Staying in with Gillian Jones-Williams

When I was unexpectedly invited by Dawn Newson of Emerge UK to the online launch of Locked Down But Not Out by Gillian Jones-Williams I was intrigued and was delighted to accept. I had a fantastic evening when I discovered more than I had imagined, I simply had to invite Gillian to Linda’s Book Bag to tell me more about the book, because Locked Down But Not Out supports a very worthwhile cause.

Staying In With Gillian Jones-Williams

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Gillian. Thanks so much for agreeing to stay in with me. Tell me which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

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I have bought my latest book Locked Down but Not Out – a Covid 19 Diary.  It was published a month ago and it is to remember of all of the NHS members who worked so hard to save us – it is also in memory of Captain Sir Tom Moore, who I fell in love with during lockdown.  All proceeds from the book are going to raise money for the bereaved families of NHS Workers who died through Covid.

That’s amazing. I think Captain Sir Tom Moore touched us all, but, importantly, he stood for all those who have been affected by Covid 19, none more so than those who’ve lost their lives trying to save the lives of others.

I understand that, as well as supporting charity by buying Locked Down but Not Out either directly from your organisation by emailing or on Amazon, blog readers can also donate directly to the charity The Healthcare Workers Foundation Families Programme here too.

That’s right Linda. And it’s such a worthwhile cause.

I agree. So, what can we expect from an evening in with Locked Down but Not Out?

You can expect to laugh out loud, to experience the joy of miraculous recovery, but also to cry as the book is both heartbreaking and heart-warming. You will be reading my brutally honest day to day diary of everything that happened from the middle of March 2020 when we rapidly returned from our skiing holiday as France locked down to a fast-changing UK to the end of the first lockdown. 

I think that sounds something we can all relate to Gillian. Tell me more.

Whilst I tell the story through my eyes, the everyday issues that we were all encountering such as queuing in shops, fighting for click and collect spots, missing sport and music, watching every event and holiday being cancelled, I am sure you will be nodding throughout as it will no doubt parallel your own journey.  I left nothing out, every detail of my (extremely frequent) breakdowns, as I struggled to save a business that I have loved and nurtured for 25 years decimated by the pandemic, the moments of change and reflection as my crazy life travelling around the world ground to a halt and the deep joy of an amazing event (no spoilers!) that has changed my life, my perspective and my business. There are plenty of learnings from the lockdown, both personally and for my business and it may remind you of your learnings.

Oo. Intriguing! I loved hearing about Locked Down but Not Out at the recent launch and am so pleased to have a copy here waiting to be read. How had it been received?

Here is a recent review “Reading this book was like reading a gripping, fictional thriller. The devastating evidence of destruction with documented death rates at the end of each chapter provided a sense of impending doom, enough so that I had to remind myself that this story isn’t fiction.

Although the book focuses on the loss the virus has caused, it is also one of hope, gratitude & perspective. I can’t wait to treasure this book. It will be a great insight for future generations to discover the trauma caused by COVID-19 throughout 2020 & 2021.”

It sounds to me as if you’ve created a personal, yet universal insight into a very particular time in history.

The final entry is dated 30th November 2020. Total deaths in the UK: 57,000. It makes me nauseous that I released this book on 24th March 2021. Total deaths: 126,000. The pandemic is by no means over. But the personal story of the pandemic is interwoven through my factual account of every decision the government made as I wrote every single night through the government briefings, so you can expect to feel anger and irritation as you remind yourself of some of the promises we were made by ministers and watch the response to the pandemic unfold day by day. You will also discover my love/hate relationship with Piers Morgan as I watched the news on GMB each morning and recorded it – but I will leave you to read the book to see if it was more hate than love!

I have a feeling a few readers might have views here!

My husband said I mentioned Piers more than him in the book, but you will also get to know my long-suffering husband pretty well – in the 10 years we have been together I have travelled so much we have probably only been in the same place for 1 of those years!  Living together 24/7 for a year was something we never planned to experience and like many other people had to make many adjustments.

