appreciating what we have It may have been a bad year but 2020 has taught us valuable lessons like truly appreciating what we have

So here we are - almost at the end of 2020.

Of course, many of us will be glad to wave a big goodbye to at least the last 10 months, given the year it has been.

None of us could have imagined last New Year's Eve that we would be welcoming in a year that would be filled with such sadness, anxiety, worry and change.

And while most of us have been lucky enough to survive Covid-19, sadly, too many have lost their lives, leaving their families, friends and communities devastated.

It was a year that brought out both the best and worst in people and while many of us should feel very proud of ourselves for having followed the rules and played our part in helping to limit the spread of the virus, others should hang their heads in shame for not.

I suppose for the bad year it has been, the past 12 months have at least taught us some valuable lessons.

Personally, above all else, I've learned the importance of family and spending as much time with them as we can.

I'm probably not the only one who took for granted the time we have with loved ones, thinking: `I'll do it next week'.

Suddenly, the opportunity to see family was taken from us and I found that really difficult.

I've also realised the importance of human contact.

I've been lucky because I have had my husband and kids to hug and kiss when I've needed it but not being able to hug family and friends and be close to them and laugh and chat has been hard.

I've also learned the importance of kindness towards others and what a difference even the smallest of acts can make.

I really hope all the wonderful acts of thoughtfulness and selflessness we have seen in 2020 continue next year.

As we enter the last days before Christmas and indeed of this year, I hope each and every one of us can take the time to appreciate all that we have.

Many of us have realised that our health really is our wealth and material goods and money are of no use if we are unwell.

I want to take this time to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderfully peaceful, healthy and happy New Year.

I hope Mr Claus is very generous (you all deserve it) and as 2021 beckons, I wish you all a year of love, positivity, good health and good luck.

As I sign off for 2020, I want to ask you all to take the time to take care of yourselves and each other.

Please remember that Covid-19 will not be taking a break this festive season and its impact will not lessen just because it is the holidays.

Sending lots of love to you all.

See you in January.

Marie Louise, Darren, Abbie & James x


I was sad to hear of the passing of acting legend, Barbara Windsor.

I just loved the 83-year-old both as landlady of the Queen Vic and in her hilarious Carry On roles.

That said, I'm not over the moon to learn that she is set to make posthumous appearances in three new Carry On films through the use of a hologram from old footage.

I don't like this idea at all and find it creepy.

Can we not just treasure the performances she gave us instead of trying to conjure up new ones now that she has passed?

No thanks.



With just days to go until Christmas, it's time to snuggle up and get cosy, so how do you fancy winning an "excellent suspense novel"?

The Forger's Daughter by Bradford Morrow has been described as "enthralling to read".

When a scream shatters the summer night outside their country house, reformed literary forger Will and his wife Meghan find their daughter Maisie shaken and bloodied, holding a parcel her attacker demanded she present to her father.

Inside is a literary rarity the likes of which few have ever handled, and a letter laying out impossible demands regarding its future.

After 20 years of living life on the straight and narrow and in a bid to save his family, Will finds himself drawn back to forgery.

I have five copies of The Forger's Daughter to give away.

If you fancy winning a copy, simply email your name, address and telephone number - along with the answer to the question below - to

Closing date for entries is 12 noon on Tuesday, December 29, 2020.

(Q) Who wrote The Forger's Daughter?

Normal Irish News rules apply but please note that there will be a delay in processing our competitions during the period of restrictions.

The winners of the Delilah Cosmetics competition are Stacey Haughian, from Aghagallon, Deirdre Wilkinson, from Crumlin and Joan Skelton, from Lurgan.

The winners of the Asda competition are Catherine Flynn, from Newry and Sean O’Hare, from Downpatrick.