Teesside Palestine solidarity campaign

Members of the Teesside Palestine solidarity campaign group gathered in the centre of Middlesbrough town centre earlier this evening to mount a peaceful demonstration to voice their opposition to the current Israeli actions in Gaza.

 

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

Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth / London News Pictures

No usage without permission

United in grief

Flowers, cards and tributes – including flowers from the club left on their seats in the stands – are brought to St James’s Park, home of Newcastle United Football Club in honour of John Alder and Liam Sweeney. The two lifelong and dedicated Newcastle fans died along with 296 others in the MH17 Malaysian flight tragedy in the Ukraine.

Cards and football shirts have been brought from all over the country by fans from rival teams along with messages from around the world as they all join together, united in grief and shock to offer their condolences and messages of support to the families.

 

 

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Andrew Robson, son of Newcastle legend Sir Bobby Robson lays flowers and pays his respects as he looks over the sea of shirts and flowers at St James’s Park

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You can see more of my work on my website and blogs via the link… HERE

Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth / Getty Images

No usage without permission

Pitmen’s Pride

From early morning on the twelfth of August in 1871 groups of miners and their families made their way steadily towards the City of Durham. Like small conquering armies they headed towards the cathedral city along the small roads and tracks that snaked through the countryside marching behind heavy canvas banners held aloft by those at the head of the column. Many travelled by foot but some rattled their way towards the city on horse drawn wagons. The pitmen, whilst a little apprehensive about the welcome they might receive from the city folk marched proudly and with purpose.

The city people were not happy that these pitmen were making their way towards their city. They were, in the eyes of those who lived within the relative comfort of the city, a race apart. Living hand to mouth in small isolated villages they eked out a meagre existence. These pitmen who lived constantly within earshot of the clatter of the winding engines and who were always covered by the ever present black dust that permeated everything they owned. Living in their small homes engulfed with the sulphurous fumes that spewed from the ventilation furnaces they appeared, at least to the city dwellers like marauding clans. Coming into their city and taking pleasure in the ale-houses, gambling at pitch and toss or wagering on cockfights. On their way to town they poached the squire’s pheasants and game and stole turnips from his fields and if all of this wasn’t bad enough it was their smouldering discontent, which could erupt at any moment into riot, that was feared most.

 

These days the Durham Miners Gala is no less lively or busy. The people still come but these days they make their way into town in buses or cars rather than making the long walk. People are still partial to the odd pint…or several and in its recent past even the odd fight…or several have been known to break out. But generally speaking the Gala, or ‘Durham Big Meet’ as it is called locally is a little less troublesome. There is a little less of the smouldering discontent and more of a carnival atmosphere pervades. But some still remains. As the speakers, including long time Labour MP and former miner Dennis Skinner address the crowds at the racecourse once the march through the town has ended the political and trade union rhetoric is strong. Feelings remain high among the gathered crowds who listened to the speakers. It always will be in what remains a strong Labour and union area. But in as far as the pits are concerned the winding engines have slowed to a halt. The black dust has now settled. The sulphurous fumes no longer rise into the air and where once a hundred mines made up the mighty Durham coalfield today none remain.

 

Events this Saturday began with many hundreds of people coming together in the Market Place – the main assembly point for the start of the parade through Durham. The colliery brass bands play with vigour as they are followed by their respective banners. Carried by proud men from the outlying towns and villages. Behind these come those with allegiances to those former great colliery villages and together they begin the march from there to the racecourse. Many hundreds of people stand watching along on the route and applaud them as they pass. As they come to the County Hotel on Old Elvet they pause as each band plays a tune to the union leaders the invited guests and local dignitaries who greet the march as they look down from the hotel balcony before stepping off again on the last part of their journey through town.

With thousands of people watching or taking part in the procession it can take three to four hours to pass the County Hotel but an amazing atmosphere of street theatre is created making the occasion more a fiesta than a march.

