Wednesday, 28 December 2011

A Drop In The Ocean - A New Years Day Swim

The other day I stumbled across a just giving site that stopped me in my tracks and made me sit and cry-I was so very moved.
The lady had written ............I`m not a fan of the cold and I`ve never been keen on dressing up.
So what makes me think of dressing up and swimming in a icy cold North Sea on New Years Day 2012 ?
It all started because I read the touching blogs of two siblings whose brother suffered from and recently died from MND..........
To support his family, and in Andrews memory and to raise funds for the MNDA- I`ll be taking that New Years dip at approximately 12.30 at Sandside Beach Area , Scarborough.

Please pop across and leave Elizabeth a message of support and donate if you can-She is one very brave lady ! This means so much to our family and we have been very moved by her sincere and very generous offer of help.The just giving page will be up and running until 31 January 2012
You can
Good luck Elizabeth -I hope the weather will be mild on the day !! We will be thinking of you and I have sent you some bands -I hope they arrive in time xxx

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Christmas Day at Eric`s

Many thanks to Cristina who sent in this lovely photograph of her Christmas Day celebrations- spent at her friend Eric`s house. Eric is living with M.N.D and Cristina thought it a nice gesture to buy some of our awareness bands and show him her support by getting the whole family wearing them -she writes he is wearing his band with pride and added we will never give up our fight to beat MND............Neither will our family Cristina and thank you for helping to spread the word by supporting our awareness campaign xx
Please remember- if you have purchased a band from us - post a photograph onto your facebook
page or click on to the "F" at the bottom of this post to help spread the word !! [ you can also email this or post it on twitter ]
The more bands we sell the more money goes to the MNDA to help fund a research project-helping to keep the hope of finding a cure alive.

Thank you Cristina

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Motor Neurone Disease Awareness Bands

On behalf of Jayne and all of our family -I would just like to thank everyone who very generously donated at Andrew`s memorial service- the money is being split between St. Kentigerns Hospice and The Motor Neurone Disease Association-so far the amount is £750.00 and rising ! Thank you so very much .

I will continue to sell our bands on behalf of the M.N.D.A on this blog , If you know of anyone who has Motor Neurone Disease- please, please purchase one -they cost just £2.50 each .This is such a good way of supporting someone and showing you care by raising awareness and extra funding.The money we raise goes in full to the MNDA to help fund a research project into finding a cure and better treatments for this awful illness.
I will continue to wear my band with pride not only for Andrew but for everyone who suffers from this illness. Please help by spreading the word-you can share this post on to your facebook page by pressing the letter "F" at the bottom of this post.
A special thank you to everyone who has supported us during these last few years- Wishing you Love , Hope and strength and lots of special times this coming Christmas with your loved ones....we will be raising a glass or two to Andrew !
Jan and all of Andrew`s family xxx

I will leave you with this lovely little video -It`s "The bloody Jenny club !" Some of you might recall a post I did a while back about Jenny Green and her amazing family- Jenny is living with M.N.D . She and her family have worked tirelessly to raise awareness and funding for the MNDA - "The bloody Jenny club " is so called because according to Jenny it`s her fault everyone gets cold ,wet, tired and spends hours fundraising !! [ Hmm sounds familiar ..] she also adds , "There is also a lot of fun and sense of achievement to be had-even by me ! " Jenny can be seen in the video on her tramper which is decorated with antlers and red nose -200 competitors turned out recently for The Farleigh Santa Sprint in Maldon , Essex all dressed as Father Christmas, [ very confusing for the little ones laughs Jenny ] Jenny`s team had 22 not including 3 babies in pushchairs .The money she helped raise [ over £1,000 ] was donated to the Farleigh Hospice. Well done to you all and Merry Christmas !

You can catch up with Jenny via her blog just google -The Jenny Green Tribute Fund .

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

John`s Eulogy

Thought I would share with you The Eulogy my brother John wrote for Andrew.

When I was originally asked to write the Eulogy for Andrew , I started the whole process of evaluation during a long walk in the country.

Nearly 50 years of memories , I felt , had to be combed through , thought about and examined so that some sort of order and clarification could be reached.
But , it was the wrong way to go about things , I realize that now - for in actual fact , all I needed as a starting point , was to acknowledge that Andrew was a person who was always very different.
He was a man that walked his own path in life.
As children , my sister Janet and I , always thought of him as a bit exotic, a bit of a rebel , a bit of a maverick.
And on my walk , I made a mental list of just why we did.

He was always a bit of a rocker -okay- He did have a brief dabble as a mod-complete with parka and a hand painted Lambretta moped ! but his heart was always in the Marc Bolam , T-Rex and Black Sabbath camp - music that was important to him throughout his life.

