Misty Morning at the Cemetery in Swindon

This morning I spent an hour or so wandering around a very misty Clifton Street Cemetery in Swindon. It was lovely and not spooky at all, as much as I wanted it to be!!!! and unfortunately didn’t see any strange happenings. This cemetery is fascinating as it has lots of old G.W.R. workers graves as well as Commonwealth War Graves. I have only been round a small part of it so far and intend to spend a lot more time there looking around and photographing the graves.

VJ Day Service at the Cenotaph in Swindon Town Centre

Saturday 15th there was a small service held at the Cenotaph in Swindon Town Centre to commemorate VJ Day or the ending of the war in Asia 70 years ago.

Swindon Holocaust Memorial Service

Today saw the Swindon Holocaust Memorial Service take place. It was fitting that it was a grey overcast day (excellent for photography) for the short service held at the Cenotaph in Swindon. It was quite well attended by the general public and some of the local dignitaries including Councillor Teresa Page Mayor of Swindon, Angus MacPherson Police and Crime Commissioner for Swindon and Wiltshire was tucked away amongst the public and also Derique Montaut Labour Councillor, there were of course many more if you knew where to look.

It was a quite short service but it was good to see that Swindon held it again this year especially as it is 70 years today.

Holocaust Memorial Day Service in Swindon

Despite this event taking place in public I have removed the images as one person in a couple of them complained about being in them. I did explain that as she was in and the event took place in a public place that I was legally allowed to take and publish them, I did remove them as this is now old news and makes no difference to me. Whilst the images are not important it could be construed that I had made an assumption that they were a ‘couple’ whereas in fact they are both single and not attached to each other.

As an accredited jounalist and member of the NUJ I just wanted to point out that we as jounalist are allowed to take photographs in public places of public events.

At 12:00 on 27th January there was a small but well attended wreath laying ceremony in Swindon Town Centre to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day. Despite the inclement weather it was well attended by Swindon dignitaries including the Conservative MP for Swindon South Robert Buckland and Mayor Nick Martin who laid the wreath.

Simon Weston and Mike Penning at Swindon Disability Conference

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing Simon Weston Falklands War Veteran and disability campaigner. Along with Mike Penning Minister of State for Disabled People at the Swindon SEQOL Disability Confident Conference held at the Steam Museum. Both really nice guys to talk to, in fact everybody there was a pleasure to work with and talk to.

Jahmene Douglas What a Nice Person Swindon Xmas Lights

Last night I was the official photographer for inSwindon at the Christmas Lights switch on. I took some 600 images and I am still processing them and will put up another blog post shortly with my favourite images. But I wanted to put these up and just to say what a nice young man Jahmene is. This isnt the first time I have photographed him but it is the first time I have had a chat with him. At an exclusive pre switch on shoot in his dressing room he even offered to share his food and drink with me. And when back stage after the switch on he made sure that he was looking at me when I was shooting images of him.
To be honest I have never heard any negative comments about him anyway but I guess sometimes you hear that some times when people get famous they change and become diva’s. Well in my opinion that has not happened to Jahmene, he was a pleasure to work with.

The Face of Remembrance in Swindon

Nothing to say on this really other than that the Remembrance Parade, Service, Ceremony here in Swindon is still as strong as ever after a large turn out of both those who took part in the parade and the public who came to support. The weather was perfect, a bright sunny November day.

Royal Wootton Bassett Field of Remembrance Opening Ceremony

Crowds gathered in the pouring rain to remember the brave servicemen and women who fought and died in the Afghanistan conflict at a service at The Royal British Legion’s Field of Remembrance at Royal Wootton Bassett today.

Some 46,000 crosses have been planted within the walled garden in Lydiard Park in Remembrance to the 446 Service people that have been killed since the start of the conflict in 2001. A number of civic dignitaries, guests, members of the Armed Forces and school children planted crosses during the service.

For me the most poignant of all was young Emma Hickman and her baby daughter. Emma was the fiancee of Private Daniel Wade who was killed in Afghanistan in 2012.

BEST OF SWINDON CONCERT

Last night I was at The Best of Swindon concert at the Oasis. It was a concert put on to showcase and celebrate the wealth of musical talent in or from Swindon. And what a wealth of talent. Each and every act was excellent.
Now I dont want to use the phrase ‘the star of the show’ because they were all stars but the concert bill was headed by Jahmene Douglas. Have to say he was really good, especially when he sang with his church gospel choir.
It was also very nice as it felt very much a small, local concert as the acts ended up waving and chatting with members of the audience who they knew or perhaps went to school with etc.

The other artists were Theo Alteiri, Josh Kumra, Queen of Hearts and Colour the Atlas, all very very good.

Altogether a very good night. Well done guys.

Repatriation at Brize Norton of Two Scottish Soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Yesterday I attended the Repatriation of Cpl William Savage and Fusilier Samuel Flint of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland at Brize Norton. The soldiers were two of the three who were killed by a road side bomb in Afghanistan on the 30th April.

Despite absolutely awful weather of driving rain and 50mph winds hundreds turned out to send them on their way.

Particularly sad was watching the 27 year old wife of Cpl William Savage who is expecting their son shortly.

What was also interesting for me was I hooked up with the other photographers there from Getty, Reuters, AFP etc and had some very interesting discussions about the state of the industry!!!

Back to the repatriation though, I believe that even if you dont support what is happening in Afghanistan etc if the opportunity arrises you should try to go to at least one repatriation service. It is an experience. For me despite going to pretty much all of them and having published a successful book of images and poems about them in Wootton Bassett I still really feel for the families of those that have fallen.