news blog

APRIL 9th 1917: NEVER FORGOTTEN

Remembering my Great Grandfather William Mates of South Bank who was killed 105 years ago on April 9th 1917 in The Battle of Arras. And not forgetting his two brothers Henry and James who also lost their lives in WW1. MORE HERE

MARCH 2022: DON PLAYFORD GALLERY

I have updated the tribute gallery to my late cousin Don Playford with some more artistic gems that have come to light. Keep them coming so I can keep building this permanent online exhibition CLICK TO VIEW 

FEB 2022: CENTURY Book in Production

“A CENTURY IN STONE – THE MAKING OF TEESSIDE…AND THE MOVIE” is in production. Packed with lots of exclusive unpublished material, it will be an essential accompaniment to the film and an important historical document in its own right. All being well and barring anymore health scares, it will be coming out in 2024 to mark the 20th anniversary of the film!

FEB 2022: New 'MINE OF INFO' microsite

Check out the all new A Century in Stone MINE OF INFO microsite.

JAN 2022: VIN PAGES REVAMPED

Check out the revamped TEESSIDE TROUBADOUR microsite

JAN 2022: REVAMP & REHAB !

Pleased to have revamped the site using Elementor / WordPress. Painful new tricks for a digital old dog to learn but not as painful as having a heart attack out of the blue three days before Xmas! Being a healthy vegan and virtual teetotaller who walked 25 miles a week with the pooch wasn’t enough to avoid the family curse of high cholesterol and heart disease. Waiting on the deck 50 minutes for the ambulance didn’t help – I will wholly put that down to years of Tory cuts running down the service! After that, my treatment at James Cook was A1+. Thanks to our fantastic Cardiac Unit, I was soon stented and saved. I had had a ‘widowmaker heart attack’ – the most severe with the lowest survival rate. It has knocked the hell out of me but I’m very pleased to have survived. I will put that down to the healthy lifestyle and telling myself over and over as I was laying there “I can’t die, I have a book to write!” So I’m in cardiac rehab for the foreseeable which has given me a chance to tinker on the laptop adding bits to the website and book. “A Century in Stone – The Making of Teesside…and the movie” will be an essential accompaniment to the DVD. Packed with lots of exclusive unpublished material, it will also be an important historical document in its own right. All being well and barring anymore health issues, it will be coming out in 2024 to mark the 20th anniversary of the film. How time flies eh!

‘LOVE THE NHS – HATE THE TORIES’ enamel badges  available here

27 NOV 21: THE DAY MY CAR MADE THE NEWS...

My roof ripped off, chimney stack demolished and car destroyed. The good news is I wasn’t in the car and no one got hurt – Thank you Storm Arwen… (Gazette article) 

OCT 2021: NEW SITE

I am revamping the site learning new software. DVDs are available online again and lots more content to come, please bear with!

MAM 1944 - 2020

My dear mother passed away at home in Swainby on November 24th 2020 aged 76. She was diagnosed with rapid onset motor neurone disease a year before which was a devastating shock considering she was so active, healthy and full of life. She fought it with her typical spirit and astounded the doctors who expected her to last 3 or 4 months. She was the greatest support and inspiration throughout my life and every project that I embarked on. Life without her is taking some getting used to but life must go on and to the max. That was her wish and my promise. X.

2018: A HIGHLAND HIKE FOR WILDLIFE

Following last year’s Coast-To-Coast, I decided this year to do the 96 mile WEST HIGHLAND WAY in Scotland and again do it for charity: this time the excellent Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary (MORE)  

2017: LONG WALK HOME FOR CHARITY

 To mark turning 50…I did the COAST TO COAST for charity!  £6,571 raised for Zoe’s Place Kids Hospice. Thanks to all my sponsors and SNUGPAK for the super long tent!  (STORY & PICS HERE)