Some people won`t believe this !

He had long , luxurious red hair , which tumbled rather seductively to his shoulders and looked remarkably like a pre- raphaelite heroine [ but only from behind ! ]
He was often moody, never spoke , but had the extraordinary ability to argue a lot.

His pride and joy was his immaculate jet black ford Anglia which sported a day glow orange go faster stripe and had as I recall incredibly furry seats.

He had a set of scruffy friends that drank a lot .
And he wore a scruffy Afgan coat that smelled a lot .
He smoked and drank too much - and smoked strange large homemade cigarettes - always when mum and dad were not home.

Yes, He was a bit of a rebel.
He sported a flash pair of homemade painted silver platform boots - which were accessorized rather nattily with a somewhat battered Scooby Doo T-shirt.
What bloody strange things you remember eh ?

He was also a bit of an athelete and played tennis for Flintshire , was a talented artist , a risk taker.
He was not an academic in any way , but was always good practically ,being able to work with his hands instinctively and with talent.
He played drums in a band called "Resistance" and nearly hospitalized my father - when during a publicity stunt for "The News of the World " - he was photographed in the nude-behind his drum kit.
I remember my father wailing that it was the end of his budding career in local politics .
The collective family -knashing of teeth was , as I recall ,highly amusing to us kids.
The band toured Germany
And my parents calmed down....... eventually !

Andrew calmed down too - well just a little, as he met and fell in love with Jayne and it was Jayne that always generously let him walk his own path when it came to what made him happy.

In the 1970`s Andrew and his lifelong best friend Tim , donned matching black and yellow anoraks to take part in the local motor club rallies and hill climbs with Tim as his driver and Andrew as his trusty navigator.
Even then Andrew had to be the best at what he undertook- even designing rudimentary yet effective microphone communication hidden away in their crash helmets.
The joy of this exhilarating and dangerous sport took Andrew to several national and international events - He loved the thrill and competitiveness of it all.
He played snooker for the Con Club and loved his weekly " Ninety Nines " at the golf course with Tim, nephew Peter and friend Geoff Kay .
I remember at the height of the C.B radio`s popularity Andrew had to have the biggest and most flash rig going - I managed to reach Gronant on my C.B. - on his - he spoke to to a bloke in Canada !
And he loved the excitement of building his own model airplanes [ his only slightly geeky past time ] Although I remember the romance paled slightly when he lost part of a finger in what can only be described as an
" Out of control - Cessna - friendly fire incident !"
Andrew loved playing the raconteur at family get togethers - when he could deliver a story with all the pace and humour of Joan Rivers.
Even in his latter years -his ability to communicate , albeit by gesture and expression was never diminished.
On reflection, I think Andrew`s life in many ways, went full circle.In his teens his love and enjoyment of music creativity was a passion- and in his 50`s when most of us embark on the more comfortable and mundane and more relaxed -he grasped the nettle and re entered the world of music and musicians again. This mid life change brought him a contentment and , I think a wonderful sense of self worth. In his mid 50`s- he had found and had embraced his niche -a niche that was only eclipsed by Andrew`s role as a husband and father to son Jon -who was his pride and joy.
Mind you ! Believe me when I say Andrew was a true " Gray " he was stubborn, opinionated and enjoyed being in charge. So when Motor Neurone Disease started to bare its awful teeth ,so to speak ,Andrew typically refused to allow the symptoms to dictate to him.
It was a difficult battle .
But it was a battle that he and Jayne fought together. Jayne was his rock. With a natural skill, resilience ,strength and tenacity , she never wavered in her role as advocate for Andrews wishes.

He wanted to remain at home until the end---she ensured that was the case.
He wanted to be without pain or anxiety at the end - working with the wonderful team of health care professionals -she ensured that was the case.
And he wanted to die with dignity with Jayne and Jon at his side.
And as we all know-this final wish was granted.

As a previous ward manager, I have probably interviewed neigh on 100 nurses for jobs, I can tell you one thing honestly...
I would have employed Jayne any day as a trained nurse-she did my brother proud in the way she cared for him .
And I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of my family, to publicly thank her for all of the work she did.

I was going to finish this eulogy with a piece of poetry, a traditional saying or an appropriate verse from a song or from a piece of literature...
But on reflection I decided that it was not really Andrew.
He was not an emotionally indulgent like me , or flowery or overly sentimental.
It was not his way- at the end of a visit there would be no realms of written notes , no emotional Jacuzzi`s -no wringing of hands.....
There was always however - a bit of a gentle smile , a nod of thanks and a somewhat jaunty "thumbs up " when goodbyes were said.
So that`s what we all should give him now..........
Our best smile
No tears , a nod and a jaunty thumbs up .

