Keep the all safe

15/10/2021

This column from Joe Stanley, UK Farmers Weekly opinion writer, was too important to include in the daily rural round-up.

He starts movingly describing the very short life and far too early death of his son, George and then writes:

A few days after we lost George, I saw through numb eyes a Health and Safety Executive notification that a child had been killed on-farm – the ninth in the past five years. In each of those cases, I can only imagine the devastation for the parents of losing a child into whom had been poured not just minutes, but years of love. And my heart goes out to them for their loss.

As an industry, please let us take this issue more seriously. We have an appalling safety record in general, and are the only industry where children are still dying in our workplaces every year.

There are many reasons given for this, but let us all remember the law: any access to the farm workplace for children under 16 must be supervised by an adult not engaged in work. Children under the age of 13 must not drive or ride in the cab of any agricultural vehicle. It is illegal and unsafe.

I”m not sure that these laws apply in New Zealand, but keeping children safe certainly does.

None of us ever think tragedy will befall us or our nearest and dearest, but the wheel of fate always stops somewhere. If you can help it, don’t let it be on you and yours. You don’t want this pain.

As farmers, most of us treat “the farm” as an entity in its own right – one that almost resents time spent away from it by the farmer.

Well, the farm will still be there tomorrow. So spend more time with your loved ones, with your family. Don’t lose sight of what’s truly important in life.

When my own end comes, I’m certain I would trade the memories of every day of work between this day and that, for those of the few brief minutes I spent with my darling little George.

Children growing up on farms have opportunities and experiences that town children don’t.

There’s a lot to be gained by seeing and, where appropriate, helping with  their parents’ work; learning how to care for the land and stock, and having hundreds, possibly thousands of hectares as a playground.

But while farms can provide a lot of fun and teach a lot of lessons, they can be dangerous workplaces, especially for children.

As another member of that group none of us choose to join – bereaved parents – I know only too well that you don’t want this pain and that everyone should do everything possible to keep farms safe for children, and for adults.


Max Cryer 1935 or 36 – 25.8.21

26/08/2021

Trailblazing broadcaster Max Cryer has died:

Cryer made over 300 appearances on television after beginning on air in the late 1960s. He hosted 12 different television series including Town Cryer.

He is also as New Zealand’s first television quizmaster.

A former New Zealand Entertainer of the Year and a Benny Award winner, Cryer’s dedication to the arts were highly praised.

“Max was an icon and a trailblazer and will be sorely missed,” New Zealand media personality David Hartnell MNZM told 1NEWS.   . .


Don Everly 1.2.37 – 21.8.21

23/08/2021

Don Everly of the Everly Brothers has died:

Everly and his brother, Phil, had hits worldwide in the late 1950s and early 1960s, including Bye Bye Love and All I Have To Do Is Dream.

They were known for their close harmonies, and influenced groups like The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel. . .


Sean Lock 22.4.63 – 16.8.21

19/08/2021

Comedian Sean Lock has died:

A comedy panel show favourite, Lock was a team captain on the series 8 Out of 10 Cats, hosted by Jimmy Carr.

He also appeared on QI, The Last Leg, Have I Got News for You, and The Big Fat Quiz of the Year.

Paying tribute, comedian Bill Bailey said: “It’s heartbreaking to lose my dearest friend Sean Lock, he was a true original, a wonderful comic.”

Jon Richardson, who appeared opposite Lock as a fellow team captain on 8 Out of 10 Cats, tweeted: “I idolised Sean as a comic long before I became a comedian myself and 10 years working alongside him didn’t diminish that in the least. An incredible comic brain and a truly unique voice.” . . 

 

I stumbled over 8 Out of 10 Cats Do Countdown only recently while channel surfing and have become a fan.

It is funny in a way that only British comedy is and Sean’s dry wit is a big part of its charm.


Betty Gilderdale – 1923 – 9.7.21

13/07/2021

Betty Gilderdale,  author of The Little Yellow Digger has died.

Generations of children know Betty as the author of the much-loved series of five Little Yellow Digger picture books, which she created alongside her artist husband, Alan Gilderdale. With over half a million Little Yellow Digger books in print, the original picture book stands out as one of New Zealand’s all-time bestselling children’s picture books, a wonderful legacy to leave to the world of children’s publishing. It is a legacy that is being continued by their son Peter, who has taken up the mantle of writing new books in the series. . . 


Sir Eion Edgar 30.1.45 – 14.6.21

14/06/2021

Sir Eion Edgar wanted to make the world a better place and he succeeded.

