One of my favourite parts of running THP is that I get to meet amazing people. I met Sharon Powell during one of our history nights at 'The Astor Theatre'. It was the interval and I was doing the rounds, meeting new people, and getting myself ready to go back on stage. Then suddenly I was descended upon by Sharon.

Now I feel in the interest of not making Sharon look like a complete nutcase, we need to add a bit of back story here, so please excuse me whilst I digress for a few moments.

Sharon is a local lady whose upbringing has been steeped in history, she is extremely passionate about history and has had a lifelong yearning to apply herself in some way in the subject of local history. Her issue was that she didn't have a vessel in which to do so, and as such spent a number of years with an itch she was not entirely able to scratch.

When Sharon learned about THP and the Theatre Show she became extremely excited at the thought that this may be her vessel, her way to begin on her desired pathway, finally, a potential opportunity that she thought may take her in the right direction. So you must bear this in mind when you read the next part. 

As I was saying earlier, when I first experienced Sharon, she approached me in the interval. She had a folder in her hand, and in the space of about 45 seconds, what I think she told me was, most of her life story, her love for history, how long she had been waiting to get involved with history. In actual fact to be perfectly honest, I am not entirely sure, she was speaking so excitedly and so fast. (My sister Nikki talks joined up, I am used to fast talkers but this was something else).

After her initial onslaught we arranged for me to visit her and have a chat at her home on another day and I carried on with the show.

When I went to the first meeting with Sharon I didn't know what to expect, I loved her energy and her passion. I just needed to find out what type of weird I was going to have to deal with, and to my absolute and total surprise, it was not at all like I thought it would be.

Having had time to calm, and gather her thoughts I was now dealing with a very relaxed and coherent person, we went on to talk for hours and have a really wonderful conversation where I learned that she was really much like George and I.

Sharon was a person who wanted to get involved with local history for some time and simply needed a conduit. We set about identifying what sort of activities she would like to do to help her develop her skills and most importantly her confidence.

Her biggest test was one of her first. Delivery of a history talk at our monthly theatre show.

This was plunging in the deep end at its finest...

In my opinion, this talk was one of the most important things for her to do, because it was one of her life goals. After spending time with Sharon I realised that she is a great researcher, writer, she has a fantastic eye and is good at photography. As far as I was concerned, at that time she just lacked confidence. She was able, but flittering between willing and unwilling because of her nerves. 

I believe the textbook sort of management style for someone in this position is a type of hand-holding approach, but I am more of a baptism of fire, sink or swim type of person, so I was working on making her really nervous about the whole thing even as she was practicing her talk on-stage before her first show as people were gathering noisily in the bar.

It might have seemed that I was being a bit cruel, but Sharon and I had built a rapport and during the long conversations I had with her, she told me about defining moments in her life and I believed I recognised a pattern.  When under pressure and put in a tight spot, doing something she is absolutely uncomfortable with, she always plowed through and got the job done.  So I thought a train hard, fight easy sort of approach might work. Don't get me wrong I was encouraging a bit, but mainly told her how many people there would be, and to try not to trip up on the steps when she was going up on stage. Don't worry though George was doing his lovely nice guy sort of approach (you know how he is).

When the lights went out and the spotlight came on, Sharon was invited up to do her talk. She quickly and tentatively took her position and then she succeeded all over everyone in that show. She was brilliant!!!! and she remains a regular part of the show, not because we can not fill that space, not because she is part of a click, but because she is simply brilliant at the job. This is a pattern that I have seen over and over with Sharon, I love to witness it, her consistent triumphs over adversity.

Sharon's fantastic talk about The Queen's Hotel in Deal

Since that night Sharon has more than earned her stripes here at THP. She has helped out with school experiences, she takes part in other projects too such as our investigation into smuggling architecture, helps organise volunteers, and more. Now COVID-19 restrictions seem to be fading I am really looking forward to being able to see Sharon more regularly going forward. George and I have missed the time we have spent with her very much.

Sharon came to us with a set of personal goals and I like to think that THP has and is continuing to help her achieve those goals. It's so lovely to have someone like Sharon on board!!! and THP benefits greatly from her skills and abilities, her friendship and warmth, and from her feminine touch. Whilst she is much younger in years than both of my and George's mothers, she does a damn good job at mothering us.

Sharon will be manning our History Hub on Fridays, If you see her please say hi!! she is an amazing person and is well worth anyone's time. I believe Sharon still has a big part to play in the telling of our local history.

If you would like more information about volunteering for us please click here

Before I go, I want to take a moment to draw your attention to the image below and the banners on the website, these are our amazing sponsors who help keep the wheels turning. Sponsoring us is really cheap, contact us if you want to claim a hexagon or two for yourself or your business.

If you would like to donate to the history project and help us deliver more great community work please click here

Do not finish your journey with us here, there is plenty more to see on this website

Have a great day

Pete Fishlock


Another one of Sharon's great talks