Thursday, 29 December 2016

2016 in review (it was not all bad) and my hopes for 2017

My favourite photo of 2016 - Cornwall with Mum
It seems that the vast majority of people can't wait to say goodbye to 2016 and hope that 2017 brings more happy times. I have spent the last few months coming to terms with losing my mother to bowel cancer. With her diagnosis in 2012 began a four and a half year battle with this awful illness that sadly ended on August 29th when Mum peacefully passed away. Of course the event defines my year and it will not be a year that I look back on as one of my happiest.

However it was not all doom and gloom. The above photo of me with Mum was taken in Cornwall just a week or so before her health began to decline. This is how I remember Mum. A lovely warm and kind woman with a touch of eccentricity about her... 

So I thought I would take a brief pictorial look back on the good times I had in 2016...

My brother Noel's birthday on New Year's Day
My 50th birthday February 21st
Selling Lives & Times at Beating Bowel Cancer 2016 Patient Day
Henley Royal Regatta
The Lives & Times silk screen print by Adam Green has raised lots of funds for Beating Bowel Cancer
Celebrating Mum's 80th birthday shortly before she passed away
I try not to set myself too many new year resolutions. For 2017 I do have some hopes and aspirations. Top of my list is the health of Storm, one of the dogs in the Cornwall photo heading this blog post. Shortly before Christmas she was diagnosed with Lymphoma. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy and even at this early stage is proving herself to be a true cancer warrior. 

During 2017 I am continuing work on the next fundraising book for Beating Bowel Cancer. It is early days with three people photographed so far, which leaves around 50 or so more photos to do. I am not setting myself a strict timescale to complete the book as I want it to be the very best it can be. My gut feeling is it's more likely to be finished during 2018. 

I am still looking for another 15 or so celebrities to come on board and complete the line up. I have big decisions to make about work. Do I continue with the family business or try something new? Finally yet another year has passed with no sign of the future Mrs Darvell appearing, so it would be nice if 2017 saw some kind of romantic development. I think after what has happened during 2016 romance was always rather unlikely. Maybe now is the time for a new chapter to begin...

What 2016 has shown me in absolute abundance is the value of wonderful friendships. The support through all the difficult times has been amazing and I have probably made more new friendships and connections this year than I have ever done. Over £3000 has been raised for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity through sales of the book and print on my www.bowelcancerfundraising.co.uk website. The generosity of everyone continues to surprise me and is s very heartwarming. In a world where there is so much bad news you don't have to look too far to find an awful lot of goodness still in so many people.

So I wish everyone a very happy 2017 in advance and may as many of your hopes and dreams come true as is possible.

Please keep following this blog to see how the new book progresses.






Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Olympic Dressage Gold Medalist Carl Hester On Board New Book


When I get to meet Carl Hester next summer it will be a chapter in the book that will be tinged with a bit of sadness. This experience will be one of those that I will wish that Mum would have got to seen with her life long love of horses. Carl is someone, from the equestrian world that I have targeted specifically with Mum in mind as I wanted to have some horse representation the book. I am delighted that he has agreed to be in the new book. I already know the first record that he bought and it's a cracker!

They don't come much bigger than Carl. He was a member of the British team that won gold in the Team Dressage event at London 2012, and then followed that up with Silver at Rio 2016. The plan is to meet up next summer once he has finished his competitions.

Bowel cancer remains the second highest cancer killer in the UK with 16,000 people losing their lives each year. If detected early it is one of the most treatable cancers with a survival rate of over 90%. It has been associated with older people, but more and more young people are being diagnosed, which makes raising awareness about this awful disease so very important. All proceeds raised from the forthcoming book will be donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. Carl has had his own scare, so I will be very interested in finding out more about his experience.

During 2016 my current book, Lives & Times, and all the other items I am selling on my own www.bowelcancerfundraising.co.uk website have raised over £3000. 

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Billy Ocean - Red Light Spells Danger


More fantastic news for the forthcoming bowel cancer fundraising book. The music legend that is Billy Ocean will feature in it. He had a string of hits during the 1970s and 1980s including my personal favourite, Red Light Spells Danger. At this stage I am not sure when the meeting might be, but hopefully sometime during 2017. He has a UK tour next year, so that could be a possibility. What I am really enjoying at the moment is the diverse range of musicians, and in fact people in general, who are now on board. I am still looking for another 25 people to be in it, which will make the grand total taking part to around 60.

