Friday, 19 May 2017

Horace Panter Supporting Lives & Times Bowel Cancer Book

Horace Panter is well known for being the bass player in The Specials and as a respected artist. His wife Clare sent me this photo of Horace with his copy of the Lives & Times charity book for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. This is a brilliant photo, as more than just showing off my book, the picture in the background is especially interesting. It is a mash-up done by Horace of an original photo of The Specials taken by world renowned rock photographer Janette Beckman. There is a great before and after shot on Horace's website.

Horace was one of the first photos I did for the book back in 2014, and he has been supportive of the fundraising project ever since. In the book I got a unique insight into Horace's work as both a musician and artist. I got to see his collection of bass guitars and many of his pieces of art. In fact I was so inspired by our meeting that I treated myself to one of his pieces of work. Horace also very kindly donated on of his stunning silk screen prints of The Kiss, which raised £200 for Beating Bowel Cancer.

The book, plus the recent screen print inspired by the book, has now raised over £3250 for Beating Bowel Cancer, which is the second highest cancer killer in the UK, and yet one of the most treatable if caught early. To see all the ways you can buy the book and support the charity click here.

My Mum, the inspiration behind the book, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012. She bravely fought it with courage and dignity for over 4 years with the cancer spreading to her lungs and finally her brain. Sadly she passed away on August 29th, 2016. The fundraising for Beating Bowel Cancer continues on my own website and I am doing a new fundraising book in Mum's memory.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Mike Peters of The Alarm Part of The Lives & Times Bowel Cancer Charity Book

Mike Peters hiding behind Lives & Times

In 1983 I had a little transistor radio in my bedroom and I would listen to the John Peel show on Radio One. It was on his show that I first heard The Stand by The Alarm, which was the song that has had the single most influence on my musical life. I went to my local record shop and ordered the 7" and 12" versions straightaway, and a few weeks later myself and three friends travelled up to the old Marquee Club in London to see what remains for me the best gig I have ever been to. These four men with their wild hair and acoustic guitars making a sound that you would have thought impossible. And so began a lifelong love of the music by The Alarm and all who sail in her. Thirty-three years later it is a strong as ever. Mike is pictured above with his copy of the book on The Stranglers Black & White tour where The Alarm are supporting.

I was delighted to meet and photograph all four original members of the band for the Lives & Times book. I was very grateful for the help that Mike's wife Jules gave me in setting up the photo. I was fortunate enough to be able to take the picture at the world famous Abbey Road recording studio. I was there to take part in the recording sessions of The Scriptures, a fundraising project to record the world's longest song. Not only did I pledge to write a verse for the song, but I also got to play guitar. To see how that went you will have to buy a copy of the book. 

The legendary Abbey Road Studios

Mike is currently in his own battle, fighting cancer for a third time. He is the co founder of the Love Hope Strength Foundation, which is the world's leading rock and roll cancer foundation. Over 125,000 people have signed up to the international bone marrow registry, which over 2,000 potentially life saving matches found. To find out more about the charity click here. Towards the end of 2016 news also broke of Jules' own fight she is having with breast cancer, so the family has had more than its fair share of cancer 😔 Their positive attitude to fighting cancer is quite special.

My mother was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012, and underwent five major operations. Although the first operation to remove a section of her bowel was successful she had secondary cancer where the bowel cancer has spread to other parts of her body. Her left lung bore the brunt of this with four operations, the most recent one being in March when they took out the lower lob of her left lung. More bad news came just before Christmas 2015 when she had a seizure, and it was discovered the cancer has spread to her brain. She underwent treatment for that in January which successfully dealt with one of the two lesions. Unfortunately the other grew in size and caused Mum to have further seizures. The final seizure in May put her in hospital, pretty much paralysing her right side and severely affecting her speech. She remained positive and determined to go through whatever she had to beat the disease. However in July we found out that the cancer was terminal. Mum moved to a nursing home for palliative end of life care. She celebrated her 80th birthday on August 22nd, 2016, but by this time her health was failing and she peacefully passed away a week later on August 29th.

From my own point of view, apart from supporting Mum through all her treatment, everything she went through made me all the more determined to complete the book, and also to make it into something special, and that was as good as it could be, and that could raise as much money as possible for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. When Mum got her copy of the book it reduced her to tears... To date the book and the screen prints have raised just over £3250, and I am eternally grateful to everyone who has supported my fundraising efforts.

It was at Abbey Road where I got to meet and chat with Dave Spragg, a Love Hope Strength volunteer, and great friend of Mike and the rest of the current Alarm line-up. Sadly Dave passed away last year having lost his own long battle with bowel cancer. It really is such a horrible disease...

To see how you can order the book, which is available as an eBook, paperback and hardback, click here

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The Live & Times Bowel Cancer Book With Melinda Farrell In The Press Box

A massive thanks to sports journalist and broadcaster Melinda Farrell for sending me the above photo of the Lives & Times bowel cancer fundraising book taken in the press box on the day 4 of the 3rd Test between England and Pakistan last August. It has to be one of the most impressive locations that the book has been photographed at so far. Melinda appears in the book as I met and photographed her in London during the 2015 cricket season. Melinda has been a great supporter of the book and we have remained in contact on social media. She had said that she would like to buy a copy of the book so the cricket in Birmingham was the perfect opportunity for me to get a copy of the book to her.

We met up outside the press centre during the lunch break. I also reunited Melinda with the Beating Bowel Cancer tie from the charity that the book supports, and she is one of the those who not only posed with the tie, but was able to tie it properly which she put down to a catholic school education! I can't thank Melinda enough for her continued support, and you can follow her work on ESPNCRICINFO. I think the reason for her huge smile was being photographed with Ian Bell in the background!

I have been supporting Beating Bowel Cancer since 2012, as it was then that my mother was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Sadly she lost her long battle with this terrible illness on August 29th last year. Lives & Times has now raised over £3000 for Beating Bowel Cancer. All proceeds are donated to the charity so please support the book and the recent stunning screen print both of which are available to purchase from my website.

Roll forward to April 2017, and Melinda was back in the press box when I met George Dobell for the new fundraising book I am currently doing..