Newcastle becomes United

Newcastle was very much united today as the city, its inhabitants and many others who travelled in from further afield came together to hold a counter-demonstration and march in response to a demonstration by the German based far right movement – PEGIDA. The group formed originally by a German PR agency owner called Lutz Bachmann, held its first ever demonstration in the UK and three to four hundred people attended.

The group whose name translates as ‘Patriotic Europeans against the Islamification of the West‘ claim to be trying to defend countries from the spread of extremism at the hands of Muslim immigrants.

In response, a newly formed group called ‘Newcastle Unites’ quickly put the word out and organised a counter-march and community groups, trade unionists, political figures, anti-facists, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus and Islamic communities and other men, women, children and families formed a three thousand strong multi-cultural group that marched through the centre of the city in response to the Pegida demonstration….

 

Here’s a few pictures from the day that I shot whilst on assignment for Getty Images , you can see more via the link, and I’ve broken the pictures down into 4 groups as you will see from the sub-title above each set…

 

Anti-Pegida Demonstration organised by Newcastle Unites

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Police

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Pegida Demonstration

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#newcastleunites

#pegida

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Boxing Clever

I was in Horden in County Durham a couple of days ago on assignment for Getty Images shooting material for a pre-election feature on the town. During the day that I spent there I came across a boxing club and after a little digging found out that it was open later that evening so I decided to go along to Horden Amateur Boxing Club and have a chat and try to arrange to shoot a few pictures.

On the evening I went back and there were around 15 people attending, ranging in age from 10 to 27 all under the expert eye of head trainer, Liam. During a relatively short period of time I photographed them training and it was good to see the commitment and dedication of the youngsters to their training and the keenness that they went about the training they were asked to do.

It offers the boxers and especially the youngest amongst them an opportunity to commit to something and gives them an outlet and it’s a place I’d like to go back to and spend a little more time there than I had the other evening.

Below are a few of the pictures I shot in the brief time I was there….

 

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Grassroots – Coatham

Continuing today with my coverage of #Grassroots party activity on the build up to the General Election in May later this year, I followed UK Independence Party Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Redcar and Cleveland, Chris Gallacher as he led a leaflet drop campaign around the Coatham area of Redcar.

 

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#Grassroots

Click on the links below to see more in the #Grassroots series…

Grassroots – Redcar

Grassroots – Horden

Grassroots – Hartlepool

Grassrots – Dormanstown

Grassroots – Eston

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Grassroots – Redcar

As I continue with my #Grassroots coverage of the political parties as they ramp up their activities on the road to the General Election this coming May I once again headed out with Anna Turley, the Labour Party candidate for Redcar and Cleveland and some of her team as they went door to door in Redcar around the West Dyke Road area to speak to residents.

Anna was joined by Labour Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall MP who came up from Leicester to help support the team and after chatting to the party members in a local pub about some of the issues facing the party she joined them as they headed out onto the streets…

A few of the pictures are below and further links to previous #Grassroots features I’ve shot can be seen at the bottom.

 

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#Grassroots

Click on the links below to see more in the #Grassroots series…

Grassroots – Horden

Grassroots – Hartlepool

Grassrots – Dormanstown

Grassroots – Eston

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Grassroots – Horden

Horden is a coastal town on the North-east coast of England in County Durham. Politically it is part of the wider Easington constituency and is a key marginal seat that is sure to play an important part in the General Election this coming May. Split between the Horden North and Horden South wards of Durham County Council it has been represented since 2010 by Grahame Morris of the Labour Party.

Built-up around a strong coal mining heritage the mine here was one of the biggest and most productive in Europe. Operated mainly for the purpose of working undersea coal it had three shafts and at the height of operating in the 1930s it employed over 4000 men and produced over 1.5million tonnes of coal a year.

Unfortunately large volumes of water and other geological issues meant that Horden Colliery failed to make a profit from the later part of the 1970s onwards, and in 1986 it was finally closed.

Inevitably after the closure the town started to suffer from increased unemployment, a rise in anti-social behaviour, higher than average health issues and a decline in some of the housing standards – with many of the original miner’s housing – the numbered streets such as Twelfth and Thirteenth Streets – becoming particularly neglected.

With around 130 of the homes in and around these streets and which are currently owned by Accent Housing Association remaining empty many of them have fallen into a state of disrepair and now require substantial work to repair them. Accent state that when millions of pounds of regeneration money was withdrawn following the government’s implementation of the bedroom tax they could no longer afford to follow through with the investment plan that they had in place. Discussions are now taking place to determine what can be done with the properties to improve them.

