Meet the Stunner's new columnist Barry Pearson, who explains why he is proud to be an Ashbourne citizen.
STANDING on the small island where Buxton Hill traffic turns on to St John Street, I thought that the time had come to award myself citizenship.
Having been frequently reminded that "you're not from round here" by my pals and those guardians of Ashbourne's heritage, Frank Gould and Mick Tunnicliffe, I reckon 37 years qualifies me. So, lads, I am no longer an outsider but a proud native of Ashbourne.
Why this translation?
It was 1.25pm on Wednesday two weeks ago and the Mercian Regiment were formed up for inspection outside the Town Hall.
As they marched from the Market Place they were greeted with cheers and applause, and then, during the inspection, we watched in respectful silence.
As they marched off, accompanied by the band, the cheering and applause renewed and could be heard right along Church Street, added to by the children of St Oswald's waving their Union flags proudly.
There's that word 'proud' again – it sums up what I felt in bundles: proud of our fighting men and what they do for us; proud of us all who turned out to show our respect and thanks; above all, proud of the way in which our town responded to the honour given to us by the regiment; and particularly proud of the small, dedicated group who put up the bunting and flags.
As I walked home, still warmed, I suppose, by the special events, I got to thinking more about pride and the huge range of emotions that it can release.
I thought about my special days of huge pride.
2004 at my son's wedding on the Isle of Capri, 2011 and 2014 at the baptism of my grandchildren, pride in the success of my daughters in their chosen profession and business, and also the massive pride I felt whenever, in later years, I spent time with my father – undoubtedly my best friend.
If any one of us stops to think, we have so much to be proud of – being British or of living here, of our scenically stunning county, of the job that we do either working for ourselves or for someone else. We should never forget that how or wherever we work our contribution is important and, as such, we should be proud of it.
Think of the schools our families attend – of the huge turnaround of QEGS, a team effort of the head teacher, staff, pupils and parents. They can be and, I am sure are, proud of what they have achieved.
My focus upon pride, having been triggered by Wednesday's visit, makes me wonder if it is an under-used emotion – let's use it more.
We say to our children 'I love you', 'well done' etc.
If we haven't done so lately, let us add 'I am proud of you'.