Sunday, 25 November 2012

Beating Bowel Cancer Charity Fundraising Photographic Book

In April 2012 the dreaded cancer word came into our family. One minute I was sitting with my mother expecting a normal discharge from hospital, and then in the blink of an eye our world was turned upside down when we were told that mum had bowel cancer. She had been having trouble going to the toilet and was sent to Wexham Park Hospital for an endoscopy, and it was at that point we learned she had bowel cancer. Her treatment involved radiotherapy and chemotherapy to shrink the tumour, before a successful operation to remove it was performed in September. She is making an excellent recovery, although she still faces an operation to remove a cancerous nodule from her lung in January.

The care and attention mum received both at Mount Vernon and Wexham Park was first class, and it was while mum was undergoing treatment that I decided I wanted to do something to raise funds for a cancer charity and give something back. Unfortunately running a business on my own imposes restrictions as to what I could do, but the idea of writing a book seemed the perfect solution. I have been a keen amateur photographer for about a year and the idea I had was to write a book featuring photos on various subjects, ideas and technical approaches. “Beating Bowel Cancer” therefore is a charity book featuring a collection of photographs and the stories behind them to raise funds for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. All proceeds will be donated to the charity.

The ebook version on Amazon is only £1.65 of which the £0.97 I earn will be donated to the charity. It is for the Kindle, but there are freely available Kindle reader apps for Ipads, Iphones and computers. From outside the UK please use

The physical book version is available for £7.21 (or maybe £6.49 if Amazon keep a reduction in place) on Amazon and can also be bought from Create Space for $11.49. All physical copies will raise £1.01 for the charity.

There is a justgiving page for anyone wishing to make a donation to the charity.

The plan is to try and sell 1000 copies, and as at the end of January 2013 I have sold 138 copies so I have a long way to go! Absolutely every penny I earn is going to be donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. To have any chance of doing this not only am I asking people to buy a copy, but to help spread the word to as many people as you can through as many channels open to you as possible. The marketing seems to be a much bigger challenge than writing the book itself. If anyone wants to know more they can email me here.

The first media article has appeared in the Reading Post, which will hopefully increase book sales and awareness about the disease.

With continuing media interest, and hopefully two more newspaper articles this week in the Reading Chronicle and Maidenhead Advertiser it looks like I will be making my newspaper photographer debut as I have taken a new photo of me, mum and the book to be used by media organisations.

The Reading Chronicle article...

The Maidenhead Advertiser article...

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Revisiting Sussex

Going down to Chichester recently to visit my old primary school friend David Beattie meant I travelled down the A285, which was the same road we used to travel down on our family holidays each year as children. It was always an exciting trip and we would head down from Maidenhead on a Friday night after dad finished work or early on the Saturday morning. We would spent the week at Pagham on the South Coast in a bungalow on the beach, and we went there every summer until I was well into my teens.

Once we had travelled through the small town of Petworth we knew we weren't too far from our final destination by the sea. There were two landmarks we would see on that final part of the journey, which I stopped at to take in on my recent trip.The first was Duncton Hill which has stunning views looking across the Rother Valley.

On the other side of Duncton Hill there is the Hanlaker Mill, which as children we would excitedly try and spot first. The windmill dates back to 1750 and was restored in 1934. It is one of the oldest surviving windmills in Sussex. It was the only time each year we would see a real windmill, the only other one would be on the children's television show Camberwick Green!

It was quite a nostalgic drive bringing back many happy childhood memories and also of course of my wonderful dad...

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The Lake District

Autumn 2012 saw my first visit to The Lake District in 30 years since I was last there with my dad as a teenager. There is no doubt that back then I would not have appreciated the place as I much as I did this time as it was truly amazing. I only had a day there so I crammed in as much as possible, and the first two photos are of Thirlmere Lake. The first snows arrived the weekend I was there so many of the higher peaks were covered in snow making for even more beautiful scenic back drops.The autumn colours were stunning and I loved seeing the low clouds struggling to clear the mountain ranges.

One of the main problems in this modern era of tourism I had was finding parking. The car parks were expensive especially when I only wanted to spend a few minutes taking photographs. So eventually at Derwentwater, where a swan kindly posed for me, I joined The National Trust, which gave me the benefit of free parking immediately in National Trust car parks and also will open up a whole new of adventures for me gong forward with so many places to now go and see in the UK.

The Honister Pass was a pretty spectacular drive with steep inclines and the most amazing views. I got to the point where I wondered if I had taken a wrong turning as the road got so narrow and bendy!

Crummock Lake was another stunning location, although the only problem was finding somewhere to capture a decent photo.

Driving across The Whinlatter Pass gave stunning views across towards Bassenthwaite Lake. Even in early November the roads were a little icy and with the altitude it was easy to appreciate just how easily these roads can become impassable in winter.

After descending down from higher ground I came to Ullswater, and the clouds had quickly gathered showing just how quickly the weather conditions can change here. You here stories on the news about people having to be rescued and I now can totally appreciate how you need to be prepared for any condition when you set off.

My final photogrpahic stop as on the Kirkstone Pub, where the amazing Kirkstone Inn is situated at 1500ft the Inn is the highest inhabited building in Cumbria and the third highest Inn in England. The views looking down from the top of the pass towards Lake Windermere were stunning.

There simply wasn't enough time to do everything in a day, so it just means I will have to go back for another visit. It was quite nostalgic revisiting a place I had last been to so many years ago with dad as I imagine not so much has changed since we travelled some of the same roads back then. It is the most amazing part of England and getting a taste of it has left me wanting more, and so another trip will hopefully be not too far away.