Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Lives & Times Meets Shaun Keaveny From BBC Radio 6 Music

After 18 months of travelling here, there and everywhere to meet and photograph people for the Lives & Times fundraising book supporting the Beating Bowel Cancer charity, one of the final photos I took for the book back in October 2015 was when I met Shaun Keaveny, who has presented the breakfast show on BBC 6 Music for the last decade. As Shaun will testify the photography would have been completed a week earlier, had it not been for a bit of a mix up at his end with me coming off second best to Bloc Party! The full story features in the book.

We met at the 6 Music headquarters in Great Portland Street, and Shaun was very generous with his time for me, especially having been up since some god unearthly hour to do his early morning show. Following on from our meeting, Shaun was happy to send me a photo of himself with the recently published book, and he also kindly did me a video snippet to help promote the book. He took a great interest in the book, bowel cancer and my mother who, at the time, was still battling with secondary cancer from the primary bowel cancer. Sadly, in August 2016, she passed away after a 4 year brave and courageous battle with bowel cancer.

Lives & Times was published in November 2015, and has so far raised over £3250. All proceeds I receive are donated to the charity, so please support the book if you can. As well as raising funds for the charity, the book is also helping to raise awareness about bowel cancer. It is the second highest cancer killer in the UK, claiming 16,000 lives each year. However if detected early it can be successfully treated in over 90% of cases.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Stiff Little Fingers supporting Bowel Cancer Charity Book

Back in March 2015, I travelled to Oxford 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. This particular photo shows Jake sporting the bowel cancer tie, which I try and get everyone on the book to do a photo with to help raise awareness about bowel cancer. It was fascinating going back stage to meet the band in their dressing room, and the gig itself was absolutely brilliant with the band playing many of their classic songs alongside new tracks from their most recent studio 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 1980, there is a long history of me following the band. 

At the time of the meeting my Mum was still fighting the bowel cancer. Although she had successfully had the tumour removed from her bowel in 2012, she also had secondary cancer on her left lung, and underwent four operations over a four year period to remove nodules. On the day that Lives & Times was published in November 2015, Mum had a seizure, and the cancer had spread to her brain. She underwent CyberKnife treatment in early 2016, but more seizures followed and her condition slowly deteriorated, and she sadly passed away in August, 2016. All proceeds raised from sales of the book are donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer, and it has raised over £3000 to date.

Bowel cancer is the second highest cancer killer in the UK taking 16,000 lives each year. If detected early it is one of the most treatable in over 90% of cases. Much more work needs to be done to raise awareness about this awful illness, to help reduce the number of deaths.

The book contains chapters on people from all walks of life, including the world of music, sport, television, and people affected by cancer. 

Monday, 3 July 2017

Bowel Cancer Website Continuing for Another 12 Months

I have decided to continue hosting my website for another 12 months. Whilst the Lives & Times book is now almost two years old, and the follow book is a year or so away, I think it makes sense to continue with the website and selling products, even if sales are pretty quiet at the moment. I think the cost of hosting the site is worthwhile, and I continue to pay that myself, so that all proceeds donated continue to go to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity.

We lost another brave cancer warrior, Ben Ashworth, this week. I never got to meet Ben, but I followed his amazing fundraising efforts, and his brave and courageous battle with this awful illness. He inspired so many people, and my thoughts go out to his family at this sad time.

So far just over £3250 has been raised for the charity by Lives & Times, and the other items on the website. I'd love to push the figure as high as possible, so please take a look at the website, and I'd be grateful for any support.

It is now just over 10 months since my Mum lost her battle with bowel cancer. She was diagnosed in 2012, and fought it for over four years before passing away in August, 2016. Bowel cancer takes 16,000 lives each year, but if detected early it can be successfully treated in over 90% of cases. Raising awareness about bowel cancer is key to helping to reducing this figure, and the heartache endured by so many families.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Carrie Grant Supporting Lives & Times Bowel Cancer Charity Book

Carrie doing voice-over work for The One Show

Back in November 2014, I went to Soho to meet Carrie Grant when she was doing some voice-over work for BBC's The One Show. This was another first for me, and it was a fascinating experience watching how this work was done. Carrie was keen to support the book as she suffers from Crohn's disease, which is a potentially life-threatening bowel condition. People with Crohn's disease are a higher risk of getting bowel cancer, and the two conditions share many symptoms. Carrie has lived with Crohn's disease for more than 20 years and still suffers from excruciating stomach pains that can stop her eating for weeks. Read more about Carrie's life with Crohn's disease here

Carrie was very interested in the book, and my mother's battle with bowel cancer. Once we had finished the photography we went outside and were able to have a quick chat. Carrie gave me some useful tips in my quest for meeting celebrities for which I was grateful. This was especially helpful in me finally getting to meet Gabby Logan for the book.

Thanks to the amazing support of everyone so far, the Lives & Times book has raised over £3250 for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. My mother passed away in August 2016 after a four and a half year battle with bowel cancer. The initial operation to remove the tumour from her bowel was successful,but the cancer spread to her left lung, and then to her brain. She fought the cancer with great dignity and courage, and was able to continue doing the things she loved, including riding her beloved horse right until the last couple of months. Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK, but if detected early it can be successfully treated in over 90% of cases. Raising awareness about this awful disease is key to helping to bring down the figure of 16,000 deaths each year in the UK. All proceeds are donated to the charity and the book is also helping to raise awareness about bowel cancer. 