On arrival at the Racecourse a platform awaits for the speakers to address the crowds. The racecourse quickly fills up with everyone sitting around on the grass. A thousand picnics. There is a lot of drink. Around the perimeter of the field there are food stalls, funfairs and rides offering excitement and thrills to those willing to have a go. Bells, whistles and loud music rise up from the showground amusements in an endless and confusing din as they compete for trade. The smell of food floats through the crowds. Burger stalls. Chips. Candy Floss. Ice cream. Children run playfully amongst the crowds. Younger people drink and have a laugh. Groups of lads show off to groups of girls. Groups of girls show off to groups of lads. Older people and families sit amongst them. The banners that were carried with pride through the city are now all secured to the perimeter fence. Colliery and town band instruments placed carefully at the foot of them. Marking their spot.

 

This year is the 30th anniversary of the miners strike and Durham Big Meet remains a colourful tapestry of traditions and working class history. Police said around 100,000 people attended this meet – the biggest attendance since the miners strike. It remains more about the people than the politics. This is how it should be but both are intertwined. It is about the people who take part or line the streets. Especially for the younger people or children who will come to know and understand an important part of their regional history. It remains a source of great pride and long may it be so and yet it is also tinged with some sadness. Sadness for an industry lost forever to the people of the Durham coalfield.

 

The following poem is by John McNally.

A miner of the Morrison Busty Colliery, Annfield Plain.

The Durham Big Meeting

I see them invade our fair city, their coloured banners high.

I hear the martial music, as each lodge goes marching by,

My heart is filled with northern pride that all we miners know,

And I, with teaming thousands more, reflect an inner glow.

Oh! Come you Durham miners, come across the River Wear,

With many a laugh, and many a song, and many a hidden tear.

With banners fluttering in the breeze, and many a head held high,

Each Lodge comes gaily into view, and then goes marching by.

As I pass the County, each band outplays the rest,

For there the miners’ leaders stand, with many an honoured guest.

I wonder what our leaders feel, like generals, as they view,

The best shock troops of Europe were never quite as true.

They must be proud, Sam Watson, Jimmy Kelly, and the rest,

To know that passing years have proved they really stood the test.

Above the River Wear so proud, erect, serene,

The beautiful Cathedral lends its grandeur to the scene,

As it has done through all the years the miners rallied here,

A monument to all their hopes, and to their God so near.

So yearly let it still unfold, this pageantry so dear,

And let the miners’ lodges march across the River Wear,

And, we’ll be there, we Durham men, to give a Durham greeting,

To welcome all the miners as they come to their BIG MEETING.

Below are a few of my shots from the day…..

Durham Miners GalaOne of the colliery bands and their banner stops outside the balcony of the County Hotel to play in front of large crowds

Durham Miners Gala

Nora Newby, 80, from Chilton is one of the first to arrive. Standing in the same spot from 6am for 59 years.Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala

Former miner Billy Huitson, 88, stands and salutes one of the colliery bands as it arrives at the County HotelDurham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners GalaDurham Miners Gala

Durham Miners Gala Long time Labour party politician and former miner Dennis Skinner addresses the crowds on the racecourse

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CAMERA INFO - All my pictures from the day were shot with a Fuji X-Pro 1 fitted with an 18mm f2 lens (27mm equivalent) and a Leica M9 fitted with a 50mm f2 Summicron lens. The Summicron lens was also fitted with a 3 stop ND filter allowing me to shoot at wider apertures in the bright sunshine. All pictures were subsequently edited using Lightroom 5.5 and Photo Mechanic. Some minimal dodge and burn techniques were used on some of the pictures using Photoshop CS3. No excessive manipulation of any images was carried out and any editing was in line with what could be achieved in a traditional darkroom.

 

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

Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth / London News Pictures 

No usage or reproduction without permission

Public sector strike action

A public sector worker stands on a picket line during a strike outside the Vancouver House building in Middlesbrough town centre.

The strike is part of a country wide action that will see an expected 1.5 million workers including teachers, firefighters and civil servant members of public sector unions such as Unison, Unite, GMB, PCS, FBU and NUT take part in the strike over pay, pensions and working conditions.