Dunedin was where he was born and raised, studied at University, conducted  his business, and contributed to many community organisations before settling in Queenstown where he continued his good works.

He was a businessman, a philanthropist who was generous with his talents, his money and his time, and a devoted family man., While he is justifiably remembered for many significant financial contributions, his service was also marked by the mentoring and inspiration he provided to other people.

Sir Eion man who led by his example to and encouragement of others, leaves the world far better for what he did and how he lived, and all who knew him so very sad at his death.


Eric Carle 25.6.29 – 23.5.21

27/05/2021

Eric Carle, the man who created The Very Hungry Caterpillar and many other children’s books has died.

His website gives his biography.

 


Prince Philip 10.6.1921 – 9.4.2021

10/04/2021

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, has died.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, won widespread respect for his steadfast and constant support of the Queen.

It was a desperately difficult role for anyone, let alone a man who had been used to naval command and who held strong views on a wide range of subjects.

Yet it was that very strength of character that enabled him to discharge his responsibilities so effectively, and provide such wholehearted support to his wife in her role as Queen.

As male consort to a female sovereign, Prince Philip had no constitutional position. But no-one was closer to the monarchy, or of greater importance to the monarch, than he was.

Prince Philip of Greece was born on 10 June 1921 on the island of Corfu. His birth certificate shows the date as 28 May 1921, as Greece had not then adopted the Gregorian calendar.

His father was Prince Andrew of Greece, a younger son of King George I of the Hellenes. His mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, was the eldest child of Prince Louis of Battenberg and sister of Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

After a coup d’etat in 1922, his father was banished from Greece by a revolutionary court.

A British warship sent by his second cousin, King George V, took the family to Italy. Baby Philip spent much of the voyage in a crib made from an orange box.

He was the youngest child, the only boy in a family of sisters – and his early childhood was spent in a loving atmosphere.

The prince began his education in France but, at the age of seven, came to live with his Mountbatten relatives in England, where he attended a prep school in Surrey.

By this time his mother had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and been placed in an asylum. The young prince would have little contact with her.

In 1933, he was sent to Schule Schloss Salem in southern Germany, which was run by educational pioneer Kurt Hahn. But within months, Hahn, who was Jewish, was forced to flee Nazi persecution.

Seafaring tradition

Hahn moved to Scotland where he founded Gordonstoun school, to which the prince transferred after only two terms in Germany.

Gordonstoun’s Spartan regime, with its emphasis on self-reliance, was the ideal environment for a teenage boy who, separated from his parents, felt very much on his own.

With war looming, Prince Philip decided on a military career. He wanted to join the Royal Air Force but his mother’s family had a seafaring tradition and he became a cadet at the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.

While there he was delegated to escort the two young princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret, while King George VI and Queen Elizabeth toured the college.

According to witnesses, Prince Philip showed off a great deal. But the meeting made a deep impression on the 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth.

Philip quickly proved himself an outstanding prospect, passing out at the top of his class in January 1940 and seeing military action for the first time in the Indian Ocean.

He transferred to the battleship HMS Valiant in the Mediterranean Fleet, where he was mentioned in dispatches for his part in the Battle of Cape Matapan in 1941.

As the officer in charge of the ship’s searchlights, he played a crucial role in this decisive night action.

“I found another ship and it lit up the middle part of it, whereupon it practically disappeared instantly under a salvo of 15in shells at point-blank range,” he told BBC Radio 4 in 2014.

By October 1942, he was one of the youngest first lieutenants in the Royal Navy, serving on board the destroyer HMS Wallace.

Throughout this period, he and the young Princess Elizabeth had been exchanging letters, and he was invited to stay with the Royal Family on a number of occasions.

It was after one of these visits, over Christmas 1943, that Elizabeth placed a photograph of Philip, in naval uniform, on her dressing table.

Their relationship developed in peacetime, although there was opposition to it from some courtiers – one of whom described Prince Philip as “rough and ill-mannered”.

But the young princess was very much in love and, in the summer of 1946, her suitor asked the King for his daughter’s hand in marriage.

However, before an engagement could be announced, the prince needed a new nationality and a family name. He renounced his Greek title, became a British citizen and took his mother’s anglicised name, Mountbatten.

The day before the marriage ceremony, King George VI bestowed the title of His Royal Highness on Philip and on the morning of the wedding day he was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich.

