Enable Asks… Frank Gardner

Journalist Frank Gardner has lived an exceptional life and overcome many adversities, in today’s Enable Asks, Frank discusses adapting to lockdown.

In 2004, BBC journalist Frank Gardner was on assignment in Saudi Arabia with his Irish cameraman colleague, when the pair were involved in a shooting, leaving Frank with multiple bullet wounds – damaging his spine, leaving Frank as a wheelchair user.

Throughout the years, Frank has campaigned for disability awareness and continued working as a journalist. Now, Frank shares how he is continuing to work and maintain a sense of normality during these uncertain times.

Hi Frank, thank you for getting involved with Enable Asks. How are you adapting to life in lockdown?

There are pluses and minuses. I’m certainly not missing the 45-minute daily commute through London traffic.

I absolutely love having our 20-something daughters at home, sharing in the cooking and cleaning and playing family games after supper.

I also love the explosion of nature in this season. But professionally, lockdown has made my job much harder since, in normal times, so many of the stories I cover get on-air after personal contact with editors in the newsroom.

Can you offer any advice to our readers to help maintain positive mental health at this time?

Yes. I would encourage people to spend as much time as you can connecting with nature as it is a wonderful, calming influence.

This can be something as simple as nurturing a pot plant in your kitchen or setting up a little wooden bee hotel in your garden, or putting out a bird feeder near your window.

Finally, what book, podcast, boxset or activity have you discovered over the past few weeks that you would like to share with our readers?

Handbiking. I’m based in a wheelchair due to spinal cord injury.

This device turns that chair into a trike with power assist and allows me to get my daily exercise by covering several km and let’s me access places – like woodland and fields – that I would never normally get to.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to read our next Enable Asks with former Enable cover star, Katie Piper.