 

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

Great Yorkshire Show 2014

Yesterday was the first day of the 2014 Great Yorkshire Show. The show is England’s premier agricultural event and is based on the 250-acre Great Yorkshire Showground near Harrogate. The Main Ring is the hub of the Show providing a setting for international show jumping and a world class cattle parade. The showground is filled with animals, country demonstrations, have-a-go activities and rural crafts with thousands of visitors expected to visit the show that runs over three days.

During the first day the Countess of Wessex visited the show and met livestock owners and held a Sea Eagle as she visited a number of the demonstrations.

The Great Yorkshire Show first came about in October 1837 when a group of leading agriculturalists, led by the third Earl Spencer, met at the Black Swan Hotel in Coney Street, York to discuss the future of the farming industry.

From this meeting a decision was made to form an organisation – the Yorkshire Agricultural Society – whose aims were to improve and develop agriculture and to hold an annual agricultural show of excellence. The Great Yorkshire Show remains the leading agricultural show in the country.

 

First day of the Great Yorkshire Show

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See more of my work on my website and blogs via the link here

Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth / London News Pictures

The Yorkshire effect

The helicopters buzzing around overhead indicated that it was getting closer. That finally and after many hours the waiting was almost over.

The relentless rise of cheering voices, the sound of whistles blowing and of cow bells being rung let everyone knew that it was almost upon them.

The cars and motorbikes sped past. Police motor cycle riders high-fived the crowds lining the streets. The sound of endless car horns left your head buzzing. Public address systems mounted on official looking cars shouted out instructions. Something in French that not many could really understand. Something about not standing too close. Nobody could really hear it anyway. Nobody seemed to care.

Then it was upon them. Speeding past in a blur of colours. Pumping legs and a bobbing sea of cycling helmets. An unfamiliar crescendo of noise as nearly 200 hundred riders roared past, their pedals turning fast. A rush of air washed over those standing close and the cheering reached a new, louder peak.

 

The Tour de France Peloton had arrived. In fact no, let me add to that. The Tour de France Peloton had arrived in Yorkshire and the people of Yorkshire were just a bit excited about that.

For the first time in the 111-year history of the race three of the stages were to be held in the UK. The 190km Stage 1 ran from Leeds to Harrogate. Stage 2, the longest of the three at 201km went from York to Sheffield and Stage 3 started in Cambridge and ended 155km later in London.

But over the first two days it was the people of Yorkshire who really took hold of this race and made it their own. The months of planning, the endless organising and logistical arrangements along every stretch of the route was all geared towards those 15 or 20 seconds when the Peloton raced past.

It is estimated that 2.5 million people lined the roads for the first two stages of the tour! That amounts to half the population of Yorkshire!

Bunting was strung out over the streets. The colours of the race – from the race jerseys – was the theme. White, green, yellow and white with red polka dots was everywhere. On cars, in windows, painted on sheep, on flags, drawn on the side of hills, hanging from lamp posts, painted onto people…it covered everything.

Wherever you went in Yorkshire there seemed to be a push bike of some description either propped up against or hanging from something and every single one of them was sprayed yellow. If you’ve always had an ambition to start a yellow bike re-cycling business then I would suggest now is the time.

 

The Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme, described Yorkshire’s Grand Depart as the “grandest” in the history of the race. Asked whether Le Tour will return to the UK, Mr Prudhomme said: “Yes. The question is not if, but when, although I don’t have the answer for the second part.

“Thank you. It was unbelievable. I can see the Tour in their hearts, and in their eyes. For that, I say thank you to everyone in Yorkshire who has made this Grand Depart so very, very special.”

 

The five-time Tour victor Bernard Hinault said that it was the first time in four decades he had seen such crowds.