I think I’ve been lucky in that respect Gillian. I’ve spent 24/7 with my husband for years. We even taught in teh same school at one point.

I think you may also see the book as a historical record, just imagine if you have a 6-year-old child now, reading the book in 10 years. Whilst they might have only been able to remember that very hot spring and summer when mum and dad were at home all the time, they can then fully understand what it was like to live through the pandemic– something I sincerely hope that will never happen again.

I hope you’re right. What else have you bought and why have you brought it?

I couldn’t bring it, but if I could it would have been my hot tub as we spent so many evenings in there. Could you come to me and have a night in there instead? 

I think that sounds like a very welcome idea!

I would also bring my best friend Sarah who features heavily in the book and I missed her terribly all year – that would lead to Prosecco and much bad singing and dancing, yes a lot of dancing. 

As long as we can play some Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music that is fine by me!

Thanks so much for staying in tonight to chat about Locked Down But Not Out Gillian. I think it sounds brilliant and I hope it raises a bucket load of money for such a worthwhile cause.

The irony of this whole ‘Staying In’ article, is that the whole book was about staying in!!  So now I wonder, will anyone want to read it or will they be so busy going out now that they can!

Well let’s give them the details. They don’t need to read it – just buy it and support the charity!

Locked Down But Not Out

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No one could have predicted what would happen in 2020, the year that shocked the world. When coronavirus hit it plunged every country into lockdown and killed millions of people. For the NHS it was a major unprecedented crisis as they worked in horrendous conditions to save as many lives as possible.

Everyone was touched by the pandemic; our freedom was brutally taken away and our income affected – some more than others. Businesses were closed, whole industries were shut down, jobs were lost and mental health was affected. For Gillian Jones-Williams, her training company that she founded twenty-five years ago, was devastated, with all bookings cancelled within a few weeks. And whilst she struggled to turn the business around, the world went through changes that we could never have envisaged. Each day brought new shocks as we watched legendary events being cancelled, airports grinding to a halt, shops and restaurants closing, and politicians making life-changing decisions that had far-reaching effects.

This book documents not just one woman’s fight to save her business, but a daily diary of events that occurred, and every decision that the Government made.

But more importantly, it is to remember the extraordinary NHS workers who died from Covid-19 and it celebrates the amazing people in the NHS who fought so bravely to save us, and the key workers who kept our country running. And, of course, the legendary Captain Sir Tom Moore.

They gave their lives to help our families. Now we must help theirs.

May we always remember.

Every one of us has our own pandemic story, but few can tell theirs with such panache and visceral colour that Gillian Jones-Williams can. Her story shows us all how to sieve the good out of so much bad, how to be locked down, but certainly not out. A wonderful book, and supporting a wonderful cause.

Dr Dominic Pimenta BSc (Hons) MBBS MRCP and best selling author of Duty of Care

All proceeds from the book go to the fund for families of NHS workers who lost their lives during the pandemic.

Buy Locked Down but Not Out by emailing or on Amazon,.

About Gillian Jones-Williams

Gillian Jones is Managing Director and founder of Emerge Development Consultancy. For over 25 years Gillian has worked on organisational strategy development and change initiatives with companies worldwide.  Gillian partners with many organisations to implement culture change and has designed and delivered programmes of varying sizes to national organisations and independent companies.

Gillian is also an author, having co-authored 50 Top Tools for Coaching which was published by Kogan Page in Autumn 2009 and is now on its 5th edition. Gillian is an expert in organisational culture change and her second book ‘How to Create a Coaching Culture Strategy’ is in its 2nd Edition.

In the last 5 years she has been specialising in championing Women’s development, specialising in supporting women to achieve their goals, develop their confidence and reach more Senior Positions.  In 2015 she developed the acclaimed Empowering Women’s programme RISE which is delivered in the UK and the Middle East.

Gillian is a regular speaker at many conferences specialising on the subject of Diversity and Inclusion and Women’s Development. She has a passion for equality and is working with many companies on Conscious Inclusion workshops with a particular focus on Black Lives Matter. 

You can find Gillian on Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook or follow her on Twitter @gjones8 for further information.

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