Beautifully written don`t you think .

Ann and I made the arrangement -using some of Andrew`s old drumsticks ,the rings represent his drums and the roses are called rather appropriately " Grand prix "

Mike Peters sang an acoustic version of his song " Breathe " before being joined by Phil Strat Evans and together they sang another of Andrew`s favourites " Knocking on Heavens Door"
He would have loved it .

Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Fight will go on

I thought I would share this video with you-it was filmed in January 2010 at The Gathering, in Prestatyn. Andrew had seen his consultant the previous October who had confirmed what Andrew already knew - that he had MND- he gave Andrew 12 months to live. Andrew was guitar teching for Mike Peter`s from The Alarm at the time.
Mike, who having survived leukemia twice sang this song at the end of his concert inviting his local G.P. and consultant on stage [ that`s two guys on the left-the consultant is playing a red guitar ] he also asked Andrew to join them.
Andrew is on the extreme right with a white t-shirt on-plugging in the guitars at the beginning ,
Ann, Tim, Ned, Jonathan,Lucy and myself were there on the night clutching a home made banner-written on it was- we- love -Andy !! Our hearts were breaking- Ann and I- we cried and sang along and waved that banner and supported him all the way.
There have been so many wonderful tributes left on Andrew`s facebook wall -a lot from the people who worked along side him-some made me laugh and some made me cry-some with pictures I had never seen before-he looked happy -I know he use to say how much he loved his job and I know that some of his happiest times had been on tour with the Alarm.
Thank you for all the wonderful comments and messages of condolences -everyone has been so very kind -we have appreciated and read them all. One comment that has stuck in my mind ..... .. he was truly courageous man who lived a life completed early rather than a life cut short.

The fight to raise awareness carries on -I still have bands to sell.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Andrew - 7th Jan 1953 - 1 st December 2011

Andrew lost his very brave and courageous battle with MND this evening
I`am so very proud and privileged to have been your sister- Thank you for putting up with me and for giving us the family so many happy wonderful memories ! Rest in peace dear bro, we love and will always love you very much xx

Friday, 25 November 2011

Natalie Barclays Tandem Skydive

Back in July you might remember -I wrote a post about one very brave young lady -Natalie Barclay [ pictured above on the left -with her mum and nan ] who had just completed a 12,000 foot tandem sky dive jump at The Headcorn Paracute Club in Kent. Natalie raised a staggering £620 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and says she loved every moment of it -saying I can`t wait to do it all again !!
So , if anyone out there is thinking about doing some fundraising of their own and fancy giving skydiving a go -take a look at Natalie`s video below which I have just discovered on facebook.
Natalie smiled and waved all the way down [ I`d have just screamed and sobbed -I`m such a coward ] It certainly looked like she took it all in her stride and enjoyed every moment- thats for sure !! [ she was also strapped to a rather handsome instructor- hmm bet that helped too eh Nat ? ] It did look a fabulous experience though Natalie-one you will never forget ! Well done x
Hmm ? Do they do those jumpsuits in pink ?

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Welsh Love Song - Lisa Lân - a capella harmony

This is a tragic Welsh love song from the beautiful Island of Angelsey , situated off the North West Coast of Wales [ it`s Welsh name being- Ynys
Mon. ] It`s just under an hours drive from where I live [ about 45 miles away ] Most of you might also recall it is where Prince William and his bride Kate [ or the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they are now known as ] are stationed in RAF Valley there.
Singing in this Video are - Geraint , Merfyn and Dafydd who are a trio calling themselves "Canig " They also sing in a choir called Cantorion Colin Jones -the web site is well worth a visit !
During the Cantorion Colin Jones tour to France in July 2008, aware that John [ see second video below ] a member of the choir, and brother of another member, were slowly succumbing to MND , choristers were moved to discuss methods of raising money for the M.N.D.A.

One idea was to record a c/d of the Cantorion Colin Jones Soloists.
John Puw was one of these soloists. Please scroll down.

John Puw yn canu Arafa Don / John Puw, a Welsh Tenor

This is John Puw who was diagnosed with MND in 2007-he found music to be a wonderful healer,and gained enormous strength from singing in this great choir-it`s lovely to think his singing lives on. I hope you enjoy the video`s as much as I did !

Please remember to support our awareness campaign by purchasing a band-the donate button is situated on the right hand side of the page by our fundraising thermometer.
If you have a story to tell or are fundraising or would like a dedication doing please let me know -send in a picture wearing your band and I will be delighted to give you a mention !