The wedding took place in Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947. It was, as Winston Churchill put it, a “flash of colour” in a grey post-war Britain.

Career curtailed

The duke returned to his naval career and was posted to Malta where, for a while at least, the couple could live the life of any other service family.

Their son, Prince Charles, was born at Buckingham Palace in 1948, and a daughter, Princess Anne, arrived in 1950. They were later joined by Prince Andrew (1960) and Prince Edward (1964).

On 2 September 1950, he achieved the ambition of every naval officer when he was appointed to his own command, the sloop HMS Magpie.

But his naval career was about to be curtailed. The worsening health of George VI meant his daughter had to take on more royal duties and needed her husband by her side. . .

Even in the 21st century it isn’t easy for the man whose wife has a public and powerful role. It would have been much harder half way through the 20th century when they married.

He had a difficult childhood. Once he married he had a life of great privilege and also one which required a devotion to duty and public service.

One of his legacies is the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme which requires participants to complete voluntary service, skills, physical recreation and an adventurous journey. I completed the bronze and silver awards when I was at high school.

Change does not change tradition. It strengthens it. Change is a challenge and an opportunity, not a threat. – Prince Philip


It was always too hard

24/03/2021

Finally the admission that should have come years ago:

Going further into the Pike River coal mine is too hard and too expensive, Minister Responsible for Pike River Reentry Andrew Little says.

The minister’s comments come even though no detailed technical assessment or cost analysis has been done.

Little said the Government was not willing to consider doing a risk assessment and cost analysis of recovering evidence from the mine’s main ventilation fan, which could hold clues about what caused the first explosion in the mine where 29 men were killed in 2010.

He said the mine’s geotechnical strata was “inherently unstable” and the technical challenge of getting past a roof fall blocking the mine workings would be phenomenal. . . 

It was always too hard.

Sometimes when you’re in Opposition you have to back the government when it’s doing the right thing.

Instead Labour and New Zealand chose to do the political thing, promising a re-entry of the mine.

In doing so they exploited the families and friends of the men who were killed, giving them unrealistic hope and stoking their grief.

Ten years and more than $50 million later Little has admitted what they should have accepted from the start – it was too hard, too dangerous and too expensive.


A Scientists Advice on Healing

07/03/2021

From Brain Pickings:

. . . When we speak of the heart breaking, we are speaking metaphorically, and yet anyone who has lived through heartbreak — that is, anyone who has lived at all — knows intimately the awful way in which the psychological condition of loss takes on the quality of physical pain. It is hardly surprising, then, that the body and the soul heal in consanguinity — the heart-as-metaphor heals the same way the heart-as-organ does.

That is what English poet Christy Ducker explores with uncommon sensitivity and lyric splendor in “A Scientist’s Advice on Healing.” . . 


Captain Sir Tom Moore – 30.4.20 – 2.2.21

03/02/2021

The centenarian who inspired the world with his fundraising efforts for the UK’s National Health Service,  Captain Sir Tom Moore,  has died.

Captain Sir Tom Moore has died with coronavirus.

The 100-year-old, who raised almost £33m for NHS charities by walking laps of his garden, was admitted to Bedford Hospital on Sunday.

The Queen led tributes to Capt Sir Tom, “recognising the inspiration he provided for the whole nation and others across the world”.

His daughters said they “shared laughter and tears” with their father in their final few hours together.

Announcing his death, Hannah Ingram-Moore and Lucy Teixeira said the last year of their father’s life had been “nothing short of remarkable”

The Army veteran won the nation’s hearts by walking 100 laps of his garden in Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire last year during the first lockdown, raising money for NHS Charities Together.

He was credited with lifting the nation’s spirits and his saying “Tomorrow will be a good day” trended on social media. . . . 


Gerry Marsden 24.9.42 – 3.1.21

04/01/2021

The world has lost another great musician:

Gerry and the Pacemakers singer Gerry Marsden, whose version of You’ll Never Walk Alone became a football terrace anthem for his hometown club of Liverpool, has died at the age of 78.

His family said he died on Sunday after a short illness not linked to Covid-19.

Marsden’s band was one of the biggest success stories of the Merseybeat era, and in 1963 became the first to have their first three songs top the chart.

But the band’s other best known hit was Ferry Cross The Mersey came in 1964.

It was written by Marsden himself as a tribute to his city, and reached number eight.

Marsden was made an MBE in 2003 for services to charity after supporting victims of the Hillsborough disaster. . .

