Meeting a warm hearted Ice Queen

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Cristian getting a bit too excited at the thought of Paula and I having icy water thrown over us (he stayed behind the camera!).

I suppose if you visit the home of newly crowned Pride of Britain “Fundraiser of The Year” Paula Maguire, Ice has to make an appearance at some point.

Paula was the lady that spotted the fund-raising potential of humans throwing buckets of icy water over each other.

She started the UK version of the phenomenon called the Ice Bucket Challenge, to raise much-needed money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Starting with a humble target of five hundred pounds, by yesterday afternoon the total on her Just Giving page stood at four million, fourteen thousand, two hundred and seventy-nine pounds!

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Paula began raising money for the MND Association in 2009 after her uncle Stuart died just nine weeks after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease. Her initial aim was mainly to raise awareness because, before her uncle’s death, most of her friends and family had not even heard of the illness.

Since then she’s run every Great North Run, two Great Yorkshire Runs, a Great South Run, the Leeds Half marathon, Tough Mudders, the London Marathon, abseiled down a viaduct and jumped in the sea on Boxing Day amongst many other challenges.

But the thing that really caught the great British public’s attention, was the video she posted of herself having a bucket of iced water thrown over her. It immediately went viral, and began the Ice Bucket Challenge craze that swept the UK and raised unprecedented amounts of money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association – half of their annual income for the year!

In her uniquely selfless style, after Paula received the award, she’s quoted as having said “You only have to meet someone with motor neurone disease to see how devastating it is. I just hope Pride Of Britain will boost that awareness. I don’t do this for me, I don’t do this for awards, I do it to help all those people who are living with motor neurone disease. This award is for all of them and for those not here anymore”.

Cristian and I visited Paula and her husband Robert to photograph them as one of our 26 Miles 4 MND portraits. You’ll be able to see Cristian’s ice sharp portrait during the 26 days leading up to his marathon attempt in November / December this year. Until then, here are some more snaps taken by myself and Robert of us setting up for what was to become Paula’s TENTH Ice Bucket Challenge!

If you’d like to help the great work of the Motor Neurone Disease Association, click HERE for the “26 Miles” Just Giving Page…. We’re aiming at raising two thousand six hundred pounds. That’s a bit more ambitious than Paula’s initial five hundred pound target – Watch this space!

(click on any picture to enter the gallery)

Nick Owen’s just the ticket

TV personality and supporter of the “26 Miles” Motor Neurone Disease Association campaign Nick Owen will be appearing at the Palace Theatre in Redditch this week – on Thursday September 24 – talking about his experiences interviewing stars from the world of sport, entertainment and news. Tickets are nearly sold out so hurry if you want one!

You can find out more here – Palace Theatre, Box Office

Rumour has it that co-stars from his past may be in the audience (including Suzanne Virdee)! I worked alongside Nick (and Suzanne) a great many times during my 17 year career as a TV cameraman and director.

Here’s what happened as I was reunited with Nick when we visited the BBC studios in Birmingham to take his “26 Miles” portrait recently.

(click on the first image to enter a slide show of all the pictures)

It was so great to meet him again. If you can get to his show on Thursday, you’ll find him as warm and witty in the flesh as he is on TV.

Nick’s portrait will be amongst pictures of a group of celebrities who are supporting the “26 Miles” Motor Neurone Disease Association campaign. These will be published during the final 26 MND portraits in the days leading to Cristian’s marathon.

Please help us to reach our target of £2,600 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. The MND Association is the only national charity in England, Wales and Northern Ireland focused on MND care, research and campaigning and is the charity “26 Miles” is fundraising for. Please help them to help more people affected by MND by DONATING to our Just Giving page or donate via your mobile phone – Text ‘mmnd99 £5.00‘ (or whatever you can afford) to 70070 

Thank you 🙂

Nick Owen supporting “26 Miles”

I used to work closely with Nick Owen for 17 years! He’s one of the nicest people I had the pleasure of working with and in real life is as warm and friendly as he appears on TV.

Yes, that was his silhouette in my previous post (as if you didn’t know), but I thought I’d add a bit of “cheese” of the variety that used to be served at tea time on BBC regional news programmes….after all, Nick became the main presenter for Midlands Today the BBC regional TV news in the Midlands just a few years before I started at Pebble Mill.

Here’s a snap of the 2 of us having our picture taken by Cristian at the Birmingham BBC studios.

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and this is a snap of me on a snowy day working for BBC news when I worked with Nick –

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I never thought I’d get something terrible like MND. In fact, like a lot of people, I’d hardly heard of it – Just goes to show it can happen to anyone….

Keep coming back, I might just give away a few secrets of behind the scenes life at Midlands Today and BBC News……perhaps I could auction a few saucy secrets to raise cash for this campaign????hmmmm good thought 😉

Pre – photo shoot at the BBC

26miles4mndTomorrow Cristian and I will be taking more portraits for the 26 Miles project – The first will be of a fantastic lady who runs a Facebook support group for one of the rarer forms of MND. After that, we’ll be visiting the BBC where we will be meeting and photographing a “national treasure” (well I think he is!) as well as some other personalities. At the moment I can’t reveal who, but I promise it will be worth the wait to find out.

I’ll take some pictures of Cristian setting up and working, before I have to get in front of the camera myself! We’ll be publishing some of those photos on our Facebook page, Twitter and here in the next few days.

Hopefully it will be interesting to see “behind the scenes” as we create the portraits that will make up the 26 we will publish in the days leading up to Cristian’s marathon!

Our photos of celebrities and other public figures will be published before the others – on here and Facebook and Twitter – so keep visiting to make sure you don’t miss any.

We’ll also be launching this site, our Just Giving page and our campaign “officially” in the next few days (in the meantime, you can still donate here) – so watch this space!

Thanks

Miles 🙂