Monday, 28 September 2015

Eric Cantona

Éric Daniel Pierre Cantona (French pronunciation: ​[e'ʁik kɑ̃to'na]; born 24 May 1966) is a French actor and former international footballer for the French national team. He played for AuxerreMartiguesMarseilleBordeauxMontpellierNîmes and Leeds Unitedbefore ending his career at Manchester United where he won four Premier League titles in five years and two League and FA Cup Doubles.
A large, physically strong, hard-working, and tenacious forward, who combined technical skill and creativity with power and goalscoring ability, Cantona is often regarded as having played a key role in the revival of Manchester United as a footballing force in the 1990s and he enjoys iconic status at the club.[1] He wore the number 7 shirt at Manchester United with his trademark upturned collar.[2] Cantona is affectionately nicknamed by Manchester United fans as "King Eric", and was voted as Manchester United's greatest ever player by Inside United magazine.[3] Set against his achievements in football was a poor disciplinary record for much of his career, including a 1995 conviction for a 'kung-fu' assault on a fan, and at a press conference following his initial conviction Cantona gave his famous "seagulls" statement.[4] His disciplinary record, however, was much improved after he returned from the eight-month suspension right up to his retirement as a player two years later.
Following his retirement from football in 1997, he took up a career in cinema and had a role in the 1998 film Elizabeth, starring Cate Blanchett, the 2008 film French Film, and the 2009 film Looking for Eric. In 2010, he débuted as a stage actor in Face au Paradis, a French play directed by his wife, Rachida Brakni.[5]
An inaugural inductee into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002, the museum states: "The enigmatic Frenchman was one of the Premier League's most talented, controversial players".[2] On 19 January 2011, Cantona joined the revived New York Cosmos as Director of Soccer

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Lorraine Kelly

Lorraine KellyOBE (born 30 November 1959 is a television presenter, journalist and actress, best known as a presenter for TV-am, and later GMTV and ITV Breakfast, on Daybreak and Lorraine. Previously, she was a reporter and main presenter of TV-am's Good Morning Britain, one of the UK's original breakfast television news programmes.
Between 2012 and 2014, Kelly was a main female presenter of ITV's Daybreak, which she co-hosted from Monday to Thursdays with Aled Jones.[2]

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Susanna Victoria Reid

Susanna Victoria Reid[3] (born 10 December 1970)[4] is an English journalist and presenter best known as the co-presenter of BBC Breakfast from 2003 until her departure in early 2014.
Since April 2014, Reid has co-presented the ITV Breakfast programme Good Morning Britain with Ben Shephard. She currently appears every Monday to Thursday.[5]

Monday, 31 August 2015

13 Members of BVUK

Blind artist who will never see his painting to display special work at Westminster Abbey Service to mark military charity’s centenary

A blind artist who says he owes his life to Blind Veterans UK has produced a special painting to thank and mark the centenary of the charity.

Matt Rhodes with his version of Gassed alongside the original in IWM London Low Res
Matthew Rhodes, 40 and from Preston, has painted a modern version of the iconic John Singer Sargent painting “Gassed”. The original, now hanging in IWM London, depicts a line of wounded soldiers walking towards a dressing station following a mustard gas attack in the First World War.

Matt’s version shows 13 veterans currently supported by the charity set in a composition that mirrors the original, with the veterans walking with their arm on the shoulder of the person in front. The veterans featured range in age from 25 to 99 and have fought in conflicts including the Second World War, Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan. It also includes the artist himself.

This week (23/09), Matt was invited to display his painting alongside the original at IWM London before it plays an important role in the Blind Veterans UK Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey next month (06/10). 

Matt spent almost 100 hours working on the artwork at the Blind Veterans UK Llandudno centre last month, using a technique that he first developed with one of the charity’s art and craft instructorseight years ago. 

He has gone on to paint hundreds of pictures and says that the art has given him “a new lease of life”.

Matt joined the army in 1993 serving with the 1st Battalion, Devonshire and Dorset regiment in Canada, Germany and Bosnia and, in 1995, tragically lost his sight after a motorcycle accident left him with a traumatic brain injury as well as paralysis down the right side of his body.

Matt’s paralysis has also meant that right-handed Matt has had to learn to paint with his weaker left hand as well as with his sight loss and, due to the nature of his sight loss, he will never be able to see his creation in its entirety even though it is completed.

