Friday 22 June 2018

Jonathan Agnew In The Lives & Times Bowel Cancer Fundraising Book

Just over three years ago at the start of the English 2015 cricket season I travelled up to Lords to meet Jonathan Agnew from BBC Test Match Special. This was an absolute highlight for me being a big cricket fan. I wasn't able to go to see the day's play due to work, so I managed to get into the ground after play had finished to meet Aggers under the media centre, although if you buy Lives & Times that wasn't as simple as it might sound. 

In just the few minutes we had together I managed to get the photo for the book, and a photo with the Beating Bowel Cancer charity tie for the Facebook group that raises awareness about bowel cancer. Aggers also very kindly did a short video message for the Knowl Hill Cricket Club side following a disastrous 48 all out the previous week. It's worth a watch and the following week we scored a much more respectable 159 in a drawn match 😊

The book was published in November 2015, and along with all the limited other items on my website it has now raised over £4000 for Beating Bowel Cancer / Bowel Cancer UK. My mother was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012, and although she had successful surgery to remove the tumour from her bowel the cancer spread to her left lung and she had four operations to remove cancerous nodules. Unfortunately her health deteriorated with the cancer finally spreading to her brain, and she sadly passed away in 2016. All my fundraising efforts are now done in her memory. All the proceeds from sales are donated to the charity.

Bowel cancer is the second highest cancer killer in the UK, but if detected early it can be successfully treated in over 90% of cases diagnosed at stage 1. This drops to just 7% of patients surviving for five years or more when diagnosed at stage 4. Much more needs to be done in raising awareness to help reduce the 16,000 lives lost each year. A reduction in the screening age to 50 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland matching that in Scotland could make a significant difference too. Read more about how you can contact your MP about this here.

Since meeting Jonathan, his wife Emma has had breast cancer. Thankfully she is in remission, and my thoughts and very best wishes are with them both. 

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Lives & Times Bowel Cancer Charity Book. What's It All About?

On the back cover of the Lives & Times bowel cancer charity book I use the following description, "Over the course of 18 months I met and photographed people from all walks of life to form the chapters of Lives & Times. Every single person taking part has given up their own time to do it and all funds raised go to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity." And that's it really, but how can I entice anyone reading this buy the book.

Inside the book there are over 100 photographs and over 40,000 words. I met Olympians Sir Steve Redgrave and Katherine Grainger. From the world of entertainment I met Gabby Logan, Lorraine Kelly, Alan Davies, Christopher Biggins and Matthew Wright.

There was always something interested to write having met people. Sometimes it was because they had an interesting story to tell or sometimes it was because something unexpected would happen. In the case of Clare Grogan from Altered Images I managed to get thrown out of the photo pit at the concert I was at! 

With Gail Porter I had a highly entertaining hour or so with her at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. She managed to get me on a loop-the-loop roller coaster! But Gail was typical of so many who responded immediately to my request with a yes, and took a leap of faith in this complete stranger who was on a mission to produce a charity book supporting Beating Bowel Cancer.

Music plays a big part in my life and it was not surprising that the book contains quite a few bands and musicians. For example there are chapters on The Wonder Stuff, Dodgy, The Alarm, Stiff Little Fingers, Billy Franks from The Faith Brothers, Horace Panter from The Specials, The Stranglers, Tim Wheeler from Ash, Dave Fenton from The Vapors, and Status Quo. In fact Quo were the very first band I approached and a few weeks later I was in the photo pit at the Hammersmith Apollo photographing the band. The evening had a strange ending...

Sport features in the book and as well footballing heroes such as Charlie Nicholas, Mick Channon and Phil Parkes, cricket features quite heavily. I spent months chasing BBC commentator Jonathan Agnew, and I finally got to meet him at Lords. I also got to meet David Lloyd, Melinda Farrell, Henry Blofeld, Michael Holding and Steve Harmison.

