Tom Albrighton

PRO

12 October 2015

Changes at PCN

If you came to our conference last week, you almost certainly noticed that Ben Locker, the other co-founder of PCN, wasn’t there, as he had been for the 2013 and 2014 events. Several members remarked on his absence, and it wasn’t the same without him.

Ben has suffered from depression for many years. Maybe you’ve read the brave, moving and widely shared piece he wrote at the Guardian about his condition. If you haven’t, you should.

Me (L) and Ben ® at the 2014 Conference

Me and Ben at the 2014 Conference

Like me, Ben is a full-time working copywriter for whom running PCN is a ‘night job’. And the bigger PCN gets, the more attention it needs.

For the last 18 months, we’ve been hoping Ben’s condition would improve so he could play a full part in PCN once more. Unfortunately, despite several changes of direction in his treatment, he’s still having a tough time.

So, by mutual consent, Ben’s decided to step back from the day-to-day running of PCN, leaving me to manage it as Director.

However, I want to emphasise that Ben is still our co-founder, and always will be. He’s hoping to come to our 2016 conference and he may well play an active role in future PCN activities.

Ben’s contribution to PCN over the last five years has been immense. Without his vision, optimism and commitment, not to mention his formidable technical skills, it would never have got off the ground. He was the first to see that a conference was the right next step for us, and he used his hustle to create a fantastic first-year line-up inside a ludicrous timescale. His hard work in the early years continues to benefit us today.

Ben is now exploring new directions outside copywriting and is considering retraining as a lawyer. I’m sure all PCN members will join me in wishing him good luck in whatever he does next.

Thanks, Ben – and all the very best for the future. We’re all thinking of you.

  • tom-and-ben-pcn2014

What do you think?

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PRO

Michael Theodoulou

October 12, 2015 at 1:01pm

Sad to hear Ben is still still having a tough time with depression. His account of his ordeal in the Guardian was one of the best descriptions I’ve ever read of what it’s like to live with depression. I wish him all the very best.

Sharon Edge

October 12, 2015 at 1:46pm

Brave decision by Ben. Health comes first. Wishing you all the very best for the future.

Doug Kessler

October 12, 2015 at 2:19pm

I’m sorry to hear about Ben’s depression. I don’t know Ben but I know PCN and that it’s built on integrity and serving this community really well.

So THANKS Ben for getting us all this far.

And best of luck.

Andy Maslen

October 12, 2015 at 2:47pm

I think it’s a tribute to Ben’s honesty and sheer bloody hard work – alongside yours Tom – that PCN has developed in the way that it has.

It’s a great shame that we will be losing him as a director of PCN although not of course as a friend and respected writer.

As someone who has also struggled with mental health problems, an anxiety disorder in my case, I can relate to Ben’s struggle and wish him the strength, fortitude and good doctors/helpers to get him through this to a better place.

PRO

Ben Locker

October 12, 2015 at 2:50pm

Thank you all. I’m getting good treatment and am on the up. But as I’ve recovered I’ve rethought what I want to do for the future. Tom has been the driving force behind the PCN since I’ve been ill, and it’s only right and fair that he takes the reins for the future. I’m proud to have done my bit and I hope to still be involved in whatever way I can. Looking forward to seeing many of you at Conference next year.

Rentaquill

October 12, 2015 at 2:57pm

The more we think, the better we are; the worse it gets, the greater we become – or that’s my theory, anyway.

Like most half-decent writers worth tuppence of salt, I pepper my life with enormous swings of a manic depressive tendency. Harnessing the highs, hanging on for dear life – sometimes literally – to the sweat-laden reins of random panic during the lows.

You’ll probably have to read that more than once if you haven’t experienced mental health trubbles yourself. If you have, then ‘low four’ should ring the bell.

Ben – we wouldn’t be here without you, or Tom, and the stalwart die-hards among us aren’t going anywhere without you either.

Take brilliant care of yourself. You deserve it. You’re an excellent writer, a great orator – well-suited to law – and we won’t let you disappear from PCN.

PRO

Betti Moser

October 13, 2015 at 10:22pm

Yep. What Merryn said! All of it.

PRO

Lorraine Forrest-Turner

October 21, 2015 at 10:47pm

Sorry I’ve only just got round to reading this. As someone all too familiar with depression, I admire Ben’s honesty, tenacity and talent. Sometimes we just need permission to make life a bit easier on ourselves. Take it.