 

Whether you’re ‘into‘ your cycling or not anyone who watched this event from the streets or from the hills of Yorkshire couldn’t help but feel caught up in the buzz that surrounded it. The build up to the Peloton arriving was a huge part of the event. The participation of the crowd. A young boy of around 5 or 6 cycling through the main street of Ilkley was cheered and encouraged as loudly as the race leader by onlookers. The 4-seater quad cycle making its way slowly up the steep hill of Holme Moss was treated to the shouts, the whistles and the ringing cow bells that all potential ‘King of the Hill’ riders get. Anyone and everyone on a bike was cheered along as a prelude to the main race passing by.

 

As for me? Well I was living, sleeping and eating out of my Land Rover for the three days I covered the event for Getty Images . I spent the Friday looking at the build up at Harewood House near Leeds prior to the start the following day. A wet and grey day that lacked a little of the colour that was needed to help lift the occasion.

On Saturday as the sun shone and the weather improved I covered the race and the crowds in Ilkley during Stage 1 before finally making my way further south to cover the Holme Moss climb on Stage 2 on the Sunday.

 

I’ve put a few of my pictures below and have broken them down in to the various parts that I covered. Enjoy.

 

Harewood House – The day before the ‘Grand Depart’…..

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Ilkley sees the Peloton arrive on stage 1…..

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One of the many impromptu campsites that sprung up to cater for spectators along the route – this one was just over an hours walk to the Holme Moss hill climb…..

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From the surrounding campsites spectators made the long walk in to get to the hill…..

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…and then they waited. Until the pre-race caravan past by to entertain the crowds before the Peloton made its way up Holme Moss hill…

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Riders

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Some of the photographs I saw coming out from other photographers during these stages were pretty amazing – the sort of pictures where you say to yourself “Shit! I wish I’d thought of that or done that!” But you can’t be everywhere and you can only keep working hard to get into a position that might work and do the best you can throughout the job and to be honest I’m reasonably pleased with the pictures I shot – but I’m never fully happy! No photographer ever is.

But nonetheless many of the pictures I shot have started to appear all over the place as a result. Too many links to put here and bore everyone with but I’ve seen some of the pictures used as far afield as St Louis in America to Australia and the Sydney Morning Herald.

On various websites forming part of the global coverage that this race in Yorkshire has received from the likes of CBS News, Al Jazeera, BBC, The Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph, The Metro, Eurosport and so it goes on. As a photographer it’s always good to see your work out there, of course it is, but also to be part of the coverage of an event of this magnitude is a very rewarding experience even for a non-cyclist like myself.

 

 

See more of my work on my website and blogs via the link here

    Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth / Getty Images

No reproduction or usage without permission

Degrees of separation

Middlesbrough town centre hosted two demonstrations yesterday. The first was a counter demonstration held to celebrate diversity on Teesside and also to show opposition against an English Defence League demonstration that had been planned for later the same day…

 

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TECH STUFF: All pictures were shot with a Leica M9 with a 50mm f2 Summicron lens and a Fuji X Pro 1 with an 18mm f2 lens (28mm equivalent on full frame). Images were edited and turned into Black and White using Lightroom 5.5 and Photoshop.

 

See more of my work on my website and the links to my blogs here

Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth / Getty Images

Castlerigg

Visitors to the ancient stone circle of Castlerigg near Keswick in Cumbria celebrated the Summer Solstice and gathered at the stones to party through the night until the sun rose on the morning of the longest day…

 

 

Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle Summer solstice at Castlerigg Stone Circle

 TECH STUFF: Pictures were shot with a Leica M9 with a 50mm f2 Summicron lens and a Fuji X Pro 1 with an 18mm f2 lens (28mm equivalent on full frame). Images were edited with Lightroom 5.5 and Photoshop. All images are edited minimally using only techniques that could be achieved in a traditional darkroom.

 

See more of my work on my website and blogs here

Pictures copyright Ian Forsyth/ London News Pictures

Redcar Land-Sailing

The final round of the British land-sailing championships ran this weekend on the flat sands of Coatham beach in Redcar. The event brought together some of the United Kingdom’s best land sailors to take part in the competition.

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See more of my work here…….