All proceeds raised from sales of the book will be donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. My current book on sale, Lives & Times, has so far raised over £3100 for the charity. This total includes sales of the amazing Lives & Times Screen Prints created by artist Adam Green.

Sadly my mother passed away in August following a 4 year battle with bowel cancer. It is the 2nd highest cancer killer in the UK with 16,000 people losing their lives to it each year. If detected early it is very treatable in over 90% of cases, so as well as raising money, it is equally as important to raise awareness about this horrible disease. Hopefully that is what the books I produce are doing...

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Meeting Up With Daniel Norcross From BBC Test Match Special


Yesterday I headed up to Tooting Bec to meet up with BBC cricket commentator, Daniel Norcross, from Test Match Special. I don't think in all the photos I have done over the two books so far that anyone has given me the amount of time that Daniel did. We were chatting away for two hours, and it was absolutely fascinating to find out how he came to work on the radio. It's a really interesting story and one that I will save for the new book of course 😉. 

We talked all things cricket and he was also very keen to hear about the book and Mum's battle with bowel cancer. The first record that he bought is interesting to say the least and as much as he wanted it to be something by The Stranglers, I'm afraid it is a little different from them.

It was a wonderful experience and Daniel couldn't have been more enthusiastic and helpful. He was happy to pose with the bowel cancer tie to help raise awareness about this awful disease. It's going to make for a great chapter in the book. All proceeds raised from sales of the forthcoming book will be donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

The Frank Turner Meeting at Reading Hexagon


I met and photographed Frank Turner in Reading for the new bowel cancer fundraising book I am currently putting together. All proceeds raised from sales of the forthcoming book will be donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. It turned into being a pretty amazing experience which will be told in full in the chapter in the book, As you can see in the above photo Frank was great fun and happy to do a photo wearing the charity's tie to help raise awareness about this awful illness. The reason why Frank agreed to meet me was after hearing about my Mum's 4 year battle with bowel cancer before she sadly passed away in August.


I met Frank in one of the rooms back stage at Reading Hexagon. I was told that I would have 5 minutes with him, so I knew I had to be ready with my camera and that every second would count with him. There was a itinerary sheet on the wall which showed just how busy a day he had. And I saw my name on it, which was a nice touch knowing that I was a very small part in his day.

Frank couldn't have been nicer. I made sure I got the name of his first record, which has an interesting story behind it. He was extremely nice and was happy to chat and do the photos. We crammed in quite a bit into the 5 minutes. When he found out that I didn't have a ticket for the sold out show he put me on the guest which was a very kind and generous gesture.


The gig was outstanding. I've got a couple of his albums and, through other fans of my favourite band, The Alarm, I have been really getting into his music this year. However this was my first experience of seeing him live. I knew it was going to be good, but seriously it would not be an understatement to say that this was one of the best gigs that I have been to. Quite brilliant!


I don't want to write too much here as I want to save plenty for the chapter in the book. I know that this kind of magical experience will produce the kind of chapter in the book that I am aiming for. It simply would not have happened without Frank's help. A true legend..

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Welcome Back Gail Porter


Gail Porter must be a glutton for punishment as she has very kindly agreed to be part of the new book. My plan as a rule for the new book is not to revisit the wonderful people, such as Gail, who featured in the Lives & Times book and concentrate on getting a whole new set of people on board. However Gail has been a terrific supporter of my fundraising and didn't need a second invitation to be part of the new book as well. I know that since our last meeting two years ago plenty has happened in both our lives to give us plenty of new stuff to talk about. I am not going to say too much about what is planned for the photo yet, partly as I have still to decide the precise details, but I believe I am going to be in mortal peril! What I do know is that Gail is great fun and once again it will be a memorable experience meeting her. Seeing as she was a presenter on Top of the Pops it will be interesting to find out about the first record she bought.

