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 www.bowelcancerfundraising.co.uk website where, as well as the book, you can buy art, clothing, mugs and also portrait photo sessions.

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