The book is entertaining, warm and I hope inspiring. I did not shy away from bowel cancer. In fact on a number of occasions the subject came up without me having any prior knowledge. I only found out the day before I met Clare Grogan that her husband has suffered from bowel cancer. I suppose this would help explain why some people were happy and keen to come on board and support the book. Some people have a personal connection with bowel cancer. MP Nadine Dorries lost a friend to bowel cancer and I ended up photographing her at Westminster. Author Freya North, who is an ambassador for the charity, lost a close friend to bowel cancer.

Actor Ben Richards has recovered from bowel cancer as has photographer David Levenson. Matthew Wright and Graham Fellows aka John Shuttleworth have both lost parents to bowel cancer.

The book is also full of normal everyday people. They may not be household names, but they all have a story to tell, and make up a vital part of the book. The late Norma de Bidaph at the time was in remission from bowel cancer, Rachel Chadwick author of 60 Postcards, publicans, the local football club, a translator from Brazil, an artist, and many more.

Last but not least the book features a chapter on my Mum, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012, and sadly passed away on August 29th, 2016 after a long four and a half years brave courageous battle. Bowel cancer is the 4th most common cancer, and the 2nd highest cancer killer in the UK. However if detected early it can be successfully treated in over 90% of cases. Much more needs to be done in raising awareness about this awful disease, and to increase early diagnosis rates.

So what can you expect in the book...
  • Sir Steve Redgrave CBE
  • Katherine Grainger CBE
  • Phil Parkes
  • Mick Channon
  • Jonathan Agnew
  • Henry Blofeld
  • Lorraine Kelly
  • Christopher Biggins
  • Matthew Wright
  • Freya North
  • Ben Richards
  • Carrie Grant
  • Gail Porter
  • Alan Davies
  • Shaun Keaveny
  • Mike Read
  • John Shuttleworth
  • Tom Rosenathal
  • Antonia Mariconda
  • Status Quo
  • The Stranglers
  • The Alarm
  • Clare Grogan
  • Mikes Hunt& Erica Nockalls
  • Horace Panter
  • My Mum!
And so very much more....

So many fascinating experiences all put together in one book. Available in paperback, hardback and digital eBook. There are many ways you can order Lives & Times. Please support this book and every penny I receive is donated to the charity, which has recently merged with Bowel Cancer UK to become the UK's leading bowel cancer charity. Over £3700 has been raised so far. 

Please check out my website where, as well as the book, you can buy art, clothing, mugs and also portrait photo sessions.

How To Buy The Lives & Times Charity Book For Beating Bowel Cancer

The Lives & Times book can be bought in three different formats. Here is the breakdown on how you can order your copy. 

Hardback Edition
  • Bowel Cancer Fundraising Website. This is the website I have set up. The book costs £23.99 of which the £5.00 approx that I receive will be donated to Beating Bowel Cancer. Only available to UK customers.
  • Amazon. The book costs £29.99 of which the approx £3.00 I receive will be donated to Beating Bowel Cancer.
Paperback Edition
  • Bowel Cancer Fundraising Website. My website. The book costs £7.99 of which the £2.50 approx I receive will be donated to Beating Bowel Cancer. Only available to UK customers.
  • Amazon. The book costs £8.99 of which the approx £1.34 I receive will be donated to Beating Bowel Cancer.
  • Big Green Bookshop. The book can be bought from this independent bookstore in North London for £10 with £5.62 going to the charity. Big Green Bookshop, Unit 1, Brampton Park Road, Wood Green, London N22 6BG
  • Book Bean & Ice Cream. The book is on sale from this independent bookstore in Kirkham near Preston for £10 with £5.62 going to the charity. Book Bean & Ice Cream, 61 Poulton Street, Kirkham, Preston PR4 2AJ
  • Grove Bookshop. The book is on sale from Grove Bookshop, one of the North of England's best known independent bookstores in Ilkley for £10. Grove Bookshop, 10 The Grove, Ilkley, LS29 9EG
Ebook Edition
  • Amazon. The digital edition for the kindle is only available on Amazon at the moment. There are free kindle apps that can run on your iPad and laptop. The book costs £2.49 of which the approx £1.00 I receive will be donated to Beating Bowel Cancer.
Worldwide (outside the UK)
  • Amazon. Search "Lives & Times Tim Darvell" and you won't go too far wrong. 
  • Book Depository. Offers free shipping to anywhere in the world so is a brilliant way for buyers living outside the UK to buy the book.
Finally I am quite happy to sell physical copies of the hardback and paperback editions directly bypassing the websites. Please contact me on email me at and we can arrange it on there.

