• Shepton Mallet Prison

Lockdown Life - Paige

My name is Paige and I am the Marketing and Sales Assistant for Shrewsbury and Shepton Mallet Prisons. I am mostly in charge of booking all private events at both prisons, from educational tours, private bookings to hen parties - they all come through me.

Prior to lockdown I was normally chasing my tail with email enquiries and bookings for both sites; in the last 2 weeks of March I saw my April bookings go from 34 to zero. My emails stopped and the telephone stopped ringing.

This hit me hard. I am someone who likes keeping busy, physically and mentally. I have a 9-month-old springer spaniel (Duke) and a very active social life; my weekdays were filled with puppy training school and meals with friends with my weekends with long dog walks, country pubs and the odd cocktail.

To have the Government tell me that this is no longer allowed, that work was furloughed, that I was only allowed out once a day for exercise and that seeing my friends was most certainly a no.

Life became hard, all I could do was think about the future.

What was to happen to my summer plans? Will I go on holiday? When will lockdown end? What will happen to my sister’s wedding? What will happen to the prisons? Will there be a job for everyone when we do finally come out of this? Will I have any money? Will Duke get use to me being here all day – will he be ok when I go back to work?

Overthinking and worrying consumed me, I felt like I couldn’t concentrate on anything for more than 10 mins without these thoughts entering my head. My one positive outlet was exercising, I am lucky enough to have an exercise bike in my house and this has been true escapism for me. I put my headphones on and blast music into my ears, to drown out my thoughts, I bike until my legs hurt.

It is the same when I walk Duke, the headphones are on and I enjoy the moments out in the sun, forgetting the realities of the world. Time has slowly answered my questions, relieving some of my worries, my holidays were cancelled, my sister’s wedding is now pushed back till next year and turns out furlough pay isn’t as bad as I first thought.

In these hard times I have learned that cutting my bangs wasn’t that scary and plucking my eyebrows isn’t as hard as it looks, although when lockdown is lifted, I will still be going straight to the beauty parlour for the full works!

Paige Merrick - sales and marketing assistant

Shrewsbury Prison & Shepton Mallet Prison

#shrewsburyprison #sheptonmalletprison #realprison #guidedtours #lifebehindbars #darktourism

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Shepton Mallet Prison

Frithfield Lane, 

Shepton Mallet



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