Sunday, 14 January 2018

The Alarm - The Band & The Fans Support Bowel Cancer Fundraising Book

When I started putting together the Lives & Times bowel cancer fundraising book, one of my wishes was to meet and photograph all four original members of The Alarm. However, little did I realise that would be just the beginning, and what followed would have a huge impact on me.

I struck gold early on when I photographed Eddie Macdonald and Nigel Twist in London. Eddie has been a tremendous supporter, and he got Nigel on board, when Nige was in the UK on a rare trip over from the US, where he now lives. Jules Peters was instrumental in sorting out a photograph with Mike Peters. This took place at Abbey Road studios when I was truly honoured to be part of The Scriptures - the world's longest song. Finally just when I was beginning to think it wasn't going to happen, I met and photographed Dave Sharp in Winchester. I got to see him soundcheck before his gig, and that was observing a real master craftsman.

As well as the original band, along the way the current line-up also got snapped at Abbey Road. In fact Steve 'Smiley' Barnard popped up twice in the book, as he also featured in the chapter on From The Jam. The good news is that 'Smiley' amd James from the current line-up will feature in the next book, The Record, which is well under way. This will also feature Jules Peters, now also a regular in the current group. She has been fighting breast cancer, and her story is a huge inspiration for many. Oh, and Gaz Top will also feature, so the new book will have plenty of Alarm in it too.

Alarm fans with the book

I've followed The Alarm since 1983. Until I started my fundraising I had followed the band with a few close friends, and had kept myself pretty much to myself. In fact during my first 33 years I barely met more than a handful of fellow fans. Lives & Times changed all that. The friendship, and amazing support for the book, from fans has been utterly amazing. I have lost count of the amount of books they have bought so far, and some of these have lost people to bowel cancer too. When I went to a bowel cancer patient event in London in 2016, I was joined by fellow fan Tina Atkins to help me sell the book there. We'd never met, but she very kindly agreed to come and help. That has been the start of a great friendship. The friendships have kept on coming thick and fast ever since. I can't believe why it took me so long to come out of my shell. At The Gathering in 2017 I seemed to spend as much time selling books as anything else - it was quite astonishing. I can now go the gigs, and know plenty of people, which makes each gig so much better and fulfilling. I am looking forward to meeting up with many friends in a couple of weeks time at The Gathering 2018.

Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK taking 16,000 lives each year. If detected early it can be successfully treated in over 90% of cases. The key thing is to increase awareness, and improve early detection rates. All the funds that I raise are donated to Beating Bowel Cancer / Bowel Cancer UK. These two charities joined together on January 1st to become the UK's leading bowel cancer charity.

I have already had some terrific support from fans for my 'Stop Bowel Cancer' t-shirts, which has just gone on sale. Just the best set of people 😊

Sunday, 7 January 2018

A Picture of Mum with the Lives & Times Bowel Cancer Fundraising Book

A cruel twist of fate meant that Mum had her first brain seizure on the same day that I published the Lives & Times book in November 2015. The bowel cancer which had continuously affected her left lung over four years, spread to her brain, and so began the final stages of her illness over the next nine months until she sadly passed away in August 2016. I was so glad that Mum got to see, and enjoy, the finished book - without doubt the book is one of my proudest achievements. I always asked people to send me a photo of themselves with the book, but Mum was a bit reluctant. One of the side effects from the brain seizures was a slight drop to one side in her face, which understandably meant she didn't really enjoy having photos taken. However, with some creative help from my niece Anna, we took this photo from behind with the two of them reading the chapter in the book about Mum. It is the only photo I have of Mum with the book.

The book has now raised over £3450, and hopefully with the "Stop Bowel Cancer" t-shirts I have just started selling, the fundraising will soon pass £3500. The new fundraising book I am putting together is over halfway completed now, so I am hoping to have that finished within the next 12 months or so. Please continue to support my fundraising, and a massive thank you to everyone who has supported me so far, with an extra special thanks for those extra lovely people who have already ordered a t-shirt. All proceeds raised are donated to Beating Bowel Cancer / Bowel Cancer UK, who have joined together to become the UK's leading bowel cancer charity.

Bowel cancer is the second highest cancer killer in the UK, claiming 16,000 lives each year. However, if caught early, it can be successfully treated in over 90% of cases. So increasing awareness about this awful disease is key, hence the t-shirt idea. It is also vital to improve early detection rates, as that is what will really help help to save lives.

Friday, 5 January 2018


I have just launched these 'STOP BOWEL CANCER' T-Shirts. The idea, being very simple, to help increase awareness about bowel cancer, and to raise some funds for Beating Bowel Cancer / Bowel Cancer UK. These two charities have merged to become the UK's leading bowel cancer charity, and my fundraising will be donated to the new organisation.

I am selling the t-shirts for just £8 + P&P from my website. I think they look terrific, and I managed to get a photo taken with Olympic 400m gold medal winner Christine Ohuruogu. The £3 raised from each t-shirt will be donated to the charity. A massive thanks to Jocelyn at DMI Embroidery for supporting this venture, and enabling me sell the t-shirts at this great low price. The t-shirts are available in four colours and in a full range of sizes in both men's and ladies.

