As we head towards the end of 2017, I thought it was an appropriate time to update everyone on the book's progress. A very busy and productive year has seen me go past the half-way stage in the creation of The Record, and opens up the possibility of having the book published towards the end of 2018, although if it has to go back into 2019 I will not be too worried. The important thing is to get it as good as possible, and not rush it.
On a personal note 2017 has been a year of change. The first part of the year was very busy sorting out Mum's house, and completing the sale. It was perhaps only once it completed at Easter that I really began to realise just how different life would be without the folks moving forward. Writing the book, and meeting so many wonderfully kind and generous people has proved to be a very cathartic experience, not to mention fascinating. I will be genuinely sorry when this part of fundraising comes to an end, as I don't think I can really stretch this idea to a third book once this one s finished... I must also mention the two dogs Storm and Prince. Storm passed away in the summer after a long battle with lymphoma, but came to many photo sessions. Prince who has a serious spinal condition, but still is enthusiastic to meet as many people as I am!
This new book will feature patients, and their families affected by bowel cancer. I met Gina Shergold who lost her husband Steve to bowel cancer aged just 33, Steve Clark who is approaching the five year mark with stage 4 bowel cancer, Lauren Backler who lost her mum to bowel cancer, and who is tirelessly campaigning to get the screening age reduced to 50 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. I also met 'Bowel Babe' Deborah James, a stage 4 cancer patient who is like a tornado in her fight with bowel cancer, raising awareness, and huge amounts of money. Then there was another Deborah James, who I had got to know over a couple of years on social media, and we finally met up in May. Sadly she passed away in July aged just 37 years old, and she left a lasting impression on me and many others.
|Being Taught Selfies by Deborah James|
Sport has played a big part in the book too, meeting with ex-professional footballers Kevin Sheedy and Eddie Gray. Kevin is a bowel cancer survivor. I met with 4 Olympic gold medallists: Anne Dickins, Jeanette Chippington, Carl Hester and Zac Purchase. I am soon to meet with Christine Ohuruogu in the new year.
I've already met with a very eclectic list of musicians: Frank Turner, John Coghlan, Steve Hackett, Steve Barnard, James Stevenson, Amy Macdonald, New Model Army, Skinny Lister, Hazel O'Connor and Billy Ocean. Plenty more planned for next year so watch this space.
|Billy Ocean in Oxford|
I kept up the tradition of cricket related people I bean in the last book, Lives & Times. I met with journalist George Dobell in Birmingham, and commentators Daniel Norcross and Natalie Germanos. I am still hoping to meet Ebony Rainford-Brent and Mike Selvey.
The world of television, media and entertainment has been very fruitful with meetings with Victoria Derbyshire, Nicola Bryant, Bill Turnbull, Sean Fletcher, David Baddiel, Janet Ellis, and Colin MurrayI spent a brilliant day in South Yorkshire where I met writer and broadcaster Andrew White, followed by the brilliant poet Ian McMillan. There was also a trip to Glasgow to meet Laura Boyd from STV - Laura who has been living with leukaemia since 2009. The year ended with a wonderful meeting with Basil Brush in pantomine at Windsor.
So as 2018 approaches the journey continues. I have a big list of people I am hoping to meet up with including, Kim Wilde, Michelle Collins, Susan George, Dan Walker, Daf Wyn-Farr Jones, Frazer Hines, Steve Norman, The Levellers, Jona Lewie, Jay Aston, Jules Peters, Adam Green Kirsty Duffy, Terry Christian, Ed Bazelgette, Stacey Heale, Sian Lloyd, Matt Allwright, Richard & Sarah Haugh, Mark Flannigan, Mari Isdale, Jacquie Beltrao, Omid Djalili, Noel Darvell, Gareth Jones, Freya North, Gail Porter, Elizabeth Alker, David Grant, Nick Robinson, and Annabel Giles. I am also still on the lookout for more people.
A big thank you to everyone who has been involved so far, and for those who are upcoming in 2018. The recent news of Beating Bowel Cancer merging with Bowel Cancer UK, creating the UK's leading bowel cancer charity gives fresh impetus to everyone, and the hope that in the future no-one will die of bowel cancer. I will continue with my fundraising and helping to raise awareness.
I wish everyone a very Happy New Year, and I hope 2018 is a good one for everyone.