All proceeds raised from sales of the new book are being to donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK with 16,000 lives taken each year. However if it is caught early it is one of the most treatable with a 90% survival rate. My Mum passed away in August after a four year battle with bowel cancer.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Bowel Cancer Patient Deborah James On Board


Deborah James is a bowel cancer patient. Having already beaten it once she is now fighting this awful illness for a second time. I came across Deborah a year or so ago on social media around the same time I'd published the Lives & Times book. I followed her blog which is well worth looking at, and she very kindly bought a copy of the book. When it came to doing this new fundraising book for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity I was very keen to have Deborah on board, so I was really happy when she agreed to do it. She is a wonderfully positive and inspiring individual, and has recently set up her own business. I am very much looking forward to meeting her in person.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Ed Bazalgette Will Be A Chapter Of Two Halves


Ed Bazalgette is going to make another great addition to the new fundraising book. It will certainly make for a chapter of two halves. Ed is a successful television director having directed episodes of Doctor Who, Poldark and Eastenders to name but a few. Until recently he could also have been described as a former musician as part of 1980s band The Vapors. Well we can remove the word "former" now as the band has reformed, and I got to see them play a cracking gig at The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton on Saturday night. So not only do I got to meet someone involved in some of my favourite TV programmes, but also someone who plays in one of my all time favourite bands. In fact he has directed this year's 2016 Doctor Who Christmas Special! Hopefully I will get the chance to talk to him about both his career in music and behind the camera. I reckon this chapter will be fascinating. 

All proceeds raised form sales of the book will be donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity, and the book is being done in memory of my Mum who passed away in August following a 4 year battle with bowel cancer. The book once finished will join other items currently for sale on my www.bowelcancerfundraising.co.uk website including the last book, Lives & Times, which coincidentally featured a chapter on Dave Fenton from The Vapors.



Thursday, 10 November 2016

The Book Photography Begins With John Coghlan From Status Quo


It's a little over a year since I finished the photography for my previous fundraising book, Lives & Times. I have to admit that over the last 12 months I haven't been very active with the camera. This is partly due to having a break after producing the book and possibly in part to Mum's terminal decline with bowel cancer. I knew before she passed away in August that I would be doing another book. Over the last couple of months I have been busy approaching people to take part in it with great success so far. But of course there actually comes a point where you have to start meeting and photographing them! 

So today the camera was primed and I managed to combine a very busy work day with meeting up with John Coghlan, the original drummer from Status Quo. We met near his home in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside, and he was an absolute gent. His first record is fascinating... I am hoping that today was part 1 of two photographs as I am also hoping to photograph when he performs with his band in Reading next year. 

It was a great start to the new book and I think it's going to be an incredible journey. All proceeds raised from the new book will be donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

John Coghlan from Status Quo Will Feature in the Forthcoming Bowel Cancer Charity Book


I am really pleased to to announce that John Coghlan, the original drummer of Status Quo, has agreed to take part in the new book. I had a chat with him on the phone last night and the photo is scheduled for next week, so nothing better than striking while the iron is hot! He lives pretty near to my sister, which will hopefully mean popping in to see her too. 

I was fortunate enough to be given a photo pass to photograph Status Quo at Hammersmith Apollo for the previous book, Lives & Times. That was an amazing experience, but I never to got to meet the band, so this time it will be fascinating to get to meet and talk to John away from his music.

This looks like being the first meeting and photo I will be doing for the new book. I am looking forward to getting the camera out again and begin what I'm sure will be an amazing journey over the next year or two. I am not setting myself a time frame as I want the book to be as good as it can be. All proceeds raised from sales of the book will be donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. My mother recently passed away after a long and courageous battle with bowel cancer. Please check out my www.bowelcancerfundraising.co.uk website.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Annabel Giles to Feature in Forthcoming Bowel Cancer Fundraising Book


I am happy to reveal Annabel Giles as a new addition to the forthcoming fundraising book for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. It seems there is little that she hasn't done in her varied career as a television and radio presenter, actress, panelist, novelist and former model. It will be really interesting to meet Annabel and find out a little more about the real person. I wonder what the first record she bought was?

Coming up for two months into the new book project, and I am already building up an impressive list of people taking part. I have yet to star the photography yet for a few reasons. Firstly I have been concentrating on getting in touch with people, but more importantly I have been allowing the dust to settle a little following losing Mum to bowel cancer on August 29th following her four year battle with this awful illness. It has been a sad period, but I think maybe getting out there and beginning the meeting and photographing of people would actually be a great tonic. There is no doubt that the actual experience of meeting people for the last book, Lives & Times, was one of the most positive and enjoyable periods of my life. I am sure this time will be equally as so.


Monday, 24 October 2016

Bowel Cancer Survivor Dafydd Wyn Farr-Jones To Be In The Book


Dafydd Wyn Farr-Jones has been one of my biggest supporters all the way through my fundraising for the Beating Bowel Charity over the last four years. Daf is a bowel cancer survivor, and he dedicates an amazing amount of time to fundraising for the charity by holding celebrity auctions and the soon to be published book, Cook Along with Celebrities and Inspirational People. Daf was a great help with the last book I published, Lives & Times. He gave me some ideas and put me in touch with Lorraine Kelly, which was a great chapter for the book. He has already given me a number of contacts for the new book. Daf is a great inspiration to others and it will be a great experience meeting and photographing him for the book.

