Almost there…

A week today and it will just about be over!

Almost two years of volunteering with the North Shields Fishermen’s Heritage Project (NSFHP) to raise £75,000 for a memorial to fishermen lost at sea from the port of North Shields is drawing to a close. The memorial will be unveiled on Sunday 24th September.

NSFHP raised the money in about 10 months of serious fundraising – it’s been a roller coaster of a ride!

At the end of the Project I had planned to write a book about it, with lots of photographs of the memorial being made. I went to the sculptors workshop 15 times to photograph it’s development (at my own cost – nothing was claimed from NSFHP as expenses).

Charlie (another member of NSFHP) has been writing a book about the project for several months now. I haven’t had a chance to even made a start yet on my ‘book’. 😦

Charlie is essentially a historian, so his book would have been poles apart from what I had planned to publish. I think there would have been ‘space’ for two books because we would have been approaching it from entirely different perspectives.

I have however spoken to another author on the mechanics of getting a book published (and the cost of it)  – after an hour of chatting to him, I decided that it probably wasn’t for me! I have already spent a small fortune putting together the photographs and organising a Q&A with the sculptor.

What I have decided to do instead …. is to write a blog – no cost to me – infinitely better!

I hope that you will read it over the coming months. It will be of particular interest to anybody considering becoming a volunteer in a project. I have plenty of learning tips, pitfalls to avoid, as well as the odd amusing story!

The photograph above is of Rt Hon Alan Campbell MP for Tynemouth, Ray Lonsdale (Sculptor) and Elected Mayor of North Tyneside Norma Redfearn at my Q&A. Behind them is the site for the memorial in the very early stages of being prepared.


The Island of Lost Souls

Actually that should read The Island of Lost Soles – because we found an awful lot of them on the beach clean today! There must be a whole bunch of people running around with no shoes on somewhere…..

Anyhow – this was only my second beach clean – but I plan on doing more.









This one was organised by Linda Lambert who I met in the Low Lights Tavern last weekend. We got chatting and next thing you know, Keith and I are signed up to join her beach clean at 8:15am the following Saturday.. very persuasive lass.











Yeah, a little bit on the early side – but driven by the tides – we needed to be able to walk on the beach. I recruited my friend and neighbour Katie with her dog Tara – it was a glorious day and we met some lovely people.


Safety info brief by Linda out of the way, followed by the obligatory “Group Shot” before we set off – even got one this time with me in it – not many of those around ….

“Spot the difference quiz” – guess which one is me!

Linda billed this event as it was actually “a pretty clean beach” – and on first impressions, it did look fairly clean ….  till we started to look a bit harder!

A few more of Linda’s friend’s arrived – and we realised we knew two of them – Cat and Melvyn – the latter clearly not wanting his photo taken….. spoil sport Melvyn…

Cat had been on a different beach close by – and manged to bag herself the “find of the day” – the biggest pair of mens underpants in the world! We took her word for it though, as nobody wanted to confirm her claim!

Nobody escapes me – I caught Melvyn later showing Keith stuff he planned on keeping!

Everybody got stuck in – the rocks were the place where most of the litter was – the risk of rats didn’t stop us … well, didn’t stop the blokes – they were right in there!

The ‘sniffer’ dogs helped out too!


For a small, “clean beach” we sure collected a lot of rubbish!

Totally shocked to read from the Surfers against Sewage leaflet when I got home that marine litter kills 100,000 marine mammals and a million sea birds each year.

Each year, Earth Day—April 22—marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970 – I think we did our little bit to make it a cleaner one in 2017.

Well done Linda for organising this one on the North Shields Fish Quay sands!



On your marks!

I wasn’t actually at the start line of the annual North Tyneside 10k – as I didn’t enter it this year…. but at the last minute I decided to take a quick walk down to the fish quay area with my camera and take a few shots instead!

I literally just made it when the lead runners hove into view – grabbed my camera out of it’s bag and began.

