Category Archives: Heroes

The list is endless, so don’t be offended if you’re not on it yet, this is work in progress.

Salisbury Hospice

Well I hadn’t heard of the Hospice at Salisbury Hospital until I was referred there by my GP.

I have to say they have been absolutely fantastic. It was my misconception that people go into a Hospice when they are near to death and to spend their last few days/weeks. That of course does happen but actually their other role is symptom relief or ‘Palliative Care‘ for terminally ill individuals.

They have really helped me out over the last couple of weeks and I am again a resident here with them helping me to try to get on top of  the fits/blackouts I’ve started having. I’d been warned when I was initially diagnosed last August 2010 that I would get fits but it’s taken until now for it to start to happening. They are a result of one of the brain tumours I have which is now growing again. It’s the most bizarre feeling I’ve ever had. Only last a few seconds but it feels like your brain is vibrating inside your head, you get wobbly vision and just lose control of arms and legs for 2-3 seconds, thankfully I’ve only piled in once and that was in the house so soft landing. Correction, piled in big time today onto concrete, thankfully only a few bruises although the dizziness is coming more and more often now. It is very frustrating.

It’s so reassuring to be in  a safe environment like the Hospice and to just know they are keeping an eye on me and tweaking my medications as necessary. I was surprised to find that considering the service they provide they are only 50% publicly funded. Please have a look at their website and if you are able to a donation would be very gratefully received

The staff and facilities are highly professional and I really don’t know what I’d be doing without them at the moment!

Tough Guy Photos

What an awesome day!!! A crazy mad competition which attracts the most adventure/extreme sportspersons ever. I have the fullest respect for everyone that does this, the determination it takes just to even enter this, it’s insane! I felt guilty just being a spectator and watching the agony the competitors were going through just to drag themselves around the course.

Kady, Phil and I were exceptionally well hosted by Ingrid and Doug of the Tough Guy Team, couldn’t have asked for more.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Gareth, Graeham and Dave, what an amazing effort. Hopefully the photos will speak for themselves but not only did they put themselves through hell, but they also raised a lot of money for charity. There’s still plenty of time to donate so if you’re feeling generous Link

Look at the sheer effort going on here:

The long awaited finish:

A Remarkable Lady 13 Jun 1921 – 30 Dec 2010

Sadly my Gran – known in our family as ‘Nanna’ passed away last week. She was a truly remarkable lady who I was always and remain in great admiration of. I was lucky enough to be able to find the strength to travel to Manchester on two occasions recently to visit her in hospital. I will never forget the joy on her face as I showed her mine and Kady’s wedding photos on my iPad. I will also forever be immensely proud of the spirit she showed in dealing with her own illness in the last few months, not easy for someone of 89.

I will be sure to do her proud by following her example. She was in and out of hospital for quite an extended period of time before she passed away and I am grateful that she is no longer suffering and is at  peace now. Her strength of character, sense of humour and cutting wit continued to the end.

I have no doubt she is  reunited with her beloved husband my Grandad now, I shall miss her dearly but know we will meet again at some point. God Bless her.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tough Guy 2011 Supporting Wounded Soldiers Through the Charity Help for Heroes

If you’ve never heard of this competition then have a look at this link

Now a number of guys I know have very kindly volunteered to put themselves through this hellish experience – which I know of more than one soldier who has been scared off by – in order to raise money for the charity Help for Heroes. Talk about selflessness as none of them are even serving in the Army. This charity does amazing work in helping provide the facilities that assist our wounded soldiers in their recovery.

Anyway, I implore you to have a look at their fund raising page and if you can sponsor them then fantastic. This blog has had over 17,000 hits, even if everyone just gave £1 that would provide a huge amount of assistance to these young men and women in their recovery upon returning from Afghanistan with life changing injuries.

I cannot underline enough just how tough this competition is these guys have volunteered themselves for, this isn’t just some cross-country run, it’s hell on earth! Check out some of the You Tube videos at the charity giver link above, it really is mental, I would not want to be the risk assessor!

Please give generously, this charity really counts.

Chilli Films and a Preview of the Wedding DVD

Chilli Films came highly recommended to us by Matt Cox a good friend from work. Having a video done of the wedding was not something that Kady and I had really considered. Boy I’m glad we did in the end, everybody told us before that there would be so much going on that we would miss 90% of the big day. If anything I think that was an understatement, the figure was nearer 98% and even this preview has brought back so many memories that we’d completely forgotten already, we can’t wait to see the final DVD!

Hannah Manning who runs Chilli Films was utterly professional and helpful right from the word go. Considering we were only able to give her four weeks notice she pulled out all the stops to get the right preparatory measures in place to ensure the filming on the day would go to plan. Both Kady and  I were incredibly impressed by the way both her and her husband Doug the second cameraman went about their business. They were unobtrusive yet always seemed to be in just the right place to get the shots needed. Testament to how good they were is that our Padre Tony Coslett, who was quite sensitive about people encroaching on the ceremony, I don’t think even noticed they were there.

Not only were Hannah and Doug professional in their business of being cameramen, they were also fantastic at shepherding the 180 plus cats (guests) we had at the wedding around. Ensuring that as the day got more drunken, there were still plenty of video messages being left and also that the key events were being filmed. Both incredibly courteous and friendly, we couldn’t have hoped for a more professional or helpful team. When all the timings started to run over – again as we’d been warned they would – Hannah and Doug remained flexible and pushed on with the filming, Kady and I really felt for them, boy they worked hard that day!

