In My ViewOur series of interviews continues with broadcaster, author and good friend to the McCarthy & Stone community Fred Dinenage MBE.
Fred’s TV career spans over 50 years with credits including World of Sport, Gambit and Coast to Coast. He also has a passion for true crime and helped the notorious Kray twins write their autobiography.
What has been your experience of the pandemic?
At first, it was quite dramatic because for the past 36 years I have co-presented a news programme and suddenly, because of my age, I had to self-isolate at home. However, I was determined to still be involved with the programme as we have such a brilliant, loyal following. So, every day I do a piece called ‘Your Daily Dinenage’, where we do good news – anniversaries, fundraising, birthdays, etc.
We’ve done 40 so far. I’ve even featured all three of my rescue dogs, Dave, Isabella and Rudi. Dave has become a cult figure, people love him. It’s been a really good thing for me because I can keep up my involvement in my job, but also keep safe.
How do you keep yourself physically and mentally active?
In the morning I do a great deal of gardening, but the afternoon is taken up with organising the show. I get many emails and letters from viewers and try my best to reply to them all.
What positives can we take from this?
My life has always been so busy that, like a lot of people, I have started to appreciate nature more. It’s great to walk, to listen to the birds and the sea. This has been a good time to reconnect with nature and think about your life a bit more; to self-reflect.
I’ve also noticed people have been kinder to each other too. It’s been lovely to spend time with my wife and it’s been refreshing to have all this free time. It’s certainly made me appreciate more what I perhaps took for granted. Maybe this will make us all more appreciative. I hope that the world is better for this.
Have you managed to maintain a sense of community?
We have had regular family meetings online where everybody gets on their computer or phone and we have all been exchanging greetings. Of course, you miss your children and grandchildren, but gradually this is easing, so we’ve been able to see them – from a safe distance!
What message do you have for the McCarthy & Stone community?
The people in McCarthy & Stone developments are lucky as they have each other, lots of people haven’t had company. I think that the thing to hang onto is that we will come through this, that it will end eventually, you have to be hopeful that everything will be alright.
To all my friends at McCarthy & Stone, staff and homeowners, I look forward to seeing you very soon.