Gerry and the Pacemakers worked the same Liverpool club circuit as The Beatles in the 1960s and were signed by the Fab Four’s manager Brian Epstein.

Epstein gave Marsden’s group the song How Do You Do It, which had been turned down by The Beatles and Adam Faith, for their debut single. . .

While Marsden was a songwriter as well as a singer, his most enduring hit was actually a cover of a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical number from 1945, that he had to convince his bandmates to record as their third single.

In many interviews over the years, he explained how fate played a part in his band ever recording the song. He was watching a Laurel and Hardy movie at Liverpool’s Odeon cinema in the early 1960s and, only because it was raining, he decided to stay for the second part of a double feature.

That turned out to be the film Carousel – which featured that song on its soundtrack – and Marsden was so moved by the lyrics that he became determined that it should become part of his band’s repertoire. . .

That song topped the charts in 1963. It was often on the radio when I was driving to and from Dunedin Hospital with our baby son in 1987 and listening to it it helped me with those difficult journeys.


Going many extra miles

19/12/2020

My daughter Jane has gone many extra miles, figuratively and literally, to raise awareness and funds for research into low grade serous ovarian carcinoma since she was diagnosed with the disease in 2017.

When she came across the Kilt Walk she encouraged other women with the disease and their supporters in the UK to take part, decided she needed to lead by example and asked me to join her.

After she was diagnosed I said I’d do anything I could to help her. I hadn’t anticipated that meant walking up Dunedin’s Signal Hill three times in a morning, but that’s what we did.

She chose the hill because of its link to Scotland through the rock from Edinburgh Castle at the top.

All the funds raised went towards the research being done by Professor Charlie Gourley at Edinburgh University through Cure Our Ovarian Cancer. and were matched pound for pound by philanthropist  Sir Tom Hunter.

Jane and I appear, briefly, in the video at 3:17 with Stella the chocolate lab who accompanied us.

Among the advocacy work Jane is doing, is a petition to improve outcomes for women with ovarian cancer.

It is urging the government to support the development of ovarian cancer awareness/education campaigns for the public and health professionals; ensure women with OC symptoms have timely access to testing; improve access to approved therapies and clinical trials; and dedicate funding to ovarian cancer research.

Every week four New Zealand are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, every week two New Zealand women die from it. That is more women dying of this disease than are killed on the roads each year.

These dreadful statistics aren’t peculiar to New Zealand. All over the world many women are diagnosed late because they, and too many doctors, don’t have sufficient awareness of the disease; there isn’t enough access to tests and approved treatments and there is too little research.

The action the petition is urging will save lives.

It is non-partisan and has the support of Cure Our Ovarian Cancer, Ovarian Cancer New Zealand, Talk Peach and the NZ Gynaecological Cancer Foundation.

Please sign it here and encourage others to sign too.

You don’t have to be in New Zealand or even be a New Zealand to sign. Better awareness, treatment and research anywhere will help women everywhere.


Charley Pride 18.3.34 – 12.12.20

13/12/2020

Covid-19 has claimed Charlie Pride:

Charley Pride, whose rich baritone voice and impeccable song-sense altered American culture, died Saturday, December 12, 2020, in Dallas, Texas of complications from Covid-19 at age 86.

Born a sharecropper’s son in Sledge, Mississippi, on March 18, 1934, Pride emerged from Southern cotton fields to become country music’s first Black superstar and the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

“No person of color had ever done what he has done,” said Darius Rucker in the PBS American Masters film Charley Pride: I’m Just Me.

Pride was a gifted athlete who at first thought baseball would be his path from poverty, labor, and strife. But his musical acumen was more impressive than his pitching arm or his hitting skills, and he emerged as one of the most significant artists at RCA Records, with chart-topping hits including “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’,” “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone,” and “Mountain of Love.” He won the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award in 1971, its top male vocalist prize in 1971 and 1972, and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020.

His final performance came on November 11, 2020, when he sang “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’” during the CMA Awards show at Nashville’s Music City Center with Jimmie Allen, a modern-day hitmaker who counts Pride among his heroes. . . 


Des O’Connor 12.1.32 – 14.11.20

16/11/2020

English comedian, singer and television present Des O’Connor has died.

Des O’Connor once said that all he did was walk on to the stage, chat to the audience and sing a few songs.

It was a formula that made him one of Britain’s best-known stars, an old-fashioned showman who could turn his hand to almost anything – fronting his variety programme, hosting chat shows or presiding over the quiz Countdown.