Thanks again to Carrie for her support, and she also sent me this lovely photo of her with the book after it was published in 2015.

Carrie with her copy of the book


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Mike & Jules Peters Support Bowel Cancer Charity Book

Mike & Jules Peters at Abbey Road
Mike Peters, from The Alarm, and his wife Jules featured in the very moving documentary, Mike & Jules: While We Still Have Time about their cancer battles this week on BBC1. Mike has been fighting leukemia for 20 years and it was while the documentary, originally about a year in his life, was being filmed that Jules was diagnosed with breast cancer. The documentary follows Jules' journey through diagnosis to treatment. 

Back in 2014, I went to Abbey Road Recording Studios in London to be part of The Scriptures charity record, put together by Mike, for the Love Hope Strength Foundation. I got to play a bit of guitar and wrote a verse for the world's longest song. I'd contacted Jules about them taking part in the book, so during the day Jules sorted out a photo opportunity for me. Looking back on this photo today, it is so much more than a rock 'n roll couple. The happiness in their faces shines through, and for anyone who has seen the documentary, for all the horrible cancer stuff, their love for each other is plain to see. Inspiration can be an overused word, but in this instance it is very true indeed as they are a real inspiration to so many people.

Me and Mike with his copy of Live & Times
The Lives & Times book was published in November 2015, and it has raised over £3250 to date. I'd love to push that figure as high as possible before the follow up book comes out in 2018/2019. My Mum was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012. The operation to remove the tumour from her bowel was a success, but unfortunately the cancer spread to her left lung. She underwent 4 operations on her lungs over the next few years, and was doing really well. Sadly at the end of 2015 the cancer spread to her brain, and although she had CyberKnife treatment her condition deteriorated, and she passed away on August 29th 2016, a week after her 80th birthday. All funds raised are donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity, and the book is also helping to raise awareness about this awful disease.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Lives & Times Bowel Cancer Book Cricket Fest

When I started putting together the Lives & Times book I set my sights on trying get Jonathan Agnew on board. If you get the book you will see that this turned into quite a mission, but in the end I managed to photographic him at Lord's which was fantastic. Considering we only had a few minutes together we managed to cram loads in, and that included a video message he kindly did for my cricket club, Knowl Hill, who had been bowled out for just 48 the previous week.

After that the cricket theme in the book went into overdrive. I was fortunate enough to be going to the first day of The Ashes series in Cardiff, so the night before I sent a message to David "Bumble" Lloyd on the off chance he might meet me, and to my surprise and delight he came through. I met him for a quick chat and photo during the morning session. Earlier I had been interviewed before the day's play started by Steve Harmison. I said to him that I would do the interview if I could photograph him for the book! Then finally to complete the hatrick that day I managed to get legendary West Indian fast bowler Michael Holding as he was leaving the ground at the end of the day. That could have gone badly wrong as you can read, but he was lovely.

At the end of the summer I tracked down Australian sports journalist and broadcaster Melinda Farrell, who was covering the cricket for ESPN Cricinfo. The original plan was to meet up at the Edgebaston test, but with the game being over early that fell through. We ending up meeting outside Bank tube station a month or so later in London. She was great fun and was the first person to record a video message for the book.

Last but not least I captured the broadcasting legend Henry Blofeld on his 2015 autumn tour with Peter Baxter. This was fascinating as they were performing at the Norden Arts Centre in Maidenhead, which is in the same road where my Mum lived. In spite of having made a gruelling journey from the north that day he was a great sport and we got a photo and video done before his performance.

So all in all it became a bit of a cricket fest for me, and it was brilliant fun meeting them all. The one person who eluded me was former England captain Michael Vaughan, but he is still on my radar for the new book.

The book has sofar raised £3250 for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. To see how you can order the book click here. My Mum passed away in August 2016 after a 4 year battle with bowel cancer.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Lives & Times Meets Matthew Wright From Channel 5

Back in the summer of 2014, unbelievably almost 3 years ago now, I met and photographed Matthew Wright for the Lives & Times book in London. Matthew is very passionate about bowel cancer having lost his own father to this awful disease, and he has been incredibly supportive of this project including writing a lovely foreword for the book. I got to see his vintage motorbikes, which are his pride and joy. We talked about his daytime show, The Wright Stuff, on Channel 5 and about his experience appearing on I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. He was great fun to spend time with, and is just a really nice man!

My Mum was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012. Back then her bowel was successfully operated on, and the section containing the cancer was removed, but in the fours that followed she suffered from cancerous nodules on her lungs, which is a secondary cancer from the bowel and underwent four further operations to have nodules removed. Latterly the cancer spread to her brain and she experienced a number of seizures as a result. The last one put her in hospital for almost six weeks leaving her virtually paralysed down her right side and badly affecting her speech. It was while she was there that we got the devastating news that her cancer was terminal. She moved to a nursing home under a NHS continuation of care package where she received wonderful care in her final weeks. Sadly she passed away on August 29th, 2016.

Since losing Mum I have continued with the fundraising for Beating Bowel Cancer. Lives & Times was published in November 2015. Absolutely every penny I receive in royalties is being donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. The book and the limited edition Lives & Times silk screen prints have so far raised over £3250 for the charity. I am now putting together a new charity book which will be called The Record. I also do my best to help raise awareness about bowel cancer. It remains the 2nd highest cancer killer in the UK, and yet if caught early it is one of the most treatable with 5 year survival rates at over 90%.