Ian Forsyth photography

Francis Brown

A storm brewin’

There have been quite a few impressive thunder clouds forming over Teesside over the last couple of days….

 

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See more of my work on my website and blogs here

Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth 2014 – No usage without permission

Come to the Mela

The multi-cultural festival that is Middlesbrough Mela kicked off in heavy rain today with a parade by children and community groups around the town centre to mark the official start of the weekend.

Numerous events and stalls will be based around the town’s Centre Square area on the weekend of June 7 and 8 and promises a diverse and colourful line-up of musicians, acts and activities.

Here’s a few pictures from the very start of what promises to be a busy and entertaining weekend…

 

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Technical stuff – For those who are interested in these things all the above pictures were shot with either a Leica M9 with a 50mm f2 Summicron lens and a Fuji X-Pro 1 with an 18mm f2 lens (28mm equivalent on full frame). Images were edited with Lightroom 5 and Photoshop. All images are edited minimally using only techniques that could be achieved in a traditional darkroom.

See more of my work on my website and blogs below…..

Ian Forsyth Photography

Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth/ London News Pictures

High Steppers

The Horse Fair that takes place in the historic market town of Appleby in Cumbria, United Kingdom is the traditional event where gypsies and travellers gather together each year. The event remains one of the largest and oldest events in Europe and gives the opportunity for travelling communities from all over the country and further afield to come together to meet old friends, celebrate their culture, music and folklore and to offer an opportunity to buy and sell horses.

The event which attracts thousands of visitors each year has existed under the protection of a charter granted by King James II in 1685 and it remains the most important event in the gypsy and traveller calendar. I spent some time there over the first couple of days this year and a few of the pictures are below…the fair continues until next Wednesday 11th June.

 

Oh, and in case you didn’t know ‘High Steppers‘ means a horse trained to lift its feet high off the ground while walking or trotting..so there you go.

 

 

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Jason Plant made a 2-week journey to the fair from Stoke on Trent with his family in a convoy of bow top wagons

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Trevor Jones from the Wirral makes the brews for his family on the first day of the fair…

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…he also operated an old knife sharpener…

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Trevor sits on the steps of his bow top and has a morning brew

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Bow tops are lined up on the camp site in Appleby

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Tilly-Raine Barnes, 3, from Rosendale in Lancashire sits on the steps of her parents bow top with ‘Pip’ the dog

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Alistair Mitchell from Rosendale in Lancashire stirs his morning cuppa

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Hayley Price, 4, sits with her sister Candice, 16 months in the grass outside their bow top in Appleby

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Brian Regent sells wrought iron pots and kettles on the campsite

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An Irish gypsy walks his horses and wagon to the campsite in Appleby

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Bow top and horses

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Traditionally taken into the river to be washed and groomed a horse is ridden out of the River Eden in Appleby as an RSPCA officer looks on

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A visitor to the fair reacts to the camera

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Two men ride a sall horse and trap trough the town

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A young boy stands with his two horses

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Riding a horse and trap along what is called the ‘mad mile’ in Appleby

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A street entertainer dances in the street as he plays Irish folk music

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A young girl peers out of a window in the back of her bow top

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Appleby camp site during the horse fair

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High Steppers

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A man waits to see the horses come past on a road into Appleby

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A man sits outside his caravan on one of the camp sites

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A man sits and his wife has a snooze as they enjoy the sun wait for the horses to be ridden past on the ‘mad mile’ – They’ve been coming to the fair for 43 years!

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A girl rides her horse along a road in Appleby

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Waiting on the mad mile

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Horses and traps are driven along the mad mile…

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A father and his son take a walk into town

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Horses are walked down into the town to be taken into the River Eden to be washed and groomed…

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A man stands waiting for horses to be brought past on the way into Appleby town

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Three girls walk a donkey along a road

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Horses are traditionally taken into the River Eden to be washed and groomed…

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Two men sit on the river bank and watch the activities

173 175 177 178 DSCF0134The River Eden in Appleby

Technical stuff – For those who are interested in these things all the above pictures were shot with either a Leica M9 with a 50mm f2 Summicron lens and a Fuji X-Pro 1 with an 18mm f2 lens (28mm equivalent on full frame). Images were edited with Lightroom 5 and Photoshop. All images are edited minimally using only techniques that could be achieved in a traditional darkroom.