Bowel cancer is often perceived as an older person's illness, affecting those aged 50 and above. More and more younger people including Daf are being affected by cancer. Lots more needs to be done in raising awareness about bowel cancer, especially when in comes to younger people as diagnosis can be missed with devastating consequences.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Frank Turner


This is another great scoop. I am really happy to have had a positive response from Frank Turner to being part of the new book I am doing in support of the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. The singer-songwriter born in Hampshire has built up a massive live following over recent years on the back of a highly successful solo career. However the last time I saw him was on stage with Skinny Lister in London last week where he spent as much time crowd surfing as he did on stage. So I am hoping to meet and photograph him before the Reading gig next month on his UK tour. Sadly for me the gig has long since sold out, so I will have to wait for another day to see him perform, but it should be great fun nevertheless.

The new book is the follow up to Lives & Times, which I published in 2015. It is being done in memory of my mum who passed away in August following a four year battle with bowel cancer. More needs to be done about raising awareness about this awful illness, and as well as raising funds for the charity, if the book can play a small part in raising awareness then it will have done its job well.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Cricketer & Journalist Mike Selvey To Feature in Forthcoming Bowel Cancer Fundraising Book


I am delighted to announce that Mike Selvey has agreed to be part of the new fundraising book I am writing in support of the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. The former England pace bowler is someone I can remember watching on television as a young boy growing up. I find it surprising that he only played in three Test matches. He spent over 20 years as a summariser on Test Match Special and worked as a journalist for The Guardian newspaper for over 30 years. Talking to someone with such an in depth knowledge of cricket will be fascinating. Cricket played a big part in my previous book, Lives & Times, which featured Jonathan Agnew, David Lloyd, Steve Harmison, Michael Holding & Melinda Farrell. I am delighted to continue that trait in the new book.

The new book is being done in memory of my Mum who passed away on August 29th following her four and a half year battle with bowel cancer. The book's aim is to raise funds for the charity, and also to raise awareness about bowel cancer. It remains the 2nd biggest cancer killer in the UK, but is one of the most treatable if detected early with a survival rate of over 90%.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Kim Wilde Comes On Board The New Bowel Cancer Fundraising Book


One of the biggest female artists of the 1980s, Kim Wilde, has agreed to be part of the new fundraising book for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. Still remembered for her debut UK hit Kids In America it should not be forgotten that she had also had a US number one single with her cover of The Supremes, You Keep Me Hangin' On. I have to admit that my own personal favourite song from her early days is Water On Glass and I still have and play my copy of her most successful album, Close.

These days Kim is still recording music and touring, and she is also a very successful landscape gardener winning numerous awards, hosting television programmes and writing books. It will be fascinating getting an insight into both careers, and how on earth she manages to fit in being a wife and mother as well!

Bowel cancer is the second highest cancer killer in the UK, but it is one of the most treatable if detected early with over 90% of patients surviving more than five years if caught early. The idea of the book is not just to raise funds for the charity, but to also help raise awareness about this awful disease which sadly took my mother in August after a brave four year battle with it. This will be my third fundraising book following up Beating Bowel Cancer and Lives & Times.



Sunday, 16 October 2016

Gaz Top Comes On Board The New Bowel Cancer Fundraising Book


Gareth Jones, also known as Gaz Top, has agreed to be in the new fundraising book I am doing for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. It will be fascinating to get to know a little bit more about this larger than life character. He started out as a roadie with The Alarm before becoming a children's TV presenter during the 1980s and 1990s. As well as running his own television production company, these days Gareth writes and hosts a podcast, Gareth Jones On Speed.

In the last book, Lives & Times, I managed to get all four original members of The Alarm. The connection with my favourite band will very much continue in the new book. In addition to Gareth, I also have current band members James Stevenson and Smiley taking part. Hopefully there might still be more to come...