The runners were through in less than 20 minutes – I probably wouldn’t stand quite so close to the start next time as it really didn’t give me much of a chance to get many shots. They were coming through thick and fast. Far easier to photograph runners as they approach the end of the run as they are spaced out more.

Most looked pretty good though as they still had ‘fresh legs’ – some even gave me the ‘thumbs up’ or a little wave as they passed.

One “cheeky little devil” – who I shall refer to simply as “John McG” from Ponteland Runners went one step further ….. 🙂 Clearly a little bit giddy at the thought of the steep incline up to Tynemouth Priory that he was about to hit!


It was great to see so many having fun as they did it – “almost” made me want to sign up for next year …. but so far I have resisted the urge!

I only saw one fella – Kevin – who appeared to have had a bit of a tumble – but seemed to be continuing on regardless – that would have been my cue to pack in to be honest! What a trooper!


One shot did make me laugh mind – all the runners giving the guy running for “Vegan Runners” a really wide birth! They didn’t seem to want to catch him in a hurry! Too many brussel sprouts perhaps?!


Hey ho – Feet up until next year! 🙂


Wow! A ‘Free’ lunch…

Well you all know “There’s no such thing as a free lunch right?”

Apparently not … the promise of a free lunch and a glass of wine in Newcastle was all my hubby needed to get him to don a white shirt, his suit trousers and frock coat.

Little did he know I had an ulterior motive …

Before he got his “free lunch” he had to pose (his words not mine) “at an endless number of locations” (*sigh) that I had secretly jotted down on a scrap of paper several days before.

My reason for wanting to frog march him (wasn’t just because I was pretty hungry too!) around Newcastle city centre was basically to scout out some suitable locations for an up-coming photo shoot.

I met Clare and Richard Talbot-Jones of Talbot Jones Risk Solutions a while back and they very kindly put me in touch with a firm of Independent Financial Advisors who wanted some “Meet the team” photos for their website.

Strange how having left the world of ‘finance’ and dealing with IFA enquiries, one of my first photographic assignments would be … for an IFA… Serendipity perhaps?

I needed a backdrop that would ‘fit’ with the IFA’s website – so off we went in search….

It was a pretty cold day in Newcastle and the hubster’s nose was starting to turn just a ‘little’ on the pink side by the time we got to the High Level Bridge…. so we moved quickly on…


After a brief pause outside the Laing Art Gallery … where you’ll notice he’s put his gloves and cardy on… (“Bless” … and yet calls himself a ‘Geordie’???)


… we headed across the road and indoors to Newcastle library. I wasn’t sure if they allowed photography, but having checked … phew .. they did!

Waaaarmth…. my lucky day!!

And so many great spots for a photo too … result!

… and then off to Café Rouge we marched for his “free” lunch (and wine)!

And for those of you counting – that was just three locations – men do exaggerate!



Over and Out!

Well almost… after 15 years I will be ‘logging off’ tomorrow for the last time and leaving my ‘day job’.

Mixed feelings about it– but mainly utter joy at being set free from the 9-5 and being able to do what I actually really want to do (whatever that is – It’ll probably involve photography in some way, because that’s when I am happiest… camera in hand).

I get really emotional when I think about the fact that I am 52 years old and I haven’t really “done” anything…. not anything I particularly enjoyed or wanted to do that is. I would imagine my grand-kids Lola and Elliott asking me “What did you do for a job Nana” – and replying with “Oh, I sold shares to people.” I know what Lola would shout back at me for sure “…. BORING!”
And she’d be right.

The one and only piece of “advice” (for want of a better word) that I would ever give to my grand- kids would be “Find something you want to do in life, something you enjoy doing.”

The various ‘jobs’ that I have had over the years have afforded a nice lifestyle, holidays, pension etc BUT … it’s been a means to an end – something I have ‘endured’…. But can’t endure anymore…. Because now it’s making me miserable …. No way to live the one relatively short life that we have.

It really is true : “Money does not make you happy”.