After the wedding Channel 5 news did a story on us, Hannah was able at incredibly short notice to produce a short wedding clip to be used by them, again incredibly flexible. The overall experience of dealing with Chilli Films has been second to none and we can’t thank or recommend them highly enough!

Hope you enjoy the preview of the Wedding DVD, please remember this is copyright to Chilli Films so no downloading, re-posting, publishing etc without their express agreement

REDZ Photography

I’ve known the proprietor Jay since 1996 when we were both soldiers serving together in Germany, I like to think he learnt a lot from me when I used to fix his vehicle for him in my former Army career as an electronics technician. Of course he’s about to deny that in the comments below…  We bumped into each other sporadically over the years as people in the Army do and it was always good to catch up.

When I arrived in my current job in September 2009 Jay was just finishing off his career in the Army. My Regiment does an horrendous competition every year where you have to do a 13 1/2 mile speed march carrying a ridiculous amount of weight as well as a rifle. I found myself plodding around this in my second week in the job in early October 09, thinking my world was coming to an end and wishing I hadn’t just spent 2 years sat behind a desk. Jay was pretty much out of the Army by then and was using his photography skills to capture the pain on everyone’s faces. Of course, he was being sensible and following the marchers on his Mountain Bike. He cycled with me for about my last 2 miles, chatting, catching up, reminiscing about Germany days and managing to distract me sufficiently to get me to the finish line without disgracing myself.

Jay went on to become a professional photographer and I think if you go to his website, you’ll see he’s made a great success of it. As with any kind of professional he’s not just acquired the technical skills to do the job, but he’s got the passion and the ‘eye’ for it:

When I received my devastating news and Kady and I decided to fast forward our wedding by a year, Jay was one of the first to get in touch, offering his services as a now well established wedding photographer and as a friend not as a business proposition. He rapidly took control advising us and getting the ball rolling to ensure a professional photo package was discussed, planned and subsequently executed. Due to all the medical stuff going on at the time Kady and I were under a severe amount of pressure, Jay was a huge help to us and we really would have been lost without him.

At the wedding he ran things to perfection getting everyone organized, producing hundreds of stunning pictures and making things run smoothly, even still getting amazing results in the midst of the most torrential downpour. Since then he’s been working like a demon putting together a professional book for us.

Not only has he done all that though, but he’s also been advising/teaching/and assisting me in my own rapidly growing interest in photography, the use of cameras and the software to manipulate it all. He’s spent a lot of time helping me learn how to build this website which until 4 weeks ago is something I’d never even attempted. There have been quite a number of times I’ve gotten completely stuck and Jay has come to the rescue.

Passionate  in his photography, professional, incredibly helpful and hard working in everything he does, Kady and I really cannot thank him enough for everything he’s done for us.

The Second Great Tattoo Adventure – Droylsden Tattoo Studio

Well as many people told me it would, the bug got me! My brother-in-law Adam who took me for my first one and therefore whose fault this all is – please note wife – knew of an excellent tattoo place in Droylsden, Manchester run by a top ex-army guy called Howard Lee.

Adam, determined to get me more ‘inked’ up had discussed me with Howard who very kindly agreed to give me the Celtic Cross I’d always pondered getting. This one hurt slightly more than the bit of Arabic writing I’d had before but still thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Howard was incredibly professional and I can’t recommend him highly enough, amazing also the shared experiences we had from being based in Germany – mainly consisting of boozers and kebab shops – as  well as guys we both know.

Finished tattoo looks pretty damn good to me, I’d like to promise Kady that will be the last one but I’m already debating what might complement the Arabic writing on my left shoulder…

Some might question my motives as tattoos were never to my taste and aren’t to many other people. I had a comment on Facebook from a lady called Chantelle who is also suffering with cancer  and I think she hit the nail on the head. I hope she won’t mind me quoting her:

‘I did the same during my treatment. I already had 2 tatts, but the one on my thigh needed a cover up (drunken holiday at 18!). So, I had that done when I was first diagnosed, and at each stage it extended up my side. It now goes from my thigh to halfway up my ribs. God knows why I wanted to put myself through even more pain, but it was something I just needed to do! Hopefully you may understand the mindset, lol. It was a pain that I had chosen to have and therefore was in control of I suppose. Anyway fellow MM…. good ink :-))’

In other words, it’s all about doing the crazy things you normally wouldn’t and also, in some small way regaining control of what’s happening to your body after it’s been ripped away from you. So there we go…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Mess Dress Tailors, Bournemouth

I’d used these guys in the past and they’d always been incredibly helpful and professional. When presented with the question of could you make me a set of Military Number One Dress Uniform in three weeks, which is almost unheard of in less than two months, the answer was a resounding yes! They could not have been more helpful. A swift measuring up, whilst leaving plenty of slack for the inevitable weight gain that I knew was coming with the steroids and off they went. They turned me from this scruffy oik:

to this:

in three weeks, always with the utmost courtesy and professionalism. Gokan and Ertan you were absolute gentlemen, thank you so much.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.