I have yet to begin the meeting and photographing people yet, but I am hopeful that I will start this pretty soon. If the last book is anything to go by, it's going to be such a positive and rewarding experience. My mother passed away at the end of August after losing her four year courageous battle with bowel cancer.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Paralympic Gold Medalist Anne Dickins To Feature in the New Book


I am really happy that Paralympian canoeist Anne Dickins has agreed to be in the new bowel cancer fundraising book. She recently won Gold in Rio and it looks like we will meet up in November once she resumes training. Anne's story is one of battling back from a serious back injury to Olympic glory and I am really looking forward to hearing more about it first hand. 

I am only a few weeks into this new book project, and the support so far has been incredible with over 20 people now on board the follow up book to 2015's Lives & Times. Once again it's shaping up to be a very eclectic mix of people, and I can't wait to begin the process of meeting and photographing them. All proceeds raised will once again be donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. The book is being done in memory of my Mum who passed away in August following a four year battle with bowel cancer.

Eddie Gray From The Legendary 1970s Leeds Utd Side Will Feature in The New Bowel Cancer Charity Book

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Eddie Gray was a member of legendary Leeds United team from the 1960s and 1970s. The Scottish winger played over 450 times for them in a long playing career with just the one club. He also managed the club twice and these days is still involved at the club in his role as football ambassador. I have an older brother who is a life long Leeds fan, so I am hoping that getting Eddie to take part will prove popular.

My first ever top flight match was going to see Leeds play Arsenal in a not very exciting 0-0 draw at Elland Road in September 1981. My brother drove us to the game and I remember the day as much for the accident we had in roadworks on the M1 on the way to game. How we got to the game and back home after being clattered from behind is beyond me.

In the last book, Lives & Times, I managed to get footballers Phil Parkes, Mick Channon and Charlie Nicholas on board. This time I already have Kevin Sheedy and Eddie. Still room for at least one more. As with Lives & Times all proceeds raised will be donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. The book is being done in memory of my Mum who passed away in August after losing her long four year battle with bowel cancer.



Sunday, 9 October 2016

Terry Christian Comes On Board The New Bowel Cancer Fundraising Book


Terry Christian, TV, radio presenter and journalist, will feature in the new fundraising book for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. He is perhaps best known for hosting The Word on Channel 4 in 1990s, but he has always been heavily involved in bringing bands from the Manchester music scene to the fore, so I am particularly looking forward to chatting to him about music. He has been brave enough to appear in Celebrity Big Brother and is a regular guest on television and radio shows. There will be plenty to talk about with someone whose career in the media now spans over 35 years. I will be heading up to Manchester to do this one...

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Actress Susan George To Take Part in the New Bowel Cancer Charity Book


I am really pleased to reveal that actress Susan George has agreed to be in the new bowel cancer book. I first came into contact with Susan through Mike Read, who features in the Lives & Times bowel cancer charity book that I published in 2015. It has so far raised over £2500 for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. Susan, like my late mother, has a love for Arabian horses. She has been breeding them for over 20 years, and she very kindly invited Mum to go an visit the stud farm on Exmoor. Unfortunately Mum's failing health, once the cancer spread to her brain, meant that it didn't happen. My mother lost her four year battle with bowel cancer on August 29th. 

So this is one chapter in the book where I have a good idea on what might be a nice way to do it. The idea is to photograph Susan at the stud farm, making the trip that Mum was unable to do. My own knowledge of horses is very limited, so it will be a fascinating experience getting to know a little bit more about Susan and the Arabian horses.

Susan's husband, the actor Simon MacCorkindale, was sadly taken by bowel cancer in 2010. Susan has set up Lasting Life, the Simon MacCorkindale Legacy raising funds for cancer, specific needs and RAFT, a pioneering medical research organisation.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Christine Ohuruogu Olympic Gold Medal Winner On Board The New Book


Christine Ohuruogu is a 400m runner and has competed and won medals at the last three Olympics, making her only the second athlete to achieve that. Gold at Beijing in 2008, Silver at London in 2012 and Bronze in the relay at Rio in 2016. She is a double world champion and the British record holder. I am very much looking forward to meeting Christine at the Lea Valley Athletic Centre where she trains.

Meeting Christine will continue the Olympic theme that I started in the last book, Lives & Times, where I met Sir Steve Redgrave and Katherine Grainger. It will fascinating to find out a little bit more about what goes in to becoming a gold medal winning athlete.