I used to scoff at this and think “Yeah, Yeah”- but as my step-daughter Kate keeps telling me “Health is wealth” – and she’s right, so before I went completely bonkers I decided ‘enough was enough’ and handed my notice in.

That was a big weight off my shoulders! Goodness knows what I will actually do – but whatever it is I going to make damned sure I make the most of it!

I haven’t exactly written a “To-Do” list, but I kinda have one or two things in my head to get sorted first off in the New Year.

I’m really excited about a Project that I have lined up which I need to get some funding for – it’s working title is “From Steel to Real : The Making of a Memorial”.

The details have yet to be ironed out (and agreed with the sculptor), but in essence I plan to do time-lapse photography (and other stuff) of the sculptor, Ray Lonsdale, making the Fishermen’s Memorial Fiddler’s Green in North Shields which I have been helping to raise funds for over the last 12 months.

I hope to have an exhibition at the end of it, once the memorial is in situ on the North Shields Fish Quay. I like making an exhibition of myself!

A year ago when my hubby Keith and I set out to help the North Shields Fishermen’s Heritage Project (NSFHP) raise circa £75,000 for a memorial to fishermen lost at sea from the port of North Shields, people would ask me “Why on earth are you doing this?”

Bearing in mind I’m a veggie and cannot abide the smell of fish – this was a reasonable question to ask I suppose!

However, bearing in mind the enormous success the whole team at NSFHP have had (we are half way there), I’m pretty sure that by the end of 2017 – people will be asking “How did you do actually do that?!!”

And do you know what? When I see the fantastic 2.25x life-size sculpture on the foreshore which will be there for 150 years+, I will be immensely proud of my efforts and will take Lola and Elliott for a walk down there and say “Pops and I helped get the money for that sculpture”.

Hopefully Lola will say “…Wow Nana!” (but I won’t hold my breath!)

The Spedding Wedding

Who doesn’t love a good wedding!

They are right up there in terms of the best days to be had really.

So being at Jane and Alex’s wedding in Sorrento was truly wonderful – I wasn’t meant to be taking photographs because they had hired a great photographer (Amy) – I was a guest (Alex being my step-son).

…. But as Alex was getting dressed in our hotel room – and I had my camera with me it would have been rude not to take some shots of the groom and his best man, Carl getting ready to be honest!




And well.. if you know what I’m like you’ll understand that I pretty much wasn’t going to put the camera down again until the Prosecco and wine had finally kicked in! (Which it did by the way).

It was just a short walk from the hotel to the ceremony – and we did it a la Reservoir Dogs!

It was truly a wonderful day – a bit on the warm side (the flower girl took her dress off and ran around in her knickers and shoes for a while) – fortunately she was only 4 years old and it wasn’t during the actual ceremony!

From the moment Jane arrived with her father Rick…



To the bit where Alex saw his future bride for the first time…


And where Jane said “I do”…



To the family photo shots and throwing of flower petals….



It was all just too beautiful for words.


It all went off without a glitch – and once the legal bit was done in the beautiful setting of The San Francesco Cloisters we all headed off to The Villa Antiche Mura for an afternoon and evening of fun and festivities.

What a fantastic location for a wedding reception – The Bay of Naples – breath taking views.

Jane had thought of every little detail on the day – there were so many – here are just a few:-


The food was lovely and the wine was flowing …..

There were a lot of laughs…


And the speeches certainly hit the spot with everybody, but especially with the bride and her mother Marion.


And Rick managed to get through his speech without a tear (I think)

Jane looked absolutely beautiful!

And Alex was looking pretty good as a married man too!


And then the first dance – which was actually Jane and Rick (they had some kind of weird dance moves going on) – before Alex and Jane had their first dance … ooooo get a room you two!


And we all know they will live “Happily Ever After” …. Jane thought of that too!


It’s O-FISH-al


Henry Howard (Vice Chairman of NSFHP) – it was his idea to start the memorial fund


It’s been a while since I posted a blog (just in case anybody has noticed)!