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Motor Neurone Disease Awareness Bands

Motor Neurone Disease Awareness Bands £2.50 each- help " Support The Fight Against MND "

To donate and buy a band please scroll down to the " Donate" button on the right hand side of the page.Thank you.


Is the only organization in England ,Wales and Northern Ireland working for people with MND and their families.
Gives emotional,practical and financial support to people with MND and their families.
Provides specialised equipment to make life easier for people with MND.
Funds and promotes vital research to bring about an end of MND.
Relies almost entirely on voluntary donations.

£3,000 funds an MND expert researcher for one month and keeps the hope of a cure alive

£50.00 funds laboratory equipment for a day`s vital research into finding a cure for MND.
Every little bit helps.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Hair raising charity event ! [ or should that be removal ?]


May be this is just my sense of humour but it did make me giggle -The lengths some people will go to ......especially to raise funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association-This guy Mark Cocker deserves a medal for gallantry-I can almost feel his pain - If I wasn`t laughing so much !!
Sorry Mark .
Please excuse the odd expletive-Well now ? Any family members willing to give it a go ?
Hubby has just said yes - ok !! [ he has around 3 hairs on his chest !! ] Tut and eye roll very brave of him .........Not....... Hmm ?
John ?

Thursday, 3 November 2011

The Quiz

We had a lovely time at the quiz the other night- Brother in law Chris -makes a superb Quiz Master ! There was a lot of good humoured banter and leg pulling going on between all the locals and himself which made for a great atmosphere . Pictured below is "Our Team "- We called ourselves " The Chicken Pluckers ! " no prizes for guessing who came up with that idea ! The pub as you can see was all decked out for Halloween- with fake cobwebs and pumpkins on every table -the landlord Gordon had gone to a lot of trouble.
Our Team -Pictured from left to right....Ann ,Lesley,aunty judy, me,Ned, The quiz master himself- Chris, John and Bill.

Above Chris reading the questions out-John looks like he`s concentrating hard there !
The questions were divided into sections - 10 questions in each section-with music from the 60`s , 70`s, 80`s and 90`s and a Halloween themed section. We were absolutely rubbish at the 60`s questions and not much better at the 70`s ! but we did pick up from there on and came a very respectable second place !
Chris very kindly wrote the questions out for Andrew and put them in a sealed envelope- Tim took them through to his house for him and they sat and had a go at the quiz together !! I think they did better than us ! It was lovely to see everyone taking part all wearing their awareness bands even the barmaids ! There was a raffle-which one of the barmaids won- but she very kindly put it back in to be re-drawn- so John won it !!
At the end of the evening a free supper was served -a very yummy chilli con carne with garlic bread-boy was it hot but very delicious -John polished off Ann`s too [ she had already eaten ] I`ll say no more- hmm !

The quiz made £130 !! we did receive a couple of donations from people who were unable to attend but wanted to support us- including those who sent money in for the raffle- which bumped it up to £ 160.00 !
A really big thank you to Chris for organizing the quiz and to Gordon and fantastic staff of The Red Lion for going to so much trouble and to everyone for entering the quiz and buying raffle tickets and supporting this cause- we really appreciated your support x

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Quiz night at The Red Lion Llanasa for MND 31st October

My brother in law Chris MacDonald- Parry has very kindly organized a music quiz night for this coming Monday the 31st of October at his local pub The Red Lion in Llanasa -the proceeds of which will be going to the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
Please come and support us if you can -it should be a lot of fun ! There will be a raffle with the chance to win a free meal for two , the quiz starts at 8.30 pm. I`am making sure " Team M.N.D " are all of various ages so hopefully we will have a wide spread of musical knowledge. Chris organizes a quiz once a month with the proceeds raised donated to various charities.
And for anyone who is interested in a bit of history.........

The pub dates back to the 1700`s- previously it was a farm called Ty Newydd [ which translated means - New House ] it is situated in the centre of a typical picturesque country village- opposite the pub is a beautiful large Georgian style manor house in which my hubby and his family grew up in-Ned`s grand father bought the house for four hundred gold sovereigns ! Where he got the money from nobody knows and it still remains a family mystery today-Many of the pieces of furniture in the house had come down from Captain Edward Morgan who was a welsh man and an officer in the Royalist Army during the civil war in the 1650`s, he played a significant part together with 3 thousand Welshmen in the defense of Chester against the Parlimentarian forces- he was also a relation to the famous Captain Henry Morgan - buccaneer who operated in the seas around Jamaica . Hmm... ..A Pirate on one side of the family and on the the other side of my husbands family- Well, he has managed to trace them back to the 1700`s to Glencoe in Scotland , he reckons all his anchestors there were probably cattle rustlers !!

