Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Beating Bowel Cancer Fundraising Mugs Update

To read about the Lives & Times fundraising book for Beating Bowel Cancer click here.

I have just made a donation of £53.11 to Beating Bowel Cancer from the September sales of the Lives & Times mugs. I would like to thank everyone who has bought a mug so far, the support has been great. The purpose of the mugs is to help publicise the forthcoming book, raise awareness about bowel cancer and to raise some more funds for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. Every penny I make will be donated to the charity. The cost of the mug is £8 including postage and packaging. The mug is now available on my recently launched fundraising site

If you need any more persuasion to buy one then I employed the services of my lovely niece Anna to model the mugs and the bowel cancer tie :) What better way could there be to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea than in one of these marvellous mugs!

Meeting Eddie MacDonald & Nigel Twist from The Alarm in London Town

To read about the Lives & Times fundraising book for Beating Bowel Cancer click here.

Last October I met up with, Nigel Twist and Eddie Macdonald, two members of my favourite band The Alarm in Soho, and took their photo for the forthcoming Lives & Times fundraising book for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. Here's one photo of them posing with the Beating Bowel Cancer tie. Nigel and Eddie were out for a meal in London before Nigel headed back to the US, and they kindly agreed to meet me and have their photo taken. Since the band split in 1991 Eddie has established himself as a highly respected professional photographer, and Nigel is a Senior Investigator at the San Francisco Public Defenders Office. They were really friendly, interesting and great fun ensuring that I have another cracking chapter to add to the book.

As things stand I now have 3 out of the 4 original band members photographed for the book, leaving just Dave Sharp to come on board, can it be done? Time is running as the book is almost finished...

By the way watch out for Eddie's new musical project Smalltown Glory with a new EP coming soon. Follow them on Twitter @Smalltown_Glory

Monday, 21 September 2015

A Holiday For Mum

My mum was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012, and to read about this fundraising project click here.

Mum is currently enjoying a two week holiday on the Greek Islands with her great friend Anne. This is mum's first trip away since she her operation at the beginning of the year to remove a secondary bowel cancer nodule from her lung. The cancer coming back after mum being 18 months in remission was a big shock, but as ever she took it on board and faced up to her 4th major cancer operation with steely determination. She has once again bounced back amazingly well, and is back to full fitness and as bonkers as ever :)

The forthcoming Lives & Times book has taken me on a remarkable journey, but I never lose sight of the reason why I am doing this. Mum has been very fortunate in that the cancer was diagnosed early, and she has received fantastic treatment from the NHS. There are many others less fortunate who tragically haven't been able to beat this awful illness. For those people out there still literally fighting for their lives, please don't give up. You have family and friends supporting you all the way as well as the bowel cancer community out there at large, of which I am one tiny part. There is much still to do to raise awareness about bowel cancer, which if caught in the early stages can be treated successfully in many cases. I hope that the book will raise some funds for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity, but I also hope that in its own way it can help publicise and raise awareness about bowel cancer.

It's an exciting week as on Wednesday I am travelling up to the ITV Studios to meet and photograph Lorraine Kelly.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Blowers On Board The Lives & Times Book For Beating Bowel Cancer

I am really pleased to announce the late addition of BBC Test Match Special commentating legend Henry Blofeld to the Lives & Times fundraising book. Henry is going on tour with Peter Baxter and is taking in my home town of Maidenhead. In fact the Norden Farm Centre venue is in the road that my mum lives in, which is nice and convenient. The event is on October 1st so I will easily be able to to do this photograph and get the chapter into the book without causing any hold up to publication.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Mathew Priest From The Band Dodgy Sends A Video Message In Support Of The Lives & Times Book

To read all about the Lives & Times fundraising book for Beating Bowel Cancer click here.

It seems incredible that it was almost 18 months ago that I met up with Dodgy before their acoustic show at the South Street Arts Centre in Reading. I had approached their drummer Mathew Priest, who immediately said yes to supporting the book, and I spent time at the band's soundcheck with Mathew, and the other members of the band, Nigel Clark, and Andy Miller. The gig itself was fantastic and I was able to get some great pictures.

Mathew has sent me a video to help promote the book with a special guest appearance by a runner bean! Just brilliant!

Monday, 14 September 2015

Melinda Farrell Supporting The Lives & Times Fundraising Book For Beating Bowel Cancer

To see how you can buy a copy of the Lives & Times book which is raising funds for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity and helping to raise awareness about bowel cancer click here.

I met up with Australian sports journalist and broadcaster Melinda Farrell outside Bank Tube Station in London last summer to photograph her for the book. As you can see she was a great sport posing for a photo with the bowel cancer tie, and recording a video message to help promote the book. This was in fact the first time I have asked anyone to do a video during the photo meet, and I used my little Flip Video which worked perfectly. I wish I had thought of doing this earlier as I am sure most, if not all, of the people I have photographed would have happily recorded a short message of support. The location gave us the magnificent backdrop of Mansion House for the main photo. My Sunday ended up going out for a curry in Reading. Melinda's ended up with dinner at The Ritz! 

The book was published at the end of November and has so far raised over £700 for the charity. Melinda's support for the book was fantastic, and while we endure our British winter Melinda is back in Australia covering their cricketing summer. I am not at all jealous ;)

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

The Mount Snowdon Challenge

Whilst the Lives & Times book will contain chapters on many household names, there are also chapters a little bit closer to home. One such chapter is all about the fundraising hike up Mount Snowdon for Beating Bowel Cancer that myself and 8 friends undertook a year ago this week.

The group consisted of Lewis Porter, Owen Porter, Helen Dines, Howard Meredith, David Howes, Gail Robertson, Calum Wood, Amy Vadler and yours truly... The day was a great success. As far as the fundraising went we raised just over £2700 with the generosity of all our family, friends and work colleagues. The sheer exhilaration of making it to the summit was very special indeed. It was a feeling I have seldom experienced in my life, and a day that will long be remembered.

The weather on the day was very kind to us with clear skies and it was very mild for the time of year. We were blessed with fantastic views from the top of the  mountain, with the first photo looking down towards the Irish Sea. The second photo shows the steam train that still runs to the summit, which I went on as a schoolboy back in 1976.

The plan is still to publish on November 2nd with the two last minute additions to the book, Lorraine Kelly and Melinda Farrell, hopefully being met and photographed in the next couple of weeks fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Jake Burns from Stiff Little Fingers Sends A Video Message For The Beating Bowel Cancer Fundraising Book

Jake Burns from Stiff Little Fingers is the latest participant from the Lives & Times charity book for Beating Bowel Cancer to record a video message to help with the book's promotion prior to publication. I am wondering whether I ask one final favour and that is to see if the band would let me use one of their songs as backing music when I make it into a short promo video...

Originally I travelled up to Oxford back in March to see Stiff Little Fingers play live at the O2 Academy. Having made contact with the band a few weeks earlier they invited me to go and photograph them at their sound-check before the gig. It was fascinating going back stage to meet the band in their dressing room, and the gig itself was absolutely brilliant with the band many of their classic songs along with new tracks from their current album No Going Back. This was a great chapter to write, as not only was it a brilliant evening, but having first seen the band play live in 1987 and buying the At The Edge 7" single in 1979 there is a long history of me following the band.