Please get behind this idea, and together we can help make a difference. Bowel cancer is the second highest cancer killer in the UK taking 16,000 lives each year. However, if detected early, it can be successfully treated in over 90% of cases. Much more needs to be done to increase awareness about this awful disease, and to improve early detection rates. My mum passed away in 2016 after a long battle with bowel cancer, and all my fundraising is being done in her memory. 

Monday, 18 December 2017

Beating Bowel Cancer Merges With Bowel Cancer UK

Some very exciting news today - Beating Bowel Cancer and Bowel Cancer UK are joining together to become the UK's leading bowel cancer charity. Read the full statement here.

After my Mum had the operation to remove the tumour from her bowel in September 2012, I began my fundraising for Beating Bowel Cancer. Five years down the line, Mum is sadly no longer with us, but the fundraising continues stronger than ever. The Lives & Times charity book that I published in 2015 has raised over £3400, and the new book will hopefully be out towards the end of 2018. Over the years I have made connections with Bowel Cancer UK, in particular I have always been grateful for the support from their Chief Executive, Deborah Alsina MBE, so I am looking forward to working with her.

The purpose of the new organisation is bold and clear. "We are determined to save lives, improve the quality of life and support all those affected by bowel cancer in the UK. We are tremendously excited about the future and our pledge is bold, stretching and inspiring. Within ten years we will transform survival rates, from only one in every two people surviving bowel cancer over five years, to three out of four people surviving. There will be better treatment and care including information and support for every patient and screening will be optimal, leading to more cancers being detected early or prevented leading to fewer emergency presentations."

This will be achieved through:
  • Enabling and supporting research
  • Providing support and information for patients and their families each step of the way
  • Transforming awareness and understanding of the disease
  • Campaigning for early diagnosis and best treatment and care for all

So some big and exciting changes coming up, and it's business as usual from me. Hoping to raise more funds with the items I am selling on my website, and raising awareness about bowel cancer.

Happy Christmas From Lives & Times - A Bowel Cancer Charity Book

A very Happy Christmas to everyone, and a massive thanks to everyone who has supported the Lives & Times fundraising book so far, helping to raise over £3400 for Beating Bowel Cancer. It's a lovely book featuring photos of so many wonderful people - some famous, and some not so famous affected by bowel cancer. It would make a lovely Christmas gift, and it's available from my website. Please also watch and share the festive video.

Bowel cancer is the second highest cancer killer in the UK claiming 16,000 lives each year, but it is also very treatable if detected early. Much more needs to be done, both in raising awareness about bowel cancer, and improving early detection rates. If everything goes to plan, the new book, The Record, will be out towards the end of 2018.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Steve 'Smiley' Barnard Features in Two Chapters of Bowel Cancer Charity Book

I am pretty sure that Steve 'Smiley' Barnard is the only person to feature in two chapters of Lives & Times, and he achieves this without actually having a chapter dedicated to himself. This has been been rectified for the next book, The Record, hopefully due out in 2018, as I went to meet him earlier this year at his Sunshine Recording Studios in Fleet. We chatted for over an hour, and he couldn't have been nicer, so I left with plenty of good stuff to write about.

When we met Smiley was in the early stages of recording his 5th solo album, Smiley's Friends In The Afterglow, which is scheduled for released early in 2018. His previous four albums have all be fantastic, and I am sure this will not disappoint. Why can't other artists take a leaf out of Smiley's book, and release an album every year, just like bands did in the good old days...

Smiley plays drums for The Alarm, and back in 2014 I went to Abbey Road to take part in The Scriptures project, which was the recording of the world's longest song. The full band took part in this session and apart from getting my photo of Mike Peters for the book I was able to get a few great photos including the above shot of the band doing a publicity shot with Andy Labrow. It was a fantastic day, and made for a fascinating chapter in the book.

I also got to take some photos of Smiley in action when he was drumming with From The Jam, when I was given a photo pass to photograph them at their gig at SUB89 in Reading in November 2014. I was able to spend the whole set in the pit, so I got the best seat in the house as well as blowing my ear drums!

The Lives & Times fundraising book along with the screen prints and mugs has now raised over £3400 for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. The book can be bought from my own website. My Mum passed away in August 2016 after a four year brave and dignified battle fought with bowel cancer. As well as raising funds for the charity the book is helping to raise awareness about this awful disease. Bowel cancer is the second highest cancer killer in the UK, but if detected early it is one of the most treatable ones in over 90% of cases.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Special Offer from Bowel Cancer Fundraising

For a limited time only you can get this amazing bundle offer from the website. The bundle consists of the hardback edition of Lives & Times, the limited edition silk screen print, and a mystery print by Reigate artist Adam Green. The special price of £125 means you are getting the book, and the mystery print for free. This offer ends on January 6th, 2018.

All proceeds raised from sales are donated to Beating Bowel Cancer, and the fundraising efforts so far have raised over £3400. 

My mother passed away on August 29th, 2016 after a long battle with bowel cancer going back over four years. Bowel cancer is the second highest cancer killer in the UK, with 16,000 people lost to it each year. However if detected early it can be successfully in over 90% of cases, so we need to do everything possible to improve awareness about this awful illness, and improve early diagnosis rates.