I have been ultra-busy working with the North Shields Fishermen’s Heritage Project (NSFHP) pretty much every spare moment I have had since Christmas.

The Group, is made up of fishermen, retired fishermen and people like myself who are not connected to the fishing industry – all working towards the same goal of raising around £75,000.

Banner stands 1 and 2

Dave, Terry, Henry and Charlie with our new banner stands


NSFHP is a community based project dedicated to creating a fitting and lasting memorial to fishermen who left the port of North Shields and lost their lives just doing their job.

Commercial fishing is the UK’s toughest and most dangerous peacetime occupation.

The Group believe that North Shields (England’s largest Prawn Port) should have a memorial to fishermen lost at sea. North Shields is one of the few ports in the UK that doesn’t have one and we’d like to put that right – so we are raising funds for a memorial and a place for reflection on the North Shields Fish Quay.

Terry McDermott (L) and Henry Howard (R)

Terry (L) and Henry with our collection tins – overlooking the site where the memorial will be (on the grass overlooking Tynemouth Piers)


We have spent a fair bit of time getting all the building blocks in place to start raising funds in earnest…. Things such as :-

  •  Applying for a grant to enable us to buy banner stands, business cards, flyers, Public Liability Insurance and other marketing materials to get the word out. We can’t of course use money donated by people to the memorial.
  • Working with North Tyneside Council to firm up how they are prepared to assist us.
  •  Setting up a website
  •  Getting ourselves established on Social Media sites such as:-
  •  Twitter @nsfh_Project
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook – North Shields Fishermens Heritage Project
  • Google+
  • And last, but certainly not least we have an on-line donation page –

    We have also written a Sculptors Brief and have invited four sculptors to submit their drawings to us. These are now all in so the Group need to select the ones they wish to put forward to a public vote. Asking the public to donate money for something they cannot envisage is really hard – so we wanted to get the design for the memorial sorted as soon as we could.


Voting opens on 18 July for 3 months (last day will be 17 October) – we are asking for people to vote for the memorial that they would MOST like to see on the fish quay.

The chosen designs will be on display, together with examples of the chosen sculptors work at our lunch event – at the Old Low Light Heritage Centre – which is just a few weeks away now – Monday 18 July.

If you live locally please call in and say hi!

It will be open to the public 10am-4pm

Here’s where it is –


Terry McDermott (L) and Henry Howard (R) holding cheque from R W Mann

Terry (L) The Chairman and Henry chuffed to bits we got a £1,000 grant from R W Mann for marketing materials



Double Exposure Photography

Double Exposure Photography – I have been doing this since I was a child – admittedly usually then by accident – forgetting to wind the film on!

But I have kind of ‘re-discovered’ it of late using my digital camera….. and I have to say I simply love it.

The effects that you can get can be surreal – and it’s also really good fun just getting outdoors and seeing what I can come up with…. Letting my imagination run wild.

I dabbled with it last year – have a look at this –  “Woman at one with Nature” –

I have been wondering lately what direction my photography should take.

I’ve been doing a lot of work for other people recently – Victor Noble Rainbird memorial fundraising and now the North Shields Fishermen’s Heritage Project memorial fundraising  – I haven’t really done anything just for myself lately.

I love portraits and I also love landscape photography – so I’m going to have a go at combining both and am setting myself a challenge to photograph some of the iconic local images in a way I have never photographed them before – no more straightforward shots of Newcastle Bridges or Tynemouth Pier! There are thousands if not millions of those shots – who needs another one!

I love the freedom and creativity of double exposure photography – so I’m going to see what original shots of the North East that I can come up with – blending people and places.

Can’t wait to get started!

How many “Jimmy’s”…..?

So…. the Victor Noble Rainbird exhibition “From Dark to Light” at The Old Low Light Heritage Centre, North Shields is over and the amazing sum of £6,007 was raised by the generous visitors to the exhibition who donated money or bought cards, catalogues and Rainbird Prints!