The new, as yet untitled book, is being done in memory of my Mum, who passed away in August after a four year battle with bowel cancer. All proceeds raised from sales of the book will be donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. The book will also help to raise awareness about this awful illness that is still taking far too many people, and yet s very treatable if detected early.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Musician James Stevenson To Feature in The New Book


With almost 40 years experience as a musician, James Stevenson is going to make for a fascinating subject to meet and photograph for the new fundraising book for Beating Bowel Cancer. Aside from being in my favourite band, The Alarm, I wonder if it might be easier to list the bands and musicians he hasn't performed with! I reckon if James was to do a book like this one I am doing he would have no difficulty getting it packed full of famous faces.

James sent me a message from LA where he is at the moment, and we will hopefully be able to sort out a meeting once he gets back to the UK in a couple of weeks. Sadly James has also been touched by cancer, so it is a subject close to his heart as well.

For anyone who bought the last book, Lives & Times, James does feature in a photograph taken at Abbey Road, but you need to buy it to read the full story.

Actress Michelle Collins Will Feature in The New Book


More terrific news on my quest to get people to come on board the new fundraising book for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. Actress Michelle Collins has kindly agreed to take part in the book. Remembered by many as Cindy Beale in Eastenders, Michelle has been a star on stage and on our television screens for over 30 years. My own personal favourite television programme she appeared in was Sunburn. We will hopefully meet up to do the photo in the new year as Michelle is extremely busy this side of Christmas. It will make for another fascinating chapter in the book.

It's quite interesting coming at this new book from a "post Mum" situation. She got to see the last book, Lives & Times, but of course sadly won't get to see this new book. I know how proud she was of the last book, so I am doing all this in her memory.

Kevin Sheedy Joining The Forthcoming Book


Ex Everton footballer Kevin Sheedy has kindly agreed to feature in the new fundraising book. Kevin has beaten bowel cancer and he is now an ambassador for Beating Bowel Cancer, the charity I am raising funds for. He is still involved at Everton, now coaching the U18 side. 

Bowel cancer does not discriminate and can affect anyone. England's 1966 World Cup winning captain, Bobby Moore, sadly was taken by this awful illness. In my last book, Live & Times, I met ex West Ham goalkeeper Phil Parkes who had also beaten bowel cancer. I am sure meeting Kevin will be a fascinating experience. The question is can we do the photo on the Goodison Park pitch?

I have a couple more ex professional footballers on my radar at the moment. Arsenal legend Ian Wright and Eddie Gray from the legendary 1970s Leeds United side. So if anyone out there can assist with getting these two on board the new book I'd be very grateful.


Monday, 3 October 2016

Elizabeth Alker From BBC 6 Music Will Feature In The New Bowel Cancer Book


Elizabeth Alker works a music journalist and presenter on BBC 6 Music, and she can also be heard on Radio 3. I tried to get her to be in the last book, Lives & Times, so I am really happy that she has agreed to be in the new bowel cancer fundraising book. Just imagine a job where where you get to talk the biggest names in the music business. She succeeds where I have failed in getting interviews with just about any name you can think of... Will she let me in on the tricks of the trade? Of course I am equally sure that it must be a pretty tough job at times working very long hours to get just a few minutes of material that eventually gets broadcast. I find it quite fascinating, so I am looking forward to finding out a little more about Elizabeth and what she does.

The last month has flown by. My Mum passed away at the end of August after finally losing her 4 year long battle with bowel cancer, and since then I have decided to embark on doing this new book which has already started to build up an impressive cast. The idea behind the book is to raise funds for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity, and and also to raise awareness about bowel cancer. It is the 2nd highest cancer killer in the UK, and yet it can be successfully treated in over 90% of cases if detected early. The more names I can get to come on board the book, the more chance it has of getting a bigger profile and reaching a larger audience. On a personal level doing this book will give me a wonderful positive outlet while I come to terms with losing Mum...




Sunday, 2 October 2016

BBC Journalist Nick Robinson To Be In The New Book


Nick Robinson, the former BBC political editor and now a presenter on Today on Radio 4, will feature in the forthcoming bowel cancer fundraising book. One of the main stays of BBC news political reporting over the last decade, I am very much looking forward to meeting him. Away from his media career Nick has been going through his own cancer battle. He has published a book on the 2015 General Election and his own battle to report it.

It will be fascinating to get an inside as to the role of a journalist who has got to interview just about every big political hitter of the last 20 years or so. Hopefully I will get an insight into the professional journalist, the man battling cancer. and of course finding out about the first record he bought.