Matt says: “I have half tunnel vision so when I’m working I can only see small sections of the painting like a head or an arm. I have to work my way around doing each bit on its own. It does mean that I can never see the whole finished work.” 
Matt Rhodes and Nick Caplin Outside IWM Low Res
Matt has been supported by Blind Veterans UK since 1996 and, as well as having art training, has also received equipment and training to allow him to continue to live independently at home.

He says: “I owe Blind Veterans UK so much. That is why I’m so pleased to be able to share this painting and honour the centenary of the charity.

“I would never have believed when I lost my sight that I would be able to paint but Blind Veterans UK show you what you can do rather than what you can’t. I paint almost every day now and I have Blind Veterans UK to thank for that.”
IWM London invited Matt to display his painting alongside the John Singer-Sargent original this week.

Will Fowlis, Visitor and Customer Engagement Team Leader, IWM London said: “It is fantastic to see how this painting, one of the most important works in IWM’s art collection, continues to inspire people today.

“It was an honour to welcome Matt to the museum today with his modern interpretation of this painting and to view it alongside the original. We wish Matt and Blind Veterans UK all the best with this project moving forward.”

Blind Veterans UK (formerly St Dunstan’s) was founded in 1915 and the charity’s initial purpose was to help and support soldiers blinded in World War I. But the organisation has gone on to support more than 35,000 blind veterans and their families, spanning World War II to recent conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan.

For 100 years, the charity has been providing vital free training, rehabilitation, equipment and emotional support to blind and vision impaired veterans no matter when they served or how they lost their sight.

Chief Executive of Blind Veterans UK, Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin CB, said: “Matt’s achievement is fantastic. It’s brilliant to see the passion he has for his art and we are very proud that this painting celebrates the work of the charity in this, our centenary year.

“The Sargent original hanging in the Imperial War Museum is an iconic image of the First World War and it was from those fields that the first veterans the charity supported, emerged 100 years ago.

“Matt’s version captures the journey that our veterans undertake and brilliantly demonstrates the breadth of people we support. In the past year, more blind veterans have registered for our help than ever before in the charity’s history so even more veterans will be able to take this journey and discover a life beyond sight loss.”

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Andy Murray

Andrew Barron Murray OBE (born 15 May 1987) is a British professional tennis player, currently ranked World No. 3.[10] He started playing tennis at the age of three, entered his first competitive tournament at age five and was playing league tennis by the time he was eight. He is known to be one of the most consistent players on the tour, having reached at least the quarter-finals of all Grand Slam Tournaments he has participated in since 2011.[12] When he was 15 he moved to Barcelona to train at the Sánchez-Casal Academy. He won the junior US Open in 2004 and turned professional the following year. Murray has been ranked as British No. 1since 27 February 2006. He achieved a top-10 ranking by the ATP for the first time on 16 April 2007, and reached a career peak of world No. 2 on 17 August 2009.
Murray defeated Roger Federer at the 2012 Olympic Games in straight sets to win the gold medal in the men's singlesfinal, becoming the first British singles champion in over 100 years. He also won a silver medal in the mixed doubles, playing with Laura Robson. At the 2012 US Open, Murray became the first British player since 1977, and the first British man since 1936, to win a Grand Slam singles tournament, when he defeated Novak Djokovic in five sets. This title made him the only British male to become a Grand Slam singles champion during the Open Era. On 7 July 2013, Murray won the 2013 Wimbledon Championships, becoming the first British player to win a Wimbledon singles title since Virginia Wade in 1977, and the first British man to win the Men's Singles Championship since Fred Perry77 years previously. He again beat Djokovic in the final, this time in straight sets. Murray is the only man in history to have won Olympic Gold and the US Open in the same calendar year, as well as only the third man to hold the Gold Medal and two majors on different surfaces (after Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal). Subsequent to his success at the Olympics and Wimbledon, Murray was voted the 2013 BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
He has been the runner-up in six other singles Grand Slam finals: the 2008 US Open, the 201020112013 and 2015 Australian Open, and the 2012 Wimbledon Championships, losing three each to Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. He is the first man in the open era to achieve four runner-up finishes at the Australian Open, after losing to Djokovic in the final of the 2015 Australian Open. In 2011, Murray became only the seventh player in the Open Era to reach the semifinals of all four Grand Slam tournaments in one year.[13] During the 2013 season he became the sixth man in tennis history to have won over $30 million in career prize money. After reaching the French Open semifinal in 2014 he became the tenth man to reach two or more semifinals at each of the four Majors.[14]

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Billy Baxter

As a Rehabilitation Training Liaison Officer for Blind Veterans UK, 48 year old Billy Baxter is an inspiration to our new members when they visit our Llandudno rehabilitation, care and training centre. His extrovert personality and positive attitude is infectious. He is also the town Cior for Llandudno.