Over recent years Horden has benefited from the removal of mining spoil heaps and the redevelopment of its Welfare Park which houses Horden’s rugby, cricket and football teams. The Durham Heritage Coast Partnership is committed to the conservation, protection and enhancement of the coastline and is now home to a rich variety of flora and fauna.

 

To finish off the day of #Grassroots I also covered a public meeting for residents of Horden organised by the UK Independence Party as they look to increase their influence ahead of the General election this coming May. The UKIP MEP for the North East region Jonathan Arnott was joined by MEP and Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Dudley North Bill Etheridge and together they spoke to members of the public who attended the meeting about their approach to key issues before they opened up the floor to a question and answer session.

 

Below are some of the pictures I shot as part of the series whilst on assignment for Getty Images and which form part of a pre-election feature that I wanted to do on the town and also as part of the #Grassroots coverage I’m working on as we head towards the election. It was a very long and busy day but I met some really friendly people through the day and it was good to see that despite some difficulties in recent years there still remains a sense of community and a pride in a town that like so many other former mining towns around the north of the country that have suffered so much there still remains some hope that things may change in the future.

 

Hopefully it will and my thanks go to those I met during my time in Horden for chatting to me and letting me shoot some pictures.

 

 

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#Grassroots

Click on the links below to see more in the #Grassroots series…

Grassroots – Hartlepool

Grassrots – Dormanstown

Grassroots – Eston

See more of my work on my website and blogs via the link…. HERE

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Harry

A few from today and Prince Harry’s visit to the charity Armed Forces & Veterans Launchpad at Avondale House in Byker, Newcastle. The charity provides accommodation and support for Armed Forces veterans who are making the transition into civilian life. The Prince met and spoke with former servicemen who are currently making use of Avondale House.

Before leaving he stopped to chat with members of the public who had waited in the cold and drizzle to see him.

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#princeharry

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Chinese New Year – Newcastle

The Chinese community came together today to welcome in the Chinese New Year in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Dragon and Lion dances and a celebration of Chinese culture and food were enjoyed by thousands of people who attended the event in the Chinatown area of the city…

 

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#Chinesenewyear

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Grassroots – Stockton

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls MP visited the Cotswold Manufacturing factory in Stockton-on-Tees today. The visit aimed to highlight Labour’s economic plans for better prosperity in the North-east of England. During the tour of the facility he was accompanied by Louise Baldock, Labour’s candidate for Stockton South and together they met with employees from the company who produce a range of doors, door kits and frames for commercial, residential, leisure and education sectors of the construction industry.

Here’s  few from the job…

 

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#Grassroots

Click on the links below to see more in the #Grassroots series…

Grassroots – Hartlepool

Grassrots – Dormanstown

Grassroots – Eston

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The Cleveland Hunt

Horses, riders and hounds got together at Saltburn Riding Stables today before heading out on the annual Cleveland hunt meeting.

 

Cleveland Hunt Meeting

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#Clevelandhunt

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The Fleet

Some of Scarborough fishing fleet moored up in the harbour at Scarborough…

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Scarborough Skipping

The annual Shrove Tuesday skipping event in Scarborough, North Yorkshire officially started today with the ringing of the Pancake Bell. Traditionally the sign for the ‘women folk‘ to start making pancakes. The tradition of skipping on Shrove Tuesday is said to date back to 1903, when it’s thought that fishermen would use Shrove Tuesday to sort out their nets and ropes, and then hand over the discarded ones to the children to skip with.

 

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The Gare

The light was good the other evening so I headed down to South Gare to shoot a few pictures…

 

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Good from Bad

Disabled pensioner Alan Barnes, 67, was pushing his bin outside his home in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, on January 25, when he was attacked and pushed to the ground by an attacker and suffered a broken collar bone.

Following the assault, a 21-year-old beautician Katie Cutler, also from Gateshead, was so moved by the cowardly attack on Mr Barnes that she set up an online donation page which in a very short space of time generated three hundred and thirty thousand one hundred and thirty five pounds – all donated by well wishers.

Mr Barnes, who has suffered from sight and growth problems since birth, said he was overwhelmed by the response from all those across the globe who have donated and since the attack he and Katie have become good friends.

I photographed an event yesterday afternoon for Getty Images held at the Assembly Rooms in Newcastle where Mr Barnes was formally presented with the cheque for the raised sum of money by Katie. Below are a selection of pictures from the event.

 

Pictures from this set were used here…

The Daily Mirror

The Daily Mail

NB: The second image in the Daily Mirror gallery link above has an incorrect byline. It should read ‘Owen Humphreys/Press Association‘ as that one is his shot.