 

Some of the pictures I shot were used over on the Daily Mail website and further information on Appleby Horse Fair can be seen here

See more of my work on my website and blogs below…..

Ian Forsyth Photography

Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth/ London News Pictures

 

 

 

 

Evermore

Standing on the gently sloping grassy hills overlooking the picturesque white sand beach of Machir Bay on the western coastline of Islay in the Scottish Hebrides, with the dark granite cliffs of Creag Mhor at your back as you look out over the calm flat waters of the mighty Atlantic that reach out unbroken for three thousand miles until they lap at the shores of America it is easy to become hypnotised by the tranquil scene that lies before you.

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But how different it would have seemed if you were stood in this same spot on the 6 October 1918 when a massive storm raged and battered the coastline before you. Heavy churning seas driving up onto the rocks around the bay.

It was these heavy seas that contributed to the demise of the HMS Otranto and which ultimately caused the deaths of 431 souls and which became the worst America maritime disaster of the First World War.

Launched in 1909 from a Belfast ship yard the 12,124 tonne ship was commissioned as a passenger liner but at the outbreak of war was requisitioned by the Admiralty as an armed merchant cruiser and troop ship. She was involved in the 1914 Battle of Coronel in the South Atlantic, a battle that brought about the biggest defeat the Royal Navy had suffered in over 100 years.

Following this she carried out various other duties until she joined the convoy named HX50 and sailed out of New York bound for Glasgow and Liverpool in October 1918. On board were over 2,000 raw recruits, mostly from the state of Georgia and crew.

The voyage across the Atlantic was an extremely difficult one for the young recruits. Plagued by dreadful weather and by accidents many of them suffered with influenza and dreadful seasickness and then the ship became hopelessly disoriented in the heavy seas by the kind of storm that is not uncommon off the coast of Islay, and she collided with another ship, the SS Kashmir, another liner turned troopship.

Holed on her port side forward the 535ft Otranto began to list and when her engines ground to a halt she drifted towards the cliffs of Machir Bay before running aground. The SOS signal was ordered by Captain Davidson and a Royal Navy destroyer, HMS Mounsey, captained by a Lieutenant Craven made the brave decision to come alongside and try and evacuate as many people as they could.

Eventually the small destroyer had to turn away and head to Belfast after taking on 1,800 people, so many that her own buoyancy was at the very limit and forcing her to leave more than 400 aboard the stricken liner. As the seas pounded the hull she started to break up forcing those remaining on board to attempt to swim ashore.

Sixteen made it alive where the residents of Islay looked after them, offering treatment and baking scones for the survivors. Many of them were hospitalised there until eventual transfer to England. It is thought none of the survivors saw action in the Great War as it ended soon afterwards on 11 November 1918 but 431 souls were lost that day – 351 American troops and 80 British crew – and the people of Islay found themselves with the harrowing task of recovering and documenting the bodies of the dead for a number of weeks following the disaster. A task, to their credit, they carried out with meticulous precision.

Many of the dead were eventually buried in Belfast City cemetery. But Kilchoman military cemetery also stands on the hill overlooking Machir bay. A large memorial cross standing on the seaward side of the plot and engraved with the words ‘Their name liveth for evermore‘. The cemetery contains 74 graves, 71 from Otranto – of whom 43 remain unidentified – and 3 other casualties brought from elsewhere. The grave markers are identical except for the Captain of the Ship who has a more ornate plot.

The remains of the American troops being carried by the ship were also buried here where they remained until 1920 when the American government exhumed the bodies which were either repatriated back to the States or reburied in the American cemetery at Brookwood in Surrey.

The cemetery is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. It is immaculate.