Friday, 21 October 2011

They have made it !

Well as promised -I thought I`d let you all know that the 13 strong MND " Team Kilimanjaro" have made it to the summit this afternoon-raising over £62.000.00 pounds for the MNDA- a fantastic result!
Congratulations and well done to you all ! I knew wearing our MND awareness bands would bring them luck !!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Family album

A couple of weeks ago we were waiting- with great anticipation for the safe arrival of my nephew Chris and his partner Rebecca`s first baby [ we had no idea whether she was expecting a boy or a girl- which in my mind is so much nicer !! ] thoughts turned to who the baby would take after.......... and as a result out came the family album ! So I thought I`d share a few of the photographs with you .
The above picture is of my great grandmother and father on my maternal side-she was expecting my grandfather in this photograph [ not that you would guess that looking at her ] I remember my grand dad telling me rather proudly that she had a twenty two inch waist at the time the photograph was taken !! Here she is again not long after he was born [below left ]

The wedding photograph is of my mother and father taken in the forties.
The album is in a terrible state-it really needs sorting , it is one of those cellophane albums with sticky pages - you know the sort , after a while it stops sticking- the photographs slide out and get shoved back in any old order ! None of the photographs have dates on them or some of the older ones- names ! We took the album through to Andrew`s house and sat looking through it one evening with him- I had him writing the names down on the back of some of the pictures-we had a giggle at some of them.....

Wonder who this glamour puss could be ? Any ideas ?
Or the two scallywags on the right below ? [ some people never change -do they ? ] I can feel a competition coming on ! Can anyone name the little chap "Going Gently " on the left hmm ?

Andrew [ above ] pole vaulting with my mother`s washing line prop [doubt she would have been happy about that ] and below after a successful fishing trip
Hope you have enjoyed the photo`s !! Sorry but blogger is playing tricks with me and changing the photographs around a bit !!
Oh and by the way -congratulations to Chris and Rebecca on the birth of their daughter ......Evie Grace who weighed in at seven and a half pounds -ten days overdue but well worth the wait -she is gorgeous !

Friday, 14 October 2011

Team MND all set for Kilimanjaro !!

A big thank you goes to Elaine from " MNDA Events " who dropped me a line today to say that their intrepid team climbing Mount Kilimanjaro [ including Pete Collins and his girlfriend Cecilia Brice-see previous post dated the 18th October ] had landed in Africa yesterday afternoon and were all now heading for Nairobi but not before finding the time to stop for a photo call for us wearing their MND awareness bands ! Thanks guys-it`s great to see you all ! She writes .........I hope you like the photo`s-the bands hold super powers to get them to the summit ! There are 13 in the MND team-the team doctor is also in the shot and to date they have raised a staggering 61,000 with hopefully a bit more to come !!

Wow that`s amazing- hopefully the next picture I post will be of them all at the summit -good luck to you all -stay safe and have fun ! I will keep you all updated.
if you would like to donate - here is the link This is an amazing challenge please support these guys if you can !

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Tom Robertson

This video is of singer/ song writer Geoff Robertson who is from Brisbane Australia performing in a gala concert held in May 2006 to raise funds for MND. Geoff`s dad Hugh was diagnosed a year and a half earlier with MND - the concert raise thousands of dollars for mnd research and was a wonderful farewell to Hugh who was moved and humbled by all the attention-he died just one month later. This song is a tribute to Geoff`s grandfather Tom Robinson-I think the words are lovely.Hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I did I found it very moving.

Andrew is going home today - hopefully in time to watch the grand prix !
He and Tim have a little bit of rivalry going on via an internet game based on the grand prix- You set up your own team of drivers after you watch the qualifying laps on each race- you have a chance then to swop the odd driver round -there`s a leader board and medals to be won , so far Tim is leading but Andrew is hot on his heels with Pete [ Tim`s son lagging behind- doh ! ]
There is a lot of teasing and leg pulling going on over it- good luck Andrew ! hope it`s a good race
for you bro ! xx

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Some new photographs and some of my old favourites !!

This is one of Andrew taken two years ago while working back stage at the Manchester Academy- tuning up Mike Peter`s guitar ! Thought I would share with you some of my favourite photographs.......

Remember Viv who travelled across New Zealand in a campervan nicknamed " The Mouse "
I thought this photograph he sent us was very clever and original.

