Friday, 29 April 2016

Horace Panter Donates Pop Art Print To Raise Funds For Beating Bowel Cancer

I was delighted to receive a screen print of The Kiss from Horace Panter's Pop Art collection to sell to raise funds for Beating Bowel Cancer. I had contacted Horace's wife Clare a few weeks ago to discuss the possibility of some kind of fundraising item. I never thought that they would be so generous to send me one of these limited edition prints. Suffice to say that the whole amount from the selling price will be donated to Beating Bowel Cancer.

The 8 colour silk-screen print comes on Colourset White 250gsm paper and measures 36cm x 40cm (14"x16") It is signed and numbered by Horace from a limited edition of 100. The print is for sale on my website.

I photographed Horace back in 2014 for the Lives & Times fundraising book, which has so far raised over £1300 for Beating Bowel Cancer. Horace and Clare have been incredibly supportive of the book and on each occasion I have asked for help they have come through. This latest generous donation of a piece of art is absolutely fantastic and I am truly ever so thankful.

Having met Horace and seeing his work close up I was so impressed that I ordered my own special print from his Cassette Editions. In the above example Horace recreated a blank tape I had from the 1980s and this takes pride of place in my living room.

Born in Croydon in 1953, Horace Panter graduated with a degree in Fine Art from Coventry’s Lanchester Polytechnic in 1975. It was there that he met Jerry Dammers and together they formed The Specials, a band that went on to become one of the most defining British bands of the 1980s. He travelled the world (and its art galleries) as a musician and, from 1998-2008, was the ‘Head of Art’ in a secondary school. It was in 2008, when The Specials reformed, that he found he had the time to explore his own art practice.

Panter’s first solo exhibition was in 2009 at London’s Strand Gallery and he has since exhibited throughout the UK, including at the AAF London, The London Art Fair, and The London Print Fair at The Royal Academy. His work has also been exhibited at AAF Singapore and Best of British Singapore.  In 2014 he has had solo exhibitions at Reuben Colley Fine Arts (Birmingham), Mandarin Gallery (Singapore - Fred Perry collaboration) and Icon Gallery (Singapore), According to McGee (York), Artists Gallery (Aberdeen), A Month of Sundays (Sheffield), and The White Room (Leamington Spa).

His work has been collected by Cerys Matthews, Nile Rogers, Richard Hawley, Graham Coxon, Tim Armstrong, rock writers Charles Shaar Murray and Garth Cartwright and Hollywood directors David Finkel and Donick Cary.

Whilst not travelling the world as bass player with The Specials, Horace Panter lives and works in the Midlands, UK.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

April is bowel cancer awareness month. Before my mother was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012 I knew absolutely nothing about it, and in fact I would have to admit to have never having heard of it. Cancer to me meant lung cancer. That all seems like a lifetime ago now as the journey with Mum's cancer battle continues into its 5th year. I must add that I am no expert on bowel cancer beyond knowing the basic facts, but that shouldn't stop anyone like me helping to raise awareness.

The original idea when I published my first charity book, Beating Bowel Cancer, in 2012 was to raise as much funds as I could for Beating Bowel Cancer. It was only really once the book was published did I begin to realise the importance of raising awareness too. I could so easily have been one of those many people who gets bowel cancer going undetected until it is too late. I literally would not have had a clue that I might have cancer or indeed what I should do... The fact is that bowel cancer, the UK's second highest cancer killer, is also one of the most treatable if caught early.

The above picture shows the main symptoms associated with bowel cancer, and how important it is to see your GP if the symptoms persist. There are still too many instances of late diagnosis, and sadly misdiagnosis. Work still needs to be on all fronts to reduce the amount of people lost to this awful disease.

Mum is still right in the middle of her battle with secondary cancer from the original bowel cancer. She was successfully operated upon in 2012 to remove a section of her bowel. Unfortunately a cancerous nodule had appeared on her left lung and this secondary cancer has been a constant that she has been battling for the last four years. She has had 4 lung operations to remove nodules, the most recent being in March when the lower lob of left lung was removed. Last November she had a seizure, and two small tumours were discovered on her brain. She had "Cyberknife" treatment in January. In the last few weeks her brain has began to swell again, which has affected her speech and she lost the feeling in her fingers which caused a hospital visit last week. She is now waiting for an appointment to have an MRI scan on her brain to see exactly what is going on. Throughout the 4 years she has remained incredibly positive and even at 79 the first thing she always aims to do following treatment is to get back on her horse as soon as possible.