But as Billy says, he would not be alive today if it were not for the emotional strength of his wife Karen and the support of Blind Veterans UK.

When Billy Baxter, a former Staff Sergeant in the British Army, lost his sight in 1997 from a virus, he became extremely bitter and depressed.

Billy said: "I was ready to commit suicide, I felt useless and angry and I didn't want to put Karen and the kids through any more misery. If it hadn't been for Karen and Blind Veterans UK I would not have the great life I have now".

Shortly before Billy was discharged from the Army, Karen found out about Blind Veterans UK, but Billy refused to apply for membership, being too proud to admit he needed help. So Karen enquired on his behalf and managed to persuade Billy to go on an introductory stay with the organisation.

Karen said: "When Billy lost his sight he was very, very angry. Everything me and the kids did he would snap at us for. I had had enough and was ready to pack my bags and leave him. But when he came back from Blind Veterans UK's training and rehabilitation centre in Brighton he was the real Billy again. It was such a relief and we are just so grateful."

Billy said: "When I arrived at the centre and met the staff and other members of Blind Veterans UK I realised I wasn't alone. That changed everything for me."

Karen adds: "I never thought that Billy would be able to work again, so when he got the job at Blind Veterans UK's Llandudno centre I couldn't believe it.  It is so fantastic, we are so happy now."

Friday, 15 May 2015

John Barnes

John Charles Bryan Barnes MBE(born 7 November 1963) is a Jamaican-born English former footballer and manager, who currently works as a commentator and pundit for ESPN[2]and SuperSport.
During his playing career, Barnes had successful periods at Watford and Liverpool in the 1980s and 1990s, winning the First Division twice, the FA Cup twice, and playing for England 79 times (at the time, a record for a blackplayer). After a period at Newcastle United, he ended his playing career at Charlton Athletic in 1999.
After retiring as a player, Barnes had a brief stint as head coach of Celtic in 1999–2000, working alongside Kenny Dalglish. He took over as manager of the Jamaica national team in 2008, but resigned six months later to become manager at Tranmere Rovers. He was sacked by Tranmere in 2009, after a series of poor results that saw the club make one its poorest starts to a season in its history.
An Anfield legend, Barnes was voted by Liverpool fans at number five in their 2006 poll of 100 Players who shook the Kop. A year later in 2007, FourFourTwomagazine acclaimed Barnes as the best Liverpool player of all time.
Barnes featured on the song "World in Motion" by New Order, performing a rap towards the end of the song, which was released ahead of England's 1990 FIFA World Cup campaign.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Bill Shankly

William "Bill" Shankly OBE (2 September 1913 – 29 September 1981) was a Scottish footballer and manager who is best known for his time as manager of Liverpool.
Shankly came from a small Scottish mining community as one of five brothers who played football professionally. He played as a ball winning right half and was capped twelve times for Scotland, including seven wartime internationals. He spent one season at Carlisle United before spending the rest of his career at Preston North End, with whom he won the FA Cup in 1938. His playing career was interrupted by his service in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. He became a manager after he retired from playing in 1949, returning to Carlisle United. He later managed Grimsby TownWorkington[1][2] and Huddersfield Townbefore moving to become Liverpool manager in December 1959.
Shankly took charge of Liverpool when they were in the Second Division and rebuilt the team into a major force in English and European football. He led Liverpool to the Second Division Championship to gain promotion to the top-flight First Division in 1962, before going on to win three First Division Championships, two FA Cups, four Charity Shields and one UEFA Cup. Shankly announced his surprise retirement from football a few weeks after Liverpool won the 1974 FA Cup Final, having managed the club for fifteen years, and was succeeded by his long-time assistant Bob Paisley. He died seven years later at the age of 68