Claire Scaramanga is the Marketing Director of Scaramanga, a leading marketing agency and member of Sussex Innovation Croydon.

When we went into lockdown, my primary motivation was fear. As an asthmatic I’m clinically vulnerable, so I hid at home for four months, getting my husband to do all the shopping and only going out for walks.

In late June, my business partner and I decided to look for a new office and Sussex Innovation was our first choice. So, I arranged a meeting with Saffron Sauders, Centre Manager for Croydon. She was the first person I had met in the real world since March, outside my household.

In that meeting Saffron said something to me that had a major impact on my approach to Covid-19. She said “fear won’t stop you from dying, but it will stop you from living.”

This was transformative for me and I started living, trying to put fear aside and replace it with sensible precautions. We moved into Sussex Innovation Croydon in late August, which felt safe, and it was brilliant to have the team back together.

Lockdown itself was a very busy time for us as an agency. All the digital projects the clients have been thinking about for ages suddenly came to fruition. We’re still really busy at the end of November! We also launched our animated video service during lockdown. I am very aware that we have been more fortunate than many other businesses.

During the second lockdown, we are back at home again. I’ve tried very hard to put my fear to one side, even though my son is mixing with 150 fellow pupils plus teachers every day.

The hardest thing I have found during lockdown has been not being able to see my parents, who were both diagnosed with cancer last autumn and were told in March to shield.

My first visit to them after lockdown in the summer was amazing – being out driving in the sunshine with the window open and the wind in my hair (significantly longer now than it has been for years) was a great start to the visit, and seeing them for the first time in months was so special. We managed to get together a few times before it got too cold to meet outside. The weekly family Zoom has helped, but it’s not the same.

The vaccines are brilliant news and let’s hope that 2021 is a very different and far more positive year for all.