So I continue to sell books to raise funds for Beating Bowel Cancer. The Lives & Times book has now raised over £1300 and is doing its part to help raise awareness. The more people that buy a copy and talk about bowel cancer might just increase the chances of preventing perhaps just one person from getting a late diagnosis, and that has to be worth all the effort.

To buy a copy of the Lives & Times book click here. All proceeds raised are donated to Beating Bowel Cancer.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Lives & Times at Beating Bowel Cancer Patient Day 2016

I was delighted to be a part of Beating Bowel Cancer Patient Day held at The Royal College of Surgeons in London. This annual event brings together bowel cancer patients and their families for a day of support, education and inspiration. Jumping ahead to the end of the day I got to meet, Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE, the patron of the charity. Floella sadly lost her mother to bowel cancer. For many of us she will always be remembered from her time as a presenter on Play School. How on earth does Floella manage to look exactly the same??

I was there to sell copies of the Lives & Times book to raise as much money for the charity as possible. This was a complete first for me and I finally had to emerge from behind my social media and internet identity to meet people in the real world.

Centre photo is, Mark Flannagan, the CEO of Beating Bowel Cancer. It was great to finally meet him as well as so many other members of the charity who I have been in contact with over the last four years. Mark ensured that the book sales got off to a flyer by kindly giving it a plug during his opening address. On the right is Ian Jackson, who has recovered from bowel cancer, who was my neighbour for the day on the Colostomy Association stand. Ian was the first person to buy a book on the day.

Going into the day I knew that it would be quite a lot to do on my own so I decided to ask for some help. Over recent months I have been absolutely amazed and touched by the warmth of support for me and the book from one group in particular. A fans group of my favourite band, The Alarm, on Facebook have been buying the book in large numbers helping me push the fundraising past £1000. It soon became apparent that, as well as the support, unfortunately far too many of them have been touched by bowel cancer losing family members. I am already confident that I have made some great new friendships that will endure for the long term. I am looking forward to meeting many of them next January in Llandudno. Tina Atkins, one such person, came along to help me for the whole day, giving up her Saturday and travelling down from Cambridge. Sadly her husband Mike lost his mother to bowel cancer. We hadn't met before, so it was really nice meeting her on the day and we made a great team selling more books than we dared hope. £130 raised on the day took the total raised so far by the book to over £1300.

The pop up banner and my specially designed shirt for the day went down a treat and made it pretty impossible for anyone to miss the stand. I consider the day an over whelming success so I would love to try this again.

Apart from my massive thanks to Tina for her help, I would like to thank everyone at the charity for making me feel so welcome, all the people who came up and said hello, and of course to every single person who kindly bought a copy of the book. If you would like to support and buy a copy of the book there are many ways to hold of a copy. To see how you can purchase it click here. All proceeds raised are donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Lives & Times Pop Up Banner

Here is the pop up banner to go with the Lives & Times book. It is based on the front cover, but my neighbour DMI Vision, who kindly made the banner for me, came up with the idea of putting the shadow image in as a background. The end result is perfect.

I shall take the banner with me to any book selling events. The first of these is this weekend at Beating Bowel Cancer's Patient Day 2016 in London. Hopefully the banner and the books themselves will be a big enough draw and I will sell some copies raising money for the charity in doing so. I have another little surprise up my sleeve which I am saving for the day.

Mum had a good follow up appointment with the lung surgeon last week. They have removed the lower lob of her left lung in an attempt to stop the secondary bowel cancer from returning. On Friday she sees her oncologist and attention will no doubt switch back to the cancer on the brain. Remember April is bowel cancer awareness month...

To see how you can buy a copy of the Lives & Times book click here. All proceeds raised are donated to Beating Bowel Cancer.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Lives & Times Gets Help From Melanie Bloomfield With Eddie Macdonald & Nigel Twist

In the above photo Melanie Bloomfield is reading her copy of Lives & Times. Whilst putting the book together Melanie gave me some wonderful help for which I credit her in the Acknowledgements section at the beginning of the book. 