… And money is actually still coming in from Rainbird Prints that we have continued to sell – so the total is getting closer to £6,500.

This was beyond Dave’s wildest dreams – as you can see from the photograph … he’s pretty chuffed!

This was the third attempt by a person/group to raise money for a memorial to Rainbird – so “third time lucky” as they say – I’m so pleased it was Dave and “The Friends of Victor Noble Rainbird” that managed to achieve it!

Dave had visited The Excelsior Academy in Newcastle whose primary school is named after Rainbird in December 2014 and they donated some of the proceeds from a family fun day to the Rainbird Memorial Fund after David gave a talk to the youngsters at school and brought in examples of Rainbird’s paintings and sketches to show pupils.

Dave Young looking rather chuffed - £6,007 raised by the end of the Exhbition at the Low Light Heritage Centre

Dave Young looking rather chuffed – £6,007 raised by the end of the Exhbition at the Low Light Heritage Centre

The planning has now started in earnest to get the Memorial finished and put in place at Preston Cemetery.

Dave has a target of Tuesday 8 March 2016 to have it sorted by. This will be 80 years to the day that Rainbird died in 1936.

Wednesday of this week was ‘moving day’ so to speak of the headstone from Classic Masonry in North Shields (who donated the stone) to Neil Talbot, the sculptor chosen by Dave to carve the headstone.

Classic Masonry in North Shields donated the headstone

Classic Masonry in North Shields donated the headstone

We’ve been a few times to check on progress.The stone was cut to size by Jimmy “One” using an industrial circular saw.

This was used to cut the stone

This was used to cut the stone

Machinery used to cut he stone

Machinery used to cut he stone

Paul then shaped the rounded headstone by hand – that’s quite a skill!


Jimmy “One” from Classic Masonry

Paul From Classic Masonry - he shaped the stone by hand

Paul From Classic Masonry – he shaped the stone by hand

The headstone was wrapped in heavy duty polythene to protect it ready for the trip to the sculptors yard.

Shrink wrapping the headstone for transportation

Shrink wrapping the headstone for transportation

The whole thing weighed about 1/4 ton – so Dave had to hire a truck from Jimmy “Two” with it’s own crane attached to be able to lift the headstone on the truck at Classic Masonry and then off again in Riding Mill where the sculptor will be working on it.

Dave discussing last minute details

Dave discussing last minute details


Jimmy “Two” – loading the headstone on to his van for transporting it to the sculptor

Dave positioning the pallet and headstone on the trolly to transport it

Dave positioning the pallet and headstone on the trolly to transport it to the Sculptor

Neil plans to work on the headstone “outside”….. yes … through the autumn and winter!

He’s going to erect a poly-tunnel to “protect” him and the stone from the weather.

The Sculptor, Neil Talbot with Dave Young and the headstone

The Sculptor, Neil Talbot (L) with Dave Young (R) and the headstone in situ where he plans to work on it!

Neil seems happy with the positioning of the headstone so that he can start work on it

Neil seems happy with the positioning of the headstone so that he can start work on it

The design for the memorial has been sketched out by Neil and agreed by Dave. One of the elements on the headstone  “could” be a North Shields Fisherwoman… Neil showed us a clay model impression of how this might look.

The headstone will feature images that appeared in Rainbirds paintings – fisherwomen, creels and fishingboats.

Clay model of a fisherwoman

Clay model of a fisherwoman

We are planning on returning to see how Neil has progressed with the headstone in a few weeks time…. so watch this space!

If you would like to buy a Rainbird mounted A4 print (make a lovely Christmas gift…. ) – they are £20 each (plus £5.50 p&p or free to collect from North Shields). See my website for further details.

There’s a choice of 4 prints …. this one is my favourite….

North Shields Fisherwoman £20 plus £5.50 p&p (or free to collect from North Shields)

North Shields Fisherwoman
£20 plus £5.50 p&p (or free to collect from North Shields)

Oh…and… the answer to the question “How many “Jimmy’s?” is …. two!