Sometimes it is good to take a moment to sit and reflect. 

As the clock struck 4am on Friday morning at the count for the Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket seat, the sound of chairs and tables being scurried away as quickly as possible was the soundtrack to a hurried dash to file my copy, get it approved and hurry home for a few hours of sleep. 

It also offered the opportunity to sit and think about what had just happened.

The counting hall all done and dusted at 4amThe counting hall all done and dusted at 4am (Image: Ben Robinson)  

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Whatever side of the fence you may sit on, you have to agree this was a pretty historic moment. Labour had gained a traditionally safe Tory seat. 

Arriving at the count for the Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket constituency, you could sense something extraordinary could be on the horizon.

Regardless of the national picture, the polls had the seat virtually neck and neck between Labour's Dr Peter Prinsley and Rishi Sunak's former deputy chief of staff and Conservative candidate, Will Tanner.

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Peter Prinsley won with a majority of 1,452 over the ConservativesPeter Prinsley won with a majority of 1,452 over the Conservatives (Image: Ben Robinson)

This was my first count as an "official" journalist. I shadowed another reporter while at university in 2019, but I was rather excited to do it properly for the first time. 

That excitement could be felt in the counting hall, used as a basketball court and sports studio on a day-to-day basis.

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Most counting agents were in positive spirits. But whichever way you looked, trying to get a feel of the mood among those in support, you still couldn't tell which direction we were heading in. One thing was certain speaking to people - a sense of change was on the way nationally. 

Edging towards the expected declaration time of 4am, it looked too close to call. A little part of me thought a recount was on the cards and I was going to have to crack open my pack of Haribo.

Then, as the candidates were called to hear the result and swiftly returned, the mood changed. It was the first time you could sense that Labour were confident. 

Shortly after, we had a historic result. Dr Peter Prinsley had gained the seat for Labour from the Conservatives, turning the seat red for the very first time. 

And that, in some senses, was that. 

Change doesn't often happen in sleepy Suffolk, let alone extraordinary change. So take a moment to sit and reflect, and remember what a year 2024 has been.