All proceeds from the forthcoming book will be donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity in memory of my Mum, who lost her four year battle with bowel cancer at the end of August. The current Lives & Times book and screen print have now raised over £2650 for the charity. Hopefully the new book will do equally as well.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

ESPNcricinfo Chief Cricket Correspondent George Dobell Supports Bowel Cancer Book


I am really happy to have got George Dobell, the chief cricket correspondent at ESPNcricinfo, on board the new bowel cancer fundraising. George is about to head off to warmer climates to cover cricket in the southern hemisphere, so we will arrange a meeting sometime next summer when he is back in the UK. Whilst looking for a photo of George on the internet, I came across this cracking one of him with the legendary Richie Benaud. 

Cricket was a big theme throughout the Lives & Times book, my last fundraising effort, and I am hopeful to get a few more cricket names on board this book. It was frustrating a week or so ago, as I realised a little too late in the day that George was in conversation with Jonathan Trott at the Henley Literary Festival talking about Jonathan's autobiography Unguarded. Very local to me and I would have loved to have gone to it, but this actually gave me the idea to contact George so it worked out well in the end. I have tried contacting Jonathan too, but I have yet to get a response.

It's one month since my Mum lost her 4 year battle with bowel cancer, and all proceeds from sales of the forthcoming book will be donated to Beating Bowel Cancer.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Welcome Aboard Janet Ellis


Terrific news as I can confirm that Janet Ellis has agreed to be in the new fundraising book for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. Perhaps best known for her time as a presenter on Blue Peter, she has been a regular face on our television screen for almost 40 years. This year she has published her first novel, The Butcher's Hook, and she is also the mother of Sophie Ellis-Bextor. This should all add up to making another fascinating chapter for the book.

The new book, which will follow on from Beating Bowel Cancer published in 2012 and Lives & Times published in 2015, will be in memory to my Mum. She fought a long battle with bowel cancer, but sadly passed away on August 29th. All proceeds raised from sales of the new book will be donated to Beating Bowel Bowel. As well as hopefully raising a decent amount of money for the charity, the other aim of the book will be to help raise awareness about bowel cancer. It is the second highest cancer killer in the UK, and yet if detected early is one of most treatable with a 90% survival rate.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

David Grant Will Be In The New Bowel Cancer Fundraising Book


David Grant is another celebrity who has agreed to be part of the new bowel cancer fundraising book for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. There are so many things he has been associated with, that it will be interesting to see how many of them I will get to talk to him about. His music career going back to the 1980s with Linx and his duet with Jackie Graham. His time on Fame Academy and his work as a vocal coach. Children's TV shows and he is now a regular presenter of Songs of Praise. I wonder what the first record David bought will be?

Since making the decision to do another book following losing Mum to bowel cancer on August 29th, I had a really good response so far. There are a few more names I will be revealing over the coming days and a few more who hove expressed an interest without yet confirming.



Monday, 26 September 2016

Beating Bowel Cancer CEO Mark Flannagan Joins The New Book


Having spent the last four years fundraising for Beating Bowel Cancer, I thought it was about time that the charity should be represented in one of the books. And who better than the man at the top of the tree, the CEO Mark Flannagan. He has been the Chief Executive since 2010. Throughout my association with the charity he has always been incredibly supportive and given me lots of encouragement. He always asked how Mum was doing and when I finally met him in person at the charity's Patient Day earlier this year he was incredibly welcoming.

Mark readily agreed to be part of the new book, so it will be an interesting chapter to do, as it will be interesting to learn a little more about Mark and perhaps his life both inside and outside of his work with the charity. I wonder what the first song he bought was?

Friday, 23 September 2016

Gina Shergold Will Feature In The New Bowel Cancer Book


Through the wonders of social media I have known Gina Shergold ever since I started fundraising for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. Gina's partner Steve was fighting bowel cancer, and she was writing the most informative and very personal blog about their journey. They later got married and went on to have little Esmee. However very sadly Steve passed away in November 2015 aged just 33. Bowel cancer is still very much perceived as an older person's illness, but more and more young people are being diagnosed. A lot more work needs to be done. Gina does fundraising work for cancer charities and also helps bowel cancer charities in raising awareness about this awful disease. 

I am really happy that Gina is going to take part in the new book. She has become an inspiration to so many people associated with bowel cancer, and it will lovely to find out a little more about her story. It is a chapter that will hopefully touch people, but it will also be a warm, inspiring piece too. I am also looking forward to finding out about the first record she bought..

