Nov 292010
 

Anyone  interested in watching what could well turn into a PR disaster may like to take a look at Hamleys Facebook page – Why?

Well Hamleys are having live Reindeer and Penguins in store at what must be one of the busiest times of the year and the Animal Welfare groups are not happy. They claim the environment these wild animals will find themselves in, surrounded by throngs of shoppers and the travel through central London to reach the store will cause them unnecessary stress, they are also concerned about the message of combining animals with toys sends out. Personally I can see their point how long have we heard the slogan “A dog is for life not just for Christmas”.

The question is how will Hamleys use their social networking and the Internet skills? Have they worked out that social networking in business is a two way street?  Not only do you get to tell your customers, clients what’s happening, raise your on-line profile and  hope to reach potential new customers and clients. Its is also a way for those customers and potential customers to make their feelings about your business known to you and when they do maybe just maybe you should listen.

If enough people are creating enough negative noise via social media about Hamleys Christmas PR stunt they could find what began a snowball rolling down hill becomes and avalanche by the time hits them and by that time its too late,  all there is left to do is damage control, silly really when acting earlier may have sent the message “we listen and we care what people think”.

The Born free blog say of the event which started today, Monday 29th of November and finishes on Friday the 3rd of December.

“Born Free Foundation, the UK wild animal welfare charity, is shocked to learn that Hamleys, the world-famous London toy shop, is planning an event featuring live penguins and reindeer in store. Our message to Hamleys? Please don’t do it”

In a very unscientific test I ran the search “hamleys” through my Twitter account turning up over 50 tweets posted within the space of an hour and almost all of which were negative. When combined with the  Comments on Hamleys Facebook  it looks like this could go viral. If that happens and it draws draw the attention of the mainstream press then that is when you may well see that  PR disaster avalanche hit Hamleys fair and square, leaving them with more to clean up than just Reindeer and Penguin Poo.

Nov 212010
 

OK so they didn’t visit Sheffield today or even together and while these photos may not be exactly “before they were famous”  the headline did get your attention long enough to read this far so here come a few old pictures of the current X Factor Judges visiting Sheffield starting with Cheryl Cole


Most of these were shot back in November 2004, bonfire night to be precise. The on stage shots were a personal appearance by Girls Aloud at Sheffield’s main public bonfire and and fireworks display, earlier that day Cheryl and the the Girls had done a live radio interview at Hallam FM studios. The images of Cheryl in pink are from the Girls Aloud show at Sheffield Arena on th 20th May 2005.

Next up is Simon Cowell at Meadowhall shopping centre where he was officially switching on the Christmas lights back in 2004. Most of the images I have included are from the back room area and were candid shots of Simon being interviewed by various local media journalists before he stepped out into the public glare.

Finally Dannii Minogue from back in 2002 when she  performed at Sheffield Arena with the Smash Hits tour.  The photos show her both on stage and back stage during interviews.

My personal favourite is the one of Dannii holding a Polaroid picture. I remember she rushed into the room where the interviews were being held waving the picture excitedly saying “I’ve just had my picture taken with Blue”  it  just goes to show celebrities can find themselves star struck just like everyone else .

Nov 012010
 

07:00 hrs ,as the military call it, is an early morning start at St Dunstan’s in Sheffield, this morning Im  covering the beginning of a fund raising challenge 10 squaddies 10-marathons 5 days.  Ten soldiers, (or Squaddies) from 39 Engineer Regiment Cambridge, and their support team. The team totalling around 14 are undertaking  10 Squaddies, 10 Marathons, 5 Days challenge to raise funds for the only charity to provide direct support, rehabilitation  and training to service personnel and veterans blinded in conflict.

If  the challenge of 10 Marathons in 5 days wasn’t “hardcore” enough for these members of the British Army,  “just to make it a little more interesting” they will be also carrying 40lb Bergen’s and wearing combat boots” on a gruelling test of endurance. Thirty-four year old Staff Sergeant  Jim Offord (the man  behind the fund raiser) and