£500 raised for The Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity

Here I am presenting the cheque for £500 to Caitlin from The Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity

At the end of last year I released my 3rd annual Peak District Calendar and decided that this time I wanted to raise some money for charity, so a few months later and 250 calendar sales on I am proud and excited to announce that this morning I presented The Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity with a cheque for £500!

Why I decided to raise money for TCHC through my Peak District Calendar.

In June 2016 I was lucky enough to welcome my beautiful daughter Robyn into the world, to date the proudest moment of my life and one I will never forget, unfortunately within 48 hours there were some concerns with a blood test and we discovered that she had an alarmingly low platelet count. Alarm bells rang in my head and it was all too familiar of a condition my wife Jess had suffered from several years earlier, we looked at each other and our hearts sunk a mile, all we wanted to do was to get our newly established little family home and enjoy being new parents.

We spent the next 10 days in hospital with Robyn, a good chunk of this time was spent in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit facility in Jessops Hospital where Robyn had the transfusions she needed to help boost her platelet count as well as being hooked up to machines to monitor her. Hands down it was one of the most daunting, scary and heartbreaking things to see as a parent; don’t get me wrong, there were babies in there too who had more serious conditions but we were still petrified. But with that aside the nurses and doctors in the unit were amazing and did so much to give us faith and raise our spirits and it’s being in an environment like that where you realise just how hard our NHS staff work to do the best for their patients.

Once Robyn had left Jessops we were passed over to The Sheffield Children’s Hospital and the level of care and devotion received was no different, there were many trips back and forth in order to monitor Robyn’s condition. This included some more transfusions while up on one of the ward’s, unfortunately being back at work meant that a lot of this was down to Jess. One experience I will never forget her telling me was walking onto the ward for Robyn to have a transfusion of platelets and just having one of those moments where you feel broken, perplexed, fed up – that time when you really need someone to wrap their arms around you and tell you everything is going to be okay! It must have been written right across her face in giant letters as one of the nurses on the ward took one look at her and did just that, she put her arms around her, took Robyn and offered compassion.

Here’s me and Robyn cheering England on against Wales in the 6 Nations

Robyn is all happy and healthy now

And now at nearly 8 months young Robyn is doing amazing, growing up fast and a strong little girl – oh and she has me wrapped right around her little finger!

The work that they continue to do at the hospital and the way in which all the staff behaves it enough to give people hope in the face of adversity and I am humbled to have been able to give something back to help that continue.

There are still a few calendars left and I will continue to donate £2 from each one sold if you’re still looking for one you can order them here.

David Bowie tribute

So like many people across the world I woke up on the morning of Monday 11 January ready to start the day. I did what I am sure many people do nowadays, I turned to my side and reached to the bedside table to pick up my iPhone, I unlocked the screen and began to scroll through my various social media feeds only to come across a raft of horrific posts. The horrific posts were the plethora of announcements, tributes, exasperations and deep sadness from people at the terrible news of the loss of one of the greatest musicians to walk the earth; David Bowie had sadly passed away at the age of 69 at his home in New York after an 18 month battle with Liver Cancer.

Just 2 weeks ago Bowie released his last, and 25th studio recorded album, Blackstar. Little did any of us know that not only would this be his last album, but it was a gift from him for us all – working right to the end just showed the passion he had for the music industry. Tony Visconti, Bowie’s lifelong producer, published a Facebook post at 03:49 on 11 January saying:

He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life – a work of Art. He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn’t, however, prepared for it. He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry.

He really was right that Bowie “was an extraordinary man, full of love and life”. I have been in London on a course for the last few days and I decided to visit Bowie’s hometown of Brixton this evening (Tuesday 12 January 2016) to go an pay tribute as many other have done. So I hopped on the tube from Waterloo station and made the 30 minute journey over to Tunstall Road, Brixton while listening to a whole host of Bowie tracks on my headphones for company. It’s been a while since I listened to Bowie and I had to ask myself why I hadn’t listened to much of his work lately which I couldn’t answer, instead I played my favourite Bowie record over and over again – Ziggy Stardust!

I hopped off the tube at Brixton and tapped out of the station exit and continued up to the street, as I walked up I wasn’t sure what I would see until I reached the crossing at the corner of the Morley’s store. There was a gathering of people opposite the Subway store which sits across from the famous Brixton Bowie mural created by famous street artist James Cochran. As I reached the crossing you could see the heap of flowers and glow of candles left by the plethora of Bowie fans.

I had arrived at the shrine to David Bowie right here in the heart of his hometown in Brixton, London. There was a slightly sombre mood but not one of great sadness either, more a mood of appreciation and respect for one of the greatest artists to grace us with his talent and presence. You could see the speaker still strapped to a tree in the street where Bowie tracks had been blasting from last night when fans gathered and held a huge street party in his honour.

I stood a while watching people, still listening to Bowie on my headphones, read some of the messages people had left and took a few photos to remember the moment. After this I headed up towards Ritzy’s Picturehouse who were displaying a tribute to Bowie on the front, it reads:

David Bowie. Our Brixton Boy. RIP

After which I headed to the Brixton POW for a swift pint before heading back onto the tube to my hotel in Waterloo. While I am sat here doing a quick edit on the photos below and writing this blog post (with a nice pint of ELB Pale Ale to hand) it is hard not to think how sad it is to have lost such a great musician to such a god awful disease which seems to be taking so many friends, family and talented people from our grasp. But I am proud that I am lucky enough to have had Bowie in my lifetime, to have watched Labyrinth on the TV as a child and I know this; that I will make sure that when my child is born he/she will know Bowie’s music!

Rest In Peace David Bowie and goodbye Starman! Here are the few images I took tonight (click to view bigger):

People take photos of the Bowie shrine

People taking photos of the monument and shrine to the artist David Bowie

The famous Bowie Brixton mural by James Cochran

The famous David Bowie mural painted by James Cochran, now a shrine to the amazing musician

Crowds of people pay tributes at the Brixton David Bowie shrine

Crowds gather to pay tribute to David Bowie

Ritzy's Picturehouse David Bowie tribute

Ritzy’s Picturehouse displaying their own tribute to the passing of David Bowie – “David Bowie. Our Brixton Boy. RIP”

David Bowie tribute in Brixton

Flowers left at the shrine to David Bowie following his sad passing to Liver Cancer at the age of 69 in 2016


Bamford Christmas lights 2014

Well it’s that time of year again where we’re all getting ready for Christmas and Bamford has been no exception to the rule. Although it does have to be said that there has been an overwhelmingly exceptional support for the Bamford Christmas lights project Read more