Our Bedfordshire villages: 'Rural reporting has been my greatest pleasure'

Former Comet reporter Maya Derrick from Meppershall (pictured at sunrise) writes of her experience reporting on Beds villages

Former Comet reporter Maya Derrick from Meppershall (pictured at sunrise) writes of her experience reporting on Beds villages in a Herts-centric newspaper - Credit: Maya Derrick

Why our villages are so important to us: Reporter Maya Derrick discusses life in Meppershall and working for the paper she knew and loved growing up

I write this supplement article - much like a diary entry, you'll come to realise - as a Comet reporter. By the time it's published, printed and delivered, I will have set off for pastures new.

However, as someone who has had the pleasure of living in the rural Beds end of Comet country for 17 years, I feel somewhat protective of this little corridor of villages just over the Herts border.

The Comet has come through my front door each and every week over that 17-year period, and for a brief period, it was even delivered by my younger brother! It has been, and remains, a reliable and trusted free source of news for those in our Herts towns, as well as the villages further afield.

And I'm not just saying that because of my association with the Comet. Even as a child, I had a hand in this fine publication.... Insert pic of me in the December 22, 2005 edition of the Comet, aged 6, (with Egbert the Elf!) here...

Maya Derrick pictured in the Comet on December 22, 2005, aged 6. Maya would join the Comet in April 2021, aged 21

Outgoing Comet reporter Maya Derrick pictured in the paper she eventually would write for on December 22, 2005, aged 6. Maya would go on to join the Comet in April 2021, aged 21 - Credit: Maya Derrick/the Comet

And a slightly less cute/more embarrassing cutting of me aged 12 excavating the school field at Etonbury Academy in March 2012...

A cutting from the Comet on March 22, 2012. Former Comet reporter Maya Derrick is pictured left, aged 12

A cutting from the Comet on March 22, 2012 where BEST pupils excavated the grounds of Etonbury Academy. Former Comet reporter Maya Derrick is pictured left, aged 12 - Credit: Maya Derrick/the Comet

When I started writing for the Comet in April 2021, I vowed to ramp up our coverage of happenings in our Beds communities, so that our paper caters for each and every one of our readers.

Most Read

Ensuring that those that live in the likes of Shefford, Stotfold and Shillington feel that this Herts-centric paper also represents their locality has been a challenge, but curating a paper to be read and enjoyed - rather than saved to light wood burners in the winter months - has been one of my greatest pleasures these past nine months.

Living in a small village (Meppershall, for those familiar with this neck of the woods) I've always been comforted by the tight-knit community that wraps itself around me.

So whether I'm reading - or writing - stories about our care home residents hitting milestone birthdays, youngsters taking on marathon-like charity challenges or communities coming together in aid of grassroots organisations (or even the planning applications that will see our villages growing in size), seeing the little guys hit the headlines always makes a small part of me do a little celebratory dance.

I'm excited to see what the future holds for this paper and our rural readership - even if it is from afar.