We popped up to see Andrew last Friday night , Strictly Come Dancing has started back on the telly -I just love it ! Whenever we visit Andrew, he has full control over the T.V. remote - and is one of these people who continually channel hops -so much so I have often threatened [ good humouredly] to grapple the controls off him [ just as something looks interesting- he has a habit of flicking over !!] but he very kindly switched to that channel to let me and my sister watch the programme -[she`s an addict too ] not sure if any of you have ever watched the sitcom " The Royles Family " but this programme is very much like our family !! We all sit round -Andrew is tucked up in bed-the T.V. is on and we have all have made ourselves comfortable [ complete with "Puddles " the cat- who always insists on sitting on sister Ann`s knee ] chatting and in this case shouting at the telly -there is quite a bit of good humoured banter and teasing going on-and laughter too !!

This photograph was taken by Denise [pictured above- back row on the right ] who was born in England but has lived in America for over 35 years , she writes a wonderful blog called an " An English girl rambles " her main hobbies being photography-she does take some wonderful wildlife photographs, these ladies are all ex pats and every month or so meet up for lunch and a chat . Thanks for your support ladies-very much appreciated x
Thank you to Gavin for sending in this photograph of himself - he writes ...I`m no oil painting but I have been told that when I smile I look like Stan Laurel which I take as a wonderful personnel compliment as Stan and Laurel Hardy are my comedy idols [ my husband has the box set -you two would get on famously ] Gavin lost his father to MND a while back.
This picture was sent in by Sam-I think it`s lovely ,the tattoo represents members of her family.
Remember Shona ? Shona Thornhill is running 2011 km in 2011 that is 1250 miles !! to raise funds for the MNDA [ her auntie is living with MND ] she has reached 81% of her target-you can follow Shona and donate by going to her blog called 2011 in 2011 !! or
Remember this very brave young lady..Natalie Barclay she did a sky dive to raise awareness and funds for the MNDA after losing her beloved "pop " to MND. What a fabulous experience eh Natalie ? one you will never forget-the photograph is fantastic !

This is Chris Boon and pet Alfie -Chris is living with MND ,he writes a heartwarming blog.. Chris versus MND he`s a lovely chap
please pop across if you get a moment and leave him a comment / or to donate.

This one above is of Andrew and Mike Peters taken at the summit of Snowdonia - when Andrew joined Mike on his charity walk down Snowdon last year and below is the dance group Inferno who stopped rehearsals and posed for us wearing their MND awareness bands.

Look at the views - I find this a very poignant photograph- thank you Dave -one of my all time favourites !!
This is my friend Debbie who decided not to miss a great opportunity for a photograph after deciding to redecorate her lounge and below some of the wonderful people Andrew has met on his travels while teching for Mike Peters and the Alarm.

This is Andrew holding hands with Jayne while on holiday -know those freckles anywhere !

And finally-Andrew and son Jonathan on holiday last year in Lanzarote .
These are just a few of my favourites. I hope you have enjoyed them . Have you got a favourite photograph ?
Andrew is in St Kentigerns this week for some respite care so I will have to stock up on the peanuts for his nocturnal visitors ! It is also Jayne`s birthday -so no doubt we will have some kind of get together !! Still waiting for news from my nephew Chris and his partner Rebecca -they are expecting their first baby any time now ! Hope you are all having a great Sunday !!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Recording Alistair The Optimist

This is a video of a recording session for Alistair the Optimist`s album 2011 at Woolley Valley , in Somerset .The track is " Metal Men " and features Kathryn Calder [The New Pornographers ] on backing vocals.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Good luck to Pete and Cecilia and keep the photographs coming !

I would just like to wish Pete Collins and his girlfriend Cecilia Brice[ pictured above ] lots of luck -they will be flying out to Africa on October the 13 th with 11 other people to take part in the MND international Challenge to trek up Mount Kilimanjaro - in memory of Pete`s dad Steve
who was diagnosed with MND in February 2007- sadly Steve lost his battle with the illness in November 2008. Since then Pete with the help of his family and friends has thrown himself into raising as much money as possible for the MNDA. By the end of this year he will have raised more then 30,000 after trekking to Macchu Picchu ,climbing Kilimanjaro , running half marathons and organizing numerous charity events. His brother John Collins has nominated Pete to carry the Olympic flame with the Lloyds TSB in London 2012 Olympic relay-his brother writes .....he is simply the best man I know who`d carry the torch with such pride and to my mind, be so deserving of the honour . I will be keeping my fingers crossed for you Peter that you make the final selection-your dad would have been so very proud of you I`am sure ! You can keep up with his exploits via twitter @peteandceMND
or donate
Pete has promised to send us photograph when he reaches the summit ! [proudly wearing his MND awareness band ]
A huge thank you to everyone who takes the time and trouble to send in a photograph for our blog and who then go on to post photographs wearing their MND bands onto facebook !!
Please keep the photographs coming ! It helps spread the word- raises awareness and the more bands I sell the more I make for the MNDA !!
Thank you to Diane and hubby pictured above-I can`t make out what you are watching on telly but goes to show if you are shy- then the photograph you send in doesn`t have to show your face/s-be inventive !! and to Karen and Daniel pictured below thank you for this lovely photograph of you both-your support is much appreciated x