I have been supporting Beating Bowel Cancer since 2012, as it was then that my mother was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Information about the Beating Bowel Cancer charity and the work that is does can be found by clicking here. My Mum fought a long, brave and courageous battle with bowel cancer. She passed peacefully away on August 29th, 2016.

On January 1st, 2018 Beating Bowel Cancer and Bowel Cancer UK merged to become the UK's leading bowel cancer charity, and all funds now raised are donated to the new organisation. 

I would like to thank everyone for the encouragement and support given so far. I am hoping people will decide to buy the hardback and paperback editions through me or my website to maximize the profits, but every purchase makes a difference. Please support me on this venture. It took over 18 months to put this book together, and along with the art, clothing and mugs, it's raised over £3700 for the charity so far.

Sunday 21 January 2018

Next Fundraising Target Is £4000

This month has seen the fundraising go past £3500, so the next milestone I am aiming towards is £4000. The support over the last two and a half years has been incredible, and even though the new book is a year or so away from being completed, I think that there is still plenty of scope for raising funds, most of which is done through sales on my own website The question is how can I go about raising the next £500? Here's how it could be achieved..

200 sales of the paperback edition of Lives & Times or 100 sales of the hardback.

4 copies of the limited edition silk screen print created and donated by Adam Green. I have one of these hanging on my wall, and it's superb.

200 Stop Bowel Cancer t-shirts - the latest edition to the online store, which are already selling well in a variety of colours, and only cost £8.

15 deluxe or 20 standard portrait photography sessions.

So onwards we go, and it might take a while, but with everyone's continued support I am sure we will get there. Bowel cancer is the second highest cancer killer in the UK with 16,000 people losing their lives to it each year. However, if diagnosed at an early stage, it can be successfully treated in over 90% of cases. Raising awareness about bowel cancer is key, as is increasing early detection rates. All proceeds raised from my fundraising are donated to Beating Bowel Cancer / Bowel Cancer UK. I have been fundraising for over 5 years now since my Mum had her first operation in 2012. Sadly she lost her battle with bowel cancer in 2016, but the fundraising continues in her memory.

Saturday 20 January 2018

A Tribute to Norma de Bidaph

As 2017 drew to a close I heard the very sad news that Norma de Bidaph lost her battle with bowel cancer. I'd come into contact with Norma after she bought my first fundraising book, Beating Bowel Cancer. She was always extremely supportive to me during Mum's illness, and I was delighted when she agreed to be part of the Lives & Times charity book. I spent a wonderful day at the Thruxton Circuit in 2014 with Norma, and the Gearlink Kawasaki motorbike team, which she ran with her husband Michael. 

Like many, who battled with cancer, Norma didn't consider herself brave, but just having to face the illness head on. I found her truly inspirational, and the affection she was held in by everyone associated with the sport was shown time and time again during the day. She was absolutely lovely, and looked after me very well in spite of being on the go non-stop all day. We remained in touch, and Norma had always given me an open invitation to the racing. Sadly, in recent times with losing Mum to bowel cancer, and then the losing the dog to lymphoma, I hadn't managed to go back. We'd been in touch just a few months ago, and I was hoping to see Norma during the forthcoming season. My thoughts are with her family and friends.

Sunday 14 January 2018

The Alarm - The Band & The Fans Support Bowel Cancer Fundraising Book

When I started putting together the Lives & Times bowel cancer fundraising book, one of my wishes was to meet and photograph all four original members of The Alarm. However, little did I realise that would be just the beginning, and what followed would have a huge impact on me.

