The Lives & Times book is raising funds for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. 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 gave up their own time to do it and ALL proceeds are donated to the charity. Over £3400 raised so far and every sale counts. www.bowelcancerfundraising.co.uk
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.