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Katy Cowan – Inspired by…

by Folksy Support

The next personal story of creative inspiration in our ‘Inspired by…‘ mini series is from Katy Cowan, founder of Creative Boom, a successful online magazine for the creative industries.  She kindly agreed to share with us a little about the big character in her life that inspired her career path.

Whenever I’m asked who has been the most inspirational person in my life, it’s always a tough choice because family is the first to spring to mind. Of course, I’m blessed with an amazingly, supportive and interesting family as well as wonderful husband and in-laws, so narrowing it down to just one person is always difficult.

There’s my mother and father for always believing in me and encouraging me to make the most of life. There’s my younger brother Alex who is a ray of sunshine and is a dose of daily inspiration and support. Or what about my aunty Veronica, who has Down’s syndrome and loves me no matter what, even when I’m grumpy or down – she’s always there to give the best hugs. Then there’s my grandparents – none of whom are alive and all are hugely missed. But if there’s one person that I could blame my career choices on it’s my Grandpa.

My Grandfather – John Robson – was a very tall and broad character, originally from Durham and had the affectionate nickname ‘Big John’. Although he was incredibly laid-back and a little quiet, make no mistake – he was hugely intelligent.

When I was a little girl, he used to dress up as Santa Claus every Christmas and hand out the presents on Christmas morning, often with his fake white beard all wonky and booming out a very convincing ‘Ho, ho, ho’. There were many times when he would babysit me and push my buggy everywhere. Sometimes he’d take me into a pub and dip my dummy in some beer to keep me quiet if I started squirming. We still laugh about that now.

When I was seven years old, my mother told me to go up to my Grandpa and sweetly ask him if he could give up smoking. He quit there and then and reminded me about that moment, right up until his last days.

During his lifetime, my Grandpa was a journalist and worked for a large regional newspaper in the North East, just like his own father had. It’s true to say, I have journalism in my blood.

He was also a keen photographer – his camera was left to me in his will and I’ve always wanted to learn how to use it and take up the hobby. But just never found the time.

And the thing I really loved about him was that he tried to stay abreast of new technology, always buying the latest PC and then learning how to programme his own software.

How did my grandpa inspire me? He was this big, caring character in my life and he always encouraged me to follow my own dreams. He gave sound advice and was always there for a cuddle. He was forever teaching me things or encouraging me to read certain books or listen to certain classical music. He was especially proud of me when I chose to follow in his footsteps and study Journalism at university.

Seeing him in hospital just before he died, it was utterly heartbreaking for all of us. I remember holding his large, soft hands and squeezing them hard, tears rolling down my cheeks and telling him how much I loved him. It became apparent just how much of an influence this intelligent, gentle giant had had on my life and I only wish he was still around today so I could show him Creative Boom and my own business Boomerang PR. I would sincerely hope that he’d be proud but then, I guess I’d rather just have the chance to tell him how proud I am of him and how much he shaped my life and my career. If I ever have children, I will tell them about my Grandpa and how wonderful he truly was.

You can find Katy on twitter @creative_boom and also on facebook

As this collection of stories grows we’d love to hear your own stories too, especially about the inspiring creatives in your own lives – please leave us a comment and join in the conversation :)

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5 comments

Katy Cowan April 28, 2011 - 8:39 pm

Thanks for including me Folksy. My real Twitter account is actually @creative_boom or follow is link http://www.twitter.com/creative_boom Thanks, Katy

Hilary April 28, 2011 - 9:45 pm

Thanks so much for sharing this great story Katy your Grandpa sounds like a really great chap :)

I’ll fix up that link now – sorry!

Clare Millward May 12, 2011 - 4:32 pm

This made me cry! Big John was my Dad and I am the very proud Mother of Katy, a truly wonderful girl!

Chris Robson May 12, 2011 - 5:11 pm

Well said Katy. Brought tears to my eyes too. Big John was my Dad and Katy is a big blessing to our family.

eunice & mike woods May 18, 2011 - 12:06 pm

we have an idea, a good idea, but have not got a clue how to proceed . we need a good designer if the product is workable, if it works out the skies the limit.the only clue is, how many shower cubicles are their in the world??

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