An almost ever-present face on UK television, he held the record for more mainstream appearances on the small screen than any other performer.

O’Connor, who has died aged 88 after a fall at his home in Buckinghamshire, also carved out a successful career as a singer including four Top 10 hits and more than 30 albums.

Desmond Bernard O’Connor was born on 12 January 1932 in Stepney, East London, the son of a Jewish cleaner and an Irish dustman. He contracted rickets while he was a child which resulted in him having callipers on his legs until he was seven.

He was also badly injured in a car accident and spent some time in an iron lung which disrupted his primary school education.

During the war, the family moved to Northampton where he signed as a schoolboy player with Northampton Football Club although he only made the third team.

It was while working in a local shoe factory that he discovered a talent for making people laugh, once recalling his ability to reduce the firm’s typing school to giggles and to be the main source of entertainment on works outings.

His prowess as a performer came to the fore during his national service with the RAF, when his commanding officer insisted he take part in a talent show. . .


Finding hope inside loss (it’s not what you think)

08/11/2020

Megan Devine on finding hope inside loss:

Intense grief isn’t like ordinary life, and ordinary tools aren’t always helpful.

Meditation inside grief isn’t about feeling “better,” it’s about finding kindness exactly where you are (even when where you are is painful).

This 9 minute meditation is an excerpt from my audio book, the Grief Experiment, available at http://refugeingrief.com/. Hop over to the website to find lots of good stuff for grieving folks, and for friends & family who want to be supportive (they just don’t know how).

Megan Devine’s Refuge in Grief has some of the most helpful resources I’ve found.


Geoffrey Palmer OBE – 4.6.27 – 5.11.20

07/11/2020

English actor Geoffrey Palmer OBE has died:

With his hangdog expression and lugubrious delivery, Geoffrey Palmer was one of the best-known actors of his generation.

He cut his teeth on the stage before launching a career as a character actor in a variety of roles in film and TV.

He was perhaps most famous for a series of TV sitcoms including Butterflies, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin and As Time Goes By.

A reserved man, he usually remained out of the public gaze when not appearing on stage or screen, and rarely gave interviews. . . 

 


Just be nice (not)

01/11/2020

Megan Devine on being nice:

How many times in your life have you heard “hey! Don’t say that!! BE NICE!”?? If you’re like many people, you’ve heard that phrase so many times, you say it to yourself every time you’re annoyed or upset by something.

It’s an automatic reflex. “Be nice” is what we tell ourselves when the truth feels too harsh to say out loud.

“Be nice” is what other people say when they’re afraid you’ll upset the status quo, or make things weird when you call someone out on their actions. And “be nice” gets aimed at grieving people when we complain that, no matter how “well intentioned,” certain things just feel like crap.

Things like, “Everything happens for a reason,” or “at least you had them as long as you did” feel dismissive and rude because they ARE dismissive and rude.

But you can’t just say that to someone. Can you? Find out in this video…. on being “nice.” (and what to be instead).

Megan Devine’s Refuge in Grief is one of the best resources I’ve found.

You can find it here.


Self-kindness inside grief (and any other kind of hardship)

25/10/2020

Megan Devine on self kindness:

Being kind to yourself is one of the hardest things to do. OTHER people might deserve kindness and compassion, but you? You know too much about yourself – the things you did and didn’t do, the ways you failed or didn’t try hard enough – to ever be kind. Let’s find a way around this, okay? For all you’ve had to live, you deserve kindness. . . 

Megan Devine’s Refuge in Grief is one of the most helpful resources I have come across.

You can find it here.


Step Up stepped up

11/10/2020

When our daughter was diagnosed with low grade serous ovarian cancer and told her likely life expectancy was five to 15 years, I told her I’d do anything I could to support her.

Two Fridays ago that meant walking 30+ kilometres as part of her Step Up challenge for Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month.

Most of those 46,483 steps were along the shore of Lake Wanaka on the Millennium Track, which passes the much-photographed Wanaka Tree.

An hour or so further on I added some height to the challenge, climbing Ironside Hill.

 

Although I did it by myself I wasn’t alone in accepting the challenge.

Jane and a friend climbed Roy’s Peak, overlooking Lake Wanaka.

Others stepped up in Australia (one of which was five mountains in a day with a jig at the top of each); in Canada (a bike ride  across Quebec) in the UK and in the USA.

If you would like to help fund lifesaving research which is the only hope for too many women, most in the their 20s and 30s, who get the diagnosis Jane did, you can do it here.

 


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