The headstones are surrounded by a border of slate and gravel chippings from which wild heathers and small flowers grow. Offering a subtle contrast of colour against the dark grey headstones within the walls that surround the small site. The voices of seabirds drift in on the wind.

It is quiet here. Respectful. Inspiring even…but also a lonely place.

Clouds drift by overhead momentarily hiding the sun before it appears once again to scatter light onto the buttercups and daisies playing in the grass.

I look down at the base of one of the headstones and read the words engraved upon it…..‘Until the day break and the shadows flee away’.

 

WW1 truce football commemoration event in SAltburn

WW1 truce football commemoration event in SAltburn

WW1 truce football commemoration event in SAltburn

WW1 truce football commemoration event in SAltburn

WW1 truce football commemoration event in SAltburn

WW1 truce football commemoration event in SAltburn

WW1 truce football commemoration event in SAltburn

WW1 truce football commemoration event in SAltburn

WW1 truce football commemoration event in SAltburn

WW1 truce football commemoration event in SAltburn

WW1 truce football commemoration event in SAltburn

WW1 truce football commemoration event in SAltburn

WW1 truce football commemoration event in SAltburn

300px-HMS_Otranto_IWM_SP_001064HMS Otranto

 

See more of my work on my website and blogs….

HERE

‘Weihnachtsfrieden’ – For all those that fell

For just the briefest of moments around Christmas time in 1914 a small reminder of normality amidst the chaos and madness of warfare returned when men, very young men, sitting in the cold trenches of the German Army and dug into the mud of the French countryside began to sing Christmas carols. As their voices rose up and filled the air this small escape from the hardships they were enduring led to a series of widespread and unofficial ceasefires that took place along many parts of the Western Front.

When these German soldiers started to sing the British troops responded and gradually both sets of soldiers moved out of their trenches and met in no-man’s land. The British soldiers on the Frelinghien-Houplines sector on the western front were the main allied participants in the Christmas festivities. After exchanging stories, food and gifts, seasonal greetings, and holding joint burials and singing carols together several games of football broke out – The only result recorded was a 3-2 victory by the Germans, quoted in soldiers’ letters from both sides – On some parts of the front hostilities were officially resumed on Boxing Day at 0830 with a ceremonial pistol shot marking the occasion. In other areas non-aggressive behaviour lasted for days and, in some cases, weeks.

At the time this was all happening around 40,000 Britons had lost their lives – a tiny number compared to the body count by 1918 – as well as thousands more on the French, Belgian and German sides and the Christmas truce or to give it its German name of Weihnachtsfrieden is now looked upon as a symbolic moment of peace and humanity amongst one of the most violent and destructive moments in our history. Over the following years however and despite a small number of truces continuing there were far less of them as orders from the military hierarchy warning against fraternisation with the ‘enemy’ were strictly enforced. As following years saw battles taking place at places such as Verdun and the Somme and with both sides employing poisoned gas and aerial bombardment each increasingly thought of the other side as less than human and became increasingly bitter before eventually any form of truce became unthinkable.

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An event in Saltburn at the weekend commemorated the moment when the opposing troops came together during an event organised to help raise money for the Royal British Legion. Thousands of visitors came to the beach to watch the football game with the players wearing the respective uniforms of the British and German armies. Many visitors bought remembrance crosses that were then planted by Army cadets in a temporary memorial garden created on the beach. Stalls offered food and music was provided by a brass band. The event and the day culminated in a fly past by a vintage Tiger Moth aeroplane that dropped 45,000 poppies over the spectators on the beach as it flew past overhead

 

DSCF0046Both sides line up behind the memorial poppies planted on the beach

 

DSCF0005An on duty RNLI lifeguard watches over visitors to the beach

DSCF0007Army cadets help to move sandbags into positions around the ‘pitch’ created on the beach

DSCF0015Emma-Kate Young from Redcar and a member of the RBL dresses in period clothing

DSCF0027Phil Meadows from the Teesside pipe band plays on the pier

DSCF0032Elliot Kennedy (L) and Barry Jones from Preston Hall are dressed in period police uniforms

