Wednesday, 28 December 2016
Olympic gold medalist Dame Katherine Grainger features in bowel cancer fundraising book
Five-time Olympic medalist Dame Katherine Grainger has been a big supporter of the book. Her historic silver medal at Rio 2016 makes her Britain's most successful ever female Olympian. I sent a copy of Lives & Times to Katherine earlier in the year, and she sent me this great photo of herself in GB attire holding the book. Fortunately she was also very complimentary about it. When I first contacted Katherine about being in the book she was in the process of deciding whether or not to return to rowing and aim for Rio 2016. She was honest enough to say at that time she wouldn't be able to be in the book. As things transpired the publication date ended up being a year later that I originally planned due to the success of getting people to be in the book. So I contacted Katherine once again and with the time factor not being so critical she happily agreed to be in the book.
We arranged to do the photo for the book during the 2015 Henley Royal Regatta, but things didn't quite go to plan. Going into the final day on the Sunday I still hadn't been given any arrangements from Katherine, who understandably was in great demand during the regatta, so I was beginning to think it wasn't meant to be. Then right at the end of the afternoon I spotted Katherine watching the prize giving presentations, and it was one of those moments which you just have to go for, so I went and introduced myself to her. Those who know me, will know that this is the least typical behaviour you would normally expect from me. Katherine couldn't have been nicer and we had a nice chat and were able to take a photo of her by the river. She also posed for a photo with the Beating Bowel Cancer tie.
Just before the book was published in November, Katherine sent me a video message with a message for the book. It was an idea I'd had to get some of the people in the book to record a short video to help with the promotion. Once again Katherine was a great sport.
It was a devastating blow when Mum lost her four and half year battle with bowel bowel cancer at the end of August. She peacefully passed away with me, my brother and sister at her bedside. She was brave, courageous and dignified throughout the long fight. I knew pretty much straight away that I would not be stopping my fundraising and Lives & Times is now a book dedicated to the memory of my wonderful mother. Please support this book as every sale counts both in raising money and raising awareness about bowel cancer. The book, and the recently produced screen prints, have so far raised over £3000 for Beating Bowel Cancer. I am so proud that Mum got to see the finished book.
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. As well as Gabby, others included are, Sir Steve Redgrave, Katherine Grainger, Jonathan Agnew, Nadine Dorries, Lorraine Kelly, Christopher Biggins, Matthew Wright, Freya North, Gail Porter, Alan Davies, Shaun Keaveny, Carrie Grant, Mike Read, Status Quo, The Stranglers, The Alarm, Clare Grogan and many others.