This week has been a pretty emotional week as we laid our Mum to rest. She lost her long 4 year battle with bowel cancer on August 29th. All proceeds raised from sales of the new book, when published, will be donated to Beating Bowel Cancer. Please take a look at my www.bowelcancerfundraisingwebsite.co.uk website to see the items I am already selling to raise funds for the charity. 

I am still without a title for the new book, so any suggestions are welcome.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Smiley Joins The New Bowel Cancer Book


The third person, and the first musical artist, to be revealed for the new book is drummer Steve 'Smiley' Barnard. Among the many artists he has banged the drums for include Robbie Williams, Joe Strummer, The Mock Turtles, and From The Jam. He currently is drumming for Archive and The Alarm, and it is through my love of The Alarm that I have got know more about him.

He is also a record producer and has a recording studio in Fleet, which is where I hope we will meet up. He has released three solo albums, so he really is a busy working musician. Not forgetting he is family man too! It's going to be fascinating to get an insight into his world.

I took the photo of Smiley and bassist Craig Adams at the famous Abbey Road recording studios for The Scriptures project. To find out more about that amazing experience and will need to buy the Lives & Times book published in 2015.

My mother recently passed away after a four year battle with bowel cancer, and all proceeds raised from the new book and everything else I do are donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Laura Boyd Comes On Board New Bowel Cancer Book


Laura Boyd is the second name that I can reveal who has come on board the new fundraising book for Beating Bowel Cancer. I am really pleased that she agreed to be in this one as I almost managed to get her for the Lives & Times book. Laura works on STV as an entertainment reporter and also works as a showbiz producer. She also sings in a band! She has been living with leukemia since 2009 and she has just celebrated her 7 year cancerversary still being alive.

So at some point I shall be making a trip up to Scotland to meet Laura and find out a lot more about her story and of course what the first record she bought was?

Today, sadly, we lay Mum to rest after she lost her long 4 year fight with bowel cancer 3 weeks ago. Her funeral is being held at Littlewick Green near Maidenhead where her many friends from all walks of her life will join us to celebrate her wonderful life.



Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Time to Reveal the First Name


It's time to reveal the first name on board the new fundraising book for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. Sean Fletcher reads the sports news on ITV's Good Morning Britain. Sadly he lost his mother to bowel cancer in 2006 and he is now an ambassador for Beating Bowel Cancer. I am looking forward to meeting Sean as he has also worked for the BBC and SKY and speaks fluent Welsh, being married to a Welsh girl. Getting to know a little more about his story will make for a fascinating chapter, and he has already revealed to me the first record he bought. That will be something you will have to buy the book to find out...

I shall be revealing more names over the coming days. The initial response from people has been very encouraging, and it's very early days of course.


Tomorrow we lay our dear Mum to rest. She fought bowel cancer for over four years before losing the battle on August 29th. The new book will be dedicated to her memory.

Monday, 19 September 2016

The New Fundraising Book


My Mum was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer in 2012, and she had a successful operation to remove a section of her bowel. The cancer spread to her lungs as a secondary cancer, now becoming stage 4. She had four further operations on her lungs to remove cancerous nodules. Finally, the cancer also spread to her brain and she had Cyberknife treatment on the two lesions. Sadly one of lesions didn't respond and her health deteriorated. She peacefully passed away in August 2016 at the St, Marks Nursing Home in Maidenhead.

During those four years I published two fundraising books, Beating Bowel Cancer & Lives & Times to raise funds for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity, both of which are available on my www.bowelcancerfundraising.co.uk website. Alongside a walk up Mount Snowdon in 2014 the fundraising has raised around £6000 for the charity so far.

I have been thinking about doing a third book for some time, and I think it would fitting to do a book dedicated to Mum's memory raising more funds for Beating Bowel Cancer. Another important aspect of what these book do is helping to raise awareness about bowel cancer. This cannot be underestimated! Bowel cancer is the 2nd biggest cancer killer in the UK, and yet can be successfully treated in over 90% of cases if detected early. Too many are lost to this disease.. The idea for the book is that I go and meet and photograph people and write up about the experience in anecdotal form. This is the way I did Lives & Times. The difference this time is that there will be a constant theme running through it, where I will ask everyone I meet, "What was the first record you bought?" The book will feature people from all walks of life, and I am hoping to attract some high profile names to boost interest in the book.

So this blog will follow the progress of the book right through to publication and beyond. I am always happy to receive offers of help, especially for ideas on who to contact and especially if anyone can help set up an interesting photo. And I also need a suitable title for this book, which hasn't yet popped up into my mind.