DSCF0047David Lambert (L) and Nick Wall are dressed in the uniforms of the 8th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment

DSCF0051Soldiers shadows are cast on the beach

DSCF0056Thousands of visitors watch the football game on the beach

IF1_5300Teddy McGill, 2 from Redcar helps to hang bunting at the beach huts

DSCF0008A visitor carries deck chairs onto the beach

DSCF0014Thousands of poppies are planted in a temporary memorial garden on the beach…

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IF1_5366‘German Army’ footballers wait to start the game

IF1_5394Both sides line up behind the memorial poppies planted on the beach

IF1_5371A photo of a cross marking the location of one of the actual football games that took place is held

IF1_5389A young boy dressed in period uniform stands with the soldiers

DSCF0082The German Army

DSCF0091The British Army

IF1_5412The football match begins…

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IF1_5486-2A Tiger Moth make the first of three runs over the beach and pier

 

Some of the pictures from this set also appeared here….

Daily Mail

Belfast Telegraph – World in pictures

Chicago Sun Times – Pictures of the Day

Zimbio

Visit the Royal British Legion website here

More of my pictures can be seen on my blogs and website here

 Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Getty Images

Juntos num só ritmo

A group of anonymous knitters known as the Saltburn Yarn Stormers who are located in and around the seaside town in Cleveland have struck once again producing their latest work in the build up to World Cup 2014 by creating knitted figures representing countries taking part in the competition that begins in Brazil in 19 days time.

The group members whose identities remain a secret launched their most recent creation in the early hours of the morning to avoid possible detection and secretly gathered to attach the figures to the railings on the Victorian pier in the town before melting back into the shadows…and anonymity…..I was given ‘EXCLUSIVE’ access to document this secretive group as they make public their latest and impressive creation.

Oh yeah…Juntos num só ritmo means All in one Rhythm and is the official slogan for World Cup 2014. So now you know.

 

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Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

 

 

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

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 Saltburn knitters strike again

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

 

Saltburn knitters strike again

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Charlie Smith, 3, from Doncaster

IF1_5279 Ruth Guy, 31 from New Marske and her friends enjoy the World Cup themed knitted figures on Saltburn pier as they celebrate her forthcoming wedding by spending the day in the town

 

You can visit my website and blogs via this link….. HERE

Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth/ London News Pictures

Local and European elections.

Voters across Teesside and East Cleveland had the opportunity to vote today in the local and European elections. Polling stations were scattered all over the region and were open from 7am to 10pm.

Here’s a few of the pictures I shot throughout the day at some of the polling stations and below them are links to where some of the pictures have been used so far…..

 

 

Local and European elections in East Cleveland.

Local and European elections in East Cleveland.

Local and European elections in East Cleveland.

Local and European elections in East Cleveland.

Local and European elections in East Cleveland.

Local and European elections in East Cleveland.

Local and European elections in East Cleveland.

Some of these and other pictures were used here…….

BBC News

The Guardian

A slideshow half-way down this page Huffington Post

All images remain copyright Ian Forsyth/ Getty Images

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

Putting to sea

Fishermen in Saltburn take advantage of a flat spell and head out as the sun rises to go fishing in the North sea…

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Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 10.18.19The picture ran in the Times

 

See more of my work here

Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth/London News Pictures

Freestyle

A rider from the freestyle motoX team Broke fmx  performs during the LRO Spring Adventure Land Rover show held in Ripley Castle.

 

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See more of my work here

Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth

The search goes on…

Police search teams and crime scene investigators continue with their search of a property in North Shields in connection with the investigation into the disappearance of chef Claudia Lawrence in North Shields, England. The search comes following the arrest and subsequent release on conditional bail of a 59-year-old man named locally as Michael Snelling who was arrested in connection with the disappearance of Ms Lawrence who vanished in 2009.

 

 

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See more of my work here….

Ian Forsyth Photography

All images remain copyright Ian Forsyth/ Getty Images