In the chapter where I met Eddie Macdonald & Nigel Twist from The Alarm I wanted to get some old photos of the guys when they were part of the band in the 1980s. I wanted to do a now and then theme, with the photos I had taken in London in 2014 set in a chapter alongside the old photos. I never took a camera with me to gigs back in the day so I had no photos at all. I think of all the magical moments I was there to see at the time for which I only have memories. Such as the first time I saw the band at The Marquee in 1983, and then the fantastic gigs at the old London ballroom venues. Wembley supporting Queen in 1986 and then supporting U2 at the Cardiff Arms Park. Too many to name them all.

Melanie responded to my request and emailed me a few photos of Eddie & Nigel, and I was able to use a couple of these in the book. For anyone who has read the chapter you will have already seen Melanie's contribution. Melanie also very kindly added a very generous donation on top of the cost of the book which goes to Beating Bowel Cancer. The fundraising total is now over £1150. All four original members of The Alarm feature in the book along with numerous other celebrities, and there are a number of ways you can buy the book which you can see by clicking here.

My mother is still recovering from her recent cancer operation to remove the lower lob of her left lung. She saw the lung surgeon this week for a follow appointment, and the surgeon was really pleased with her progress. Next week she sees the oncologist, and no doubt attention will turn back to her treatment for the brain cancer. Bowel cancer is the second highest cancer in the UK, and Mum has now been fighting it for four years with the secondary cancers on the lung and brain since her initial bowel cancer surgery in 2012. All proceeds raised from sales of Lives & Times are donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Bowel Cancer Warrior

Last month my Mum underwent her 5th operation in her four year battle with bowel cancer. In 2012 she was diagnosed with bowel cancer and had successful surgery to remove part of her bowel. Unfortunately since then she has been plagued by secondary cancer, especially targeting her left lung. The recent operation at Harefield Hospital removed the lower lob of her left lung where the nodules have formed each time. It was a very long day for her. She was prepared by the staff for surgery in the morning being third on the list, but they didn't take her down to surgery until 2.00. We waited for news and for when Mum would be back on the HDU ward. Eventually at 10.30 she was transferred from the recovery unit to HDU, and then onto a normal ward a couple of days later. She was in hospital for just over a week before coming home last weekend. She is making good progress at home convalescing well. It's not easy for someone as active as she is to rest up, and she is a little frustrated at, what she perceives to be, the slow progress of the healing progress. She gets very tired at the moment, but hardly surprising after having had a large chuck of her left lung taken out so recently. She has seen the lung surgeon for a post op consultation, who was very pleased with Mum's progress, and how well she was looking so soon after surgery. Mum has to try and pace herself a bit better, but that aside it was all very good. Next week she has an appointment with the oncologist.

It's been a rough old road for her. The last few months have been particularly tough for her since the cancer, not only targeted her lung again, but also spread to her brain which resulted in a scary seizure at the end of November. She had CyberKnife treatment for that in January. Recently her speech has deteriorated again and she is awaiting the results of her recent scan to see what's happening. She is back on steroids to reduce the swelling and will see her oncologist in the week or so to see what happens next. For someone who is turning 80 this year she is fighting hard, and in my eyes genuinely a true bowel cancer warrior! She epitomises the brave, courageous spirit of so many cancer patients. It was hard fought victory in her battle with bowel cancer, and she is now gearing up for another possible encounter with this dreadful illness!

I published the Lives & Times book on November 27th, coincidentally the same day she had the seizure. It has raised over £1150 for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity so far. All proceeds I receive from sales of the book are donated to the charity. The book was completed over 18 months, and I met and photographed many famous, and some not so famous, people for the book. So many different and fascinating chapters to enjoy. To see how you can order the book, which is available as an eBook, paperback and hardback, click here.

So who can you expect to read about in the book...
  • Sir Steve Redgrave CBE
  • Katherine Grainger CBE
  • Phil Parkes
  • Mick Channon
  • Jonathan Agnew
  • 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
  • Dodgy
  • Mikes Hunt& Erica Nockalls
  • Horace Panter
  • My Mum!
And so very much more.... Over 100 photos and about 45,000 words.