 

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Seacoalers

Coming from coal seams in sea cliffs or underwater deposits centuries old coal is deposited on the beach as the tide drops at Saltburn following strong seas over previous days.

Traditionally collected and used for heating, cooking and garden nutrient it is thought that European cultures dating back to the Romans and before used sea-coal.  In places where this coal occurred it could be a dependable source of fuel and there were professional sea-coal gatherers and small local industries that existed to gather and sell the coal.  This tradition continues in many areas, particularly in northern Britain as other sources of fuel become more expensive.

 

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#Coastpeople

 

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Grassroots – Hartlepool

I was on assignment yesterday for Getty Images covering the UK Independence Party North east conference held at the Borough Hall in Hartlepool. The event brought together members of the party to listen to a series of speakers from the party leadership including their party leader Nigel Farage, the Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall and the MEP for the north east region Jonathan Arnott.

The aim of the conference was to discuss a number of issues relating to the party and to help motivate delegates and UKIP members on the build up to the elections in May.

As with any political event like this it’s always a hectic day trying to get the pictures of the personalities and trying to catch some expressions and a bit of emotion – hopefully with eyeline to the camera – along with some pictures to show a bit of the background ‘colour’ as well as getting pictures of those delegates attending the event. Mixed in with all this you have to find the time to edit, caption and file pictures back to the desk several times through the day. But despite the chaotic nature of it all they’re still quite good fun to cover and in time you can learn to tune out to a degree much of what the various speakers might be going on about which sometimes helps!

Here’s just a small selection of pictures from the day…

 

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#Grassroots

Click on the links below to see more in the #Grassroots series…

Grassroots – Dormanstown

Grassroots – Eston

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Grassroots – Eston

Labour Party members were out on a cold and snowy afternoon in Eston recently to knock on some doors and meet some of the residents as they work the campaign trail on the build up to the general election this coming May. Labour party candidate for the election in May, Anna Turley led the afternoon’s canvassing which brought them into contact with some of the people who live within that part of the Redcar constituency and who are currently represented by Ian Swales of the Liberal Democrats.

The campaigning that take place at this grassroots level and which all parties conduct across the whole country is an integral part of the political process and as momentum builds as we get closer to May 7th all parties will be increasing the tempo of these essential support-building and potential vote-winning activities.

Note:

I’ve started this project on the #Grassroots activities in this area as part of coverage for Getty Images as we head towards the election in May. I hope to be able to spend time with as many of the parties as I can over the next few months as they go door-to-door campaigning, distributing leaflets, conducting action days and canvassing in their areas as they try and secure those all important votes and to show some of what goes on behind the scenes as the political parties increase the tempo of their campaigns.

This is the second post in the #Grassroots series. The first, featuring a visit to the area by the Labour Shadow minister Dan Jarvis can be seen here…

Grassroots – Dormanstown

You can follow my posts and stories over coming months here on Room 2850 or follow the links that I’ll post to the usual social media.

#Grassroots

 

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#Grassroots

 

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Holocaust Memorial Day

A service took place today at St Barnabas Church in Middlesbrough to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. The hour-long service brought together people from the local community and from all backgrounds and religious beliefs to mark the 70-year anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and also to remember the millions that were killed by the Nazi’s in all of the camps across Europe during World War Two.

One of the other themes of this and other events throughout the country was also to acknowledge and highlight the other genocides that have taken place such as those in Srebrenica in Bosnia, Darfur, Rwanda and Cambodia.

 

You who live secure
In your warm houses
Who return at evening to find
Hot food and friendly faces

Extract from…SHEMA by Primo Leiv

 

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Grassroots – Dormanstown

The Labour shadow Justice Minister Dan Jarvis MP visited Dormanstown in Redcar earlier today. The visit comes on day eight of a nine day national tour ahead of Labour’s general election campaign and Mr Jarvis heard about the challenges of providing neighbourhood policing after government cuts to police funding and force numbers as well as chatting to some of the people from the area.

Along with Mr Jarvis was the Labour candidate for Redcar and Cleveland Anna Turley and the police and crime commissioner for Cleveland Barry Coppinger.

 

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#Grassroots

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Feeding the Swaddles

Hill farmer Mark Rukin from Gatehouse Farm near Keld heads out on his quad bike to feed his stock of pure bred Swaledale sheep following a night of snow and freezing cold temperatures on the North Yorkshire Moors…

 

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Nice Light

Here’s a few pictures from over the last couple of days taken around Saltburn and South Gare…and the light was really working!

 

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…and the picture above also made the Guardian Eyewitness…

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