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Alistair The Optimist - Channel 5 - Sept 11

Alistair The Optimist gave an interview today for channel 5- I thought he did brilliantly, he had mentioned on face book that he was more than a little nervous about it -I must say he came across really well-it`s great that people like Alistair are willing to go on television and talk openly
about their illness to help raise awareness of this dreadful disease. Alistair`s album should be out just before Christmas [ message to hubby - please take note ! x ]

Nobody guessed correctly in our travelling bands competition ! Well , not fully anyway -Maura you were the closest [ Linda -you knew but didn`t comment ]
The clues were all in the photographs -A Spanish flag was flying , The artist was Salvador Dali and the location Marbella !

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Win A free MND awareness band !

Okay ! Can you give me the name of the artist who sculptured these master pieces and the location where they are situated in ? And in doing so- win yourselves a free MND awareness band .I think this is quite easy-so I`am not giving out too many clues this time !
This person was trained as a skilled draftsman and had an extensive artistic repertoire including films , sculpture and photography. Most of his paintings were said to be influenced by the Renaissance masters, The location is a popular destination for luxury cruise ships. Hmm .... not my cup of tea- but what do you think ? any ideas ? Can you spot our travelling bands by the way ? Click on the pictures to enlarge.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Available Light #005 - Kathryn Calder - So Easily

Meet Kathryn Calder-she is a Canadian Indie rock musician who performs as a solo artist and is a member of the band The New Pornographers. I came across Kathryn on " Alistair The Optimists " facebook page [ scroll back a couple of posts -to meet Alistair !!] She had left him a message very generously offering to do some backing vocals on the album he is currently working on-Kathryn had written quite simply -my mother died from ALS/MND .
I contacted her and asked permission to post this video on the blog and she was happy for me to do so sending me this link.
Kathryn is a former member of the band- Immaculate Machine, her first solo album Are you my mother was released on August 3rd 2010-The album was named after the childrens book with the same name -it was recorded when Kathryn was caring for her sick mother,the project was put on hold when her mother died , her new album is out on - October the 25th 2011 and is called" Bright and Vivid." I think you will I agree she has a beautiful voice- I love this song-enjoy !! . She will be starting her tour of Europe very soon -please look out for her !

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Old photographs and a bit of history

The other day, a rather lovely retired gentleman came into the shop where I work , clutching an old photograph - John the butcher has sent me down to see you - he said........he thought you might be interested in this photograph ! It took me all of two seconds to recognize Andrew [ front row second from the left ] Looking at it - I think it was taken in the early 1970`s , when Andrew would have been around twenty ! [ you can correct me tomorrow if I`m wrong bro ! ] Andrew played in The Prestatyn Con Club- Sunday league team- Looking at it I can identify quite a few well known local faces-can any of you ? If you can name more than 3 faces [not including Andrews of course ] -You win yourself a free MND awareness band !!

The Prestatyn Cons club was founded in 1894-when Prestatyn and Meliden combined supported a population of only 650 people ! The high street then was merely a cart track-dusty in summer and a quagmire in winter,no pavements or street lighting and very few shops. The original club was located on the high street and it wasn`t till 1926 that the club moved to its current site, prior to 1926 the only licence they had was to sell tobacco ! I found this old photograph taken at the re-opening of the club in 1927-Love the hats and the fur coats-weren`t the ladies elegant in those days ?

I have just got back from visiting Andrew- and I stand corrected !! Andrew reckons he was around 16- 17 years of age in that photograph-he also reeled off every single persons name -what a memory- and I struggle to remember what I ate for tea some nights .

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Can you name the location and the film ?

Many thanks to Janet T for making a fifty mile trip from her home in order to capture this iconic shot-Hmm any ideas where it is ? Okay , okay I`m feeling generous today so here are a few clues to its location. This location is famous for a battle which took place here in 1836-a 1960`s film was made starring John Wayne about it and later in 2004 Dennis Quaid starred in a film of the same title -get guessing and win yourselves a free MND band !

