Thursday, 31 August 2017

Photographing Janet Ellis for Bowel Cancer Charity Book

I spent an amazing hour this morning in the company of Janet Ellis. I'd had to postpone our meeting on at least two occasions, but Janet was incredibly understanding and only too happy to rearrange. Naturally, we talked about her time on Blue Peter, but also her life as an actor, television presenter, author, newspaper columnist, and of course being a mother. As you can see Janet was a great sport with the bowel cancer tie, and she came up with an interesting first record she bought, which you will be able to find out about once the new book is published. I am looking forward to writing up the chapter, as she was fascinating to talk to, and was so kind and supportive of the book, just a really lovely lady.

The Record, 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 was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012, but sadly passed away in August 2016. All proceeds raised from sales of the new book will be donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. As well as hopefully raising a decent amount of money, 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 claiming 16,000 lives each year, and yet if detected early is one of most treatable with a 90% survival rate.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Dr Who Companion On Board Bowel Cancer Fundraising Book

A year ago today my Mum lost her four and a half year fight with bowel cancer, so although it's been a poignant day, I have been determined not to let it be too sad, and focus on the happy memories. The new bowel cancer fundraising book is going well with around 20 people met and photographed so far, and about 30 more still to do. So on a day tinged with sadness, I am also very happy and delighted to be able to announce that actor Nicola Bryant has agreed to be in the book. She played Peri Brown, Dr Who's American companion, in the 1980s. This is exciting stuff for me, as I have watched the programme since the days of Jon Pertwee in the 1970s. This should be fascinating, as not only will there be Dr Who stuff to talk about, but also about her life and career since then. 

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Deborah James 1979 - 2017

Today is the funeral of Deborah James, who passed away on July 27th aged just 37. My thoughts today are very much with her family and friends. I know an awful lot of effort has been put into making today a very special send off, and celebration of her life.

I came into contact with Debs on social media in 2015 around the time that I published my last book, Lives & Times, which she kindly bought, and we stayed in regular contact. She was one of the first people to agree to be in this new fundraising book I am putting together for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. We met at the beginning of May at the Sixfields Leisure Park in Northampton. At that time Debs was still very positive, and determined to do everything she could to stay healthy, and live as long as possible in spite of an awful prognosis. She told me that when she was younger, she said she would live to be 100, and with her lovely infectious laugh she then said that it was still possible. In fact Deb's laugh was constant throughout, even during the bits where we chatted about the most difficult subjects relating to her illness. Although I only got to meet her once, that experience definitely left a mark on me, and I'm sorry that I didn't get the opportunity to know her a little better and see her again. She wrote a wonderful blog, My Joyful Gut!, which is well worth a read. She had set up her own business, which was raising awareness about cancer at the workplace, supporting businesses, cancer patients and their families affected by cancer. She was a quite special person, who will be missed by so many people.

Debs and I agreed that the chapter on her in the book should be written as of that moment in time of our meeting. I wanted her to see the chapter as it would appear in the finished book. I wrote it up and sent it to Debs, who thankfully was very pleased with it. I will not change it, apart from a few lines of explanation that I've added to the start of it. 

Bowel cancer is the most terrible disease. The second highest cancer killer in the UK, claiming 16,000 lives each year, and yet if detected early it can be successfully treated in over 90% of cases. So much more needs to be done in raising awareness about bowel cancer to reduce the numbers losing their lives, and the sadness and devastation caused to the families left behind. My Mum lost her 4 year battle with bowel cancer in August 2016, and all proceeds from sales on the new book will be donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Meeting Billy Ocean in Oxford

I met up with Billy Ocean at Oxford on his recent UK tour. He gave me a few minutes after the show to have a chat and photograph him for the new book. He was a lovely man, interested in what I was doing, and revealed a very interesting first song.

The concert was great, if not my usual kind of stuff 😆 However, to see him sing his classic hit 'Red Light Spells Danger' was worth the ticket price alone. I must have been the only person there wearing an Alarm t-shirt and a Frank Turner hoodie!

My Mum lost her four and half year battle with bowel cancer almost a year ago. All proceeds raised from sales of the forthcoming book will be donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. As well as raising funds the book will hopefully help to raise awareness about this awful disease. Please check out my website for all the items that I am selling to raise funds for the charity.