I struck gold early on when I photographed Eddie Macdonald and Nigel Twist in London. Eddie has been a tremendous supporter, and he got Nigel on board, when Nige was in the UK on a rare trip over from the US, where he now lives. Jules Peters was instrumental in sorting out a photograph with Mike Peters. This took place at Abbey Road studios when I was truly honoured to be part of The Scriptures - the world's longest song. Finally just when I was beginning to think it wasn't going to happen, I met and photographed Dave Sharp in Winchester. I got to see him soundcheck before his gig, and that was observing a real master craftsman.

As well as the original band, along the way the current line-up also got snapped at Abbey Road. In fact Steve 'Smiley' Barnard popped up twice in the book, as he also featured in the chapter on From The Jam. The good news is that 'Smiley' amd James from the current line-up will feature in the next book, The Record, which is well under way. This will also feature Jules Peters, now also a regular in the current group. She has been fighting breast cancer, and her story is a huge inspiration for many. Oh, and Gaz Top will also feature, so the new book will have plenty of Alarm in it too.

Alarm fans with the book

I've followed The Alarm since 1983. Until I started my fundraising I had followed the band with a few close friends, and had kept myself pretty much to myself. In fact during my first 33 years I barely met more than a handful of fellow fans. Lives & Times changed all that. The friendship, and amazing support for the book, from fans has been utterly amazing. I have lost count of the amount of books they have bought so far, and some of these have lost people to bowel cancer too. When I went to a bowel cancer patient event in London in 2016, I was joined by fellow fan Tina Atkins to help me sell the book there. We'd never met, but she very kindly agreed to come and help. That has been the start of a great friendship. The friendships have kept on coming thick and fast ever since. I can't believe why it took me so long to come out of my shell. At The Gathering in 2017 I seemed to spend as much time selling books as anything else - it was quite astonishing. I can now go the gigs, and know plenty of people, which makes each gig so much better and fulfilling. I am looking forward to meeting up with many friends in a couple of weeks time at The Gathering 2018.

Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK taking 16,000 lives each year. If detected early it can be successfully treated in over 90% of cases. The key thing is to increase awareness, and improve early detection rates. All the funds that I raise are donated to Beating Bowel Cancer / Bowel Cancer UK. These two charities joined together on January 1st to become the UK's leading bowel cancer charity.

I have already had some terrific support from fans for my 'Stop Bowel Cancer' t-shirts, which has just gone on sale. Just the best set of people 😊

Sunday 7 January 2018

A Picture of Mum with the Lives & Times Bowel Cancer Fundraising Book

A cruel twist of fate meant that Mum had her first brain seizure on the same day that I published the Lives & Times book in November 2015. The bowel cancer which had continuously affected her left lung over four years, spread to her brain, and so began the final stages of her illness over the next nine months until she sadly passed away in August 2016. I was so glad that Mum got to see, and enjoy, the finished book - without doubt the book is one of my proudest achievements. I always asked people to send me a photo of themselves with the book, but Mum was a bit reluctant. One of the side effects from the brain seizures was a slight drop to one side in her face, which understandably meant she didn't really enjoy having photos taken. However, with some creative help from my niece Anna, we took this photo from behind with the two of them reading the chapter in the book about Mum. It is the only photo I have of Mum with the book.

The book has now raised over £3450, and hopefully with the "Stop Bowel Cancer" t-shirts I have just started selling, the fundraising will soon pass £3500. The new fundraising book I am putting together is over halfway completed now, so I am hoping to have that finished within the next 12 months or so. Please continue to support my fundraising, and a massive thank you to everyone who has supported me so far, with an extra special thanks for those extra lovely people who have already ordered a t-shirt. All proceeds raised are donated to Beating Bowel Cancer / Bowel Cancer UK, who have joined together to become the UK's leading bowel cancer charity.

Bowel cancer is the second highest cancer killer in the UK, claiming 16,000 lives each year. However, if caught early, it can be successfully treated in over 90% of cases. So increasing awareness about this awful disease is key, hence the t-shirt idea. It is also vital to improve early detection rates, as that is what will really help help to save lives.