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

In The Wake - Alistair The Optimist

Former teacher Alistair was diagnosed last summer with MND .He is married to Alice and has two children Freya aged 3 and Finn aged 7-He writes MND is killing me and it will gradually leave me unable to walk , talk and breathe-I`ll miss out on my kids growing up-There are things that I will no longer be able to do like record and play music I love-Time is running out-I need to finish an album with my band before my muscles stop working-I need this legacy for my family and friends.
This video is of Alistair [on the drums ] rehearsing with his band- and as he puts it - it is warts `n all !!
He apologizes for looking bored in the video but he was in fact totally knackered !! this song they are hoping to record this coming Friday- I love it !! I will definitely go out and buy the album-you can catch up with Alistair at ......
Alistair states- drumming and playing in bands are things I have always enjoyed [ Hmm ? remind you of someone else ?] there is something magical about creating , recording and performing music especially when its with good friends . Good luck with the album Alistair-I`am sure it will be a huge success !

Thursday, 11 August 2011

The Alarm/Rain in The Summertime. !

This ones for Andrew ! The title pretty much matches the weather we have been having at the moment !! Andrew was teching for Mike at this concert held in May 2010 at the 02 academy in Liverpool-You can just about get a glimpse of Andrew now and again on the extreme left getting Mike`s guitar ready for the next song-the banner you can see at the beginning and towards the end is me-I buttoned holed some guy who was around 6ft 4 to help me wave it about - after pushing my way to the front-much to Andrews embarrassment [ yup ! it had we -heart - Andrew written on it -what are sisters for eh ? ] I have been visiting Andrew every night in St Kentigerns this week, I took our dog Jess with me the other night-I thought some of the staff might frown on this but in fact they couldn`t have been nicer or more friendlier-Jess had a lovely time ! She wasn`t too sure of Andrew`s air bed-wanting to skim across the surface as fast as she could go rather than walk across it sedately-Andrew scratched her belly while she sat nose in the air and eyes half closed in ecstasy ! Andrew`s room has lovely views out on to fields with horses grazing and at dusk he has been getting a couple of nocturnal visitors-a pair of badgers ! I thought I`d take along some peanuts tonight and scatter them about outside his patio door so he can watch them for a little longer.
There is also a steady stream of feral farm cats passing by-one made the mistake while we were there of stopping and looking in on us -Jess went bananas ! Andrew is going home on Saturday-so not long to go now bro ! enjoy the video and see you later xxx

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Travelling bands -and the best excuse yet !! and Chris versus mnd video

A big thank you to Delores for emailing me these photographs for our travelling bands competition and then writing the best excuse yet for not actually making a personal appearance in the photographs herself- actually wearing her bands !!
She writes that the bands were a little tight for her chubby wrists .........[ Hmm.... Okay ] .......and also being on the witness protection system [ never heard this excuse before ] .....she never allows her..... urm......photograph to be taken !!! The bands as you can see have enjoyed a photo journal trip to a couple of major landmarks -not far from where Delores` lives [ no doubt her name has been changed for security reasons too ! ] So go on -have a guess , where does Delores live ? [ Thanks for the chuckle Delores ]

A couple of weeks ago I introduced you all to a lovely man - Chris Boon, who writes a blog Chris versus MND. This video below is on Chris` blog-please take a moment to watch it . The music is by Pink Floyd
Andrew is going into St Kentigerns tomorrow for a week to give my sister in law some respite-so I will probably be downloading a few of The Alarms videos over the next few days for him - [ will pop in and see you tomorrow bro xx ]
Please help by donating just a couple of pounds to buy a band and increase awareness of this dreadful disease- every little bit helps -we really need to find a cure .Thank you .

Visit Chris at ..............

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Arctic To Desert Challenge Belfast Trailer

It`s another another video from the boys ! Matt,Lee and Jim- I absolutely love this song-I couldn`t resist sharing it.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Arctic To Desert Challenge Full Trailer

It never ceases to amaze me all of the great things people do -to raise money for charity and MND and the novel ideas they come up with [just wish I could think of them first !] I enjoyed watching this video and the music -thought I would share it-good luck to Matt ,Lee and Jim !
Jim`s mother - Jane died from M.N.D in 2005 and he wanted to do something to honour her-apparently she use to be a midwife and really enjoyed her work often sending juniors off for a cup of tea so she could deliver the babies herself !! So far these guys have raised £1 632.00 their target is £10 000.00 You can donate
So ! for a free M.N.D awareness band can anyone name the artist singing this song ?

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Travelling Bands strike again !

Well, it`s been a while but we have a new photograph for our travelling bands / where are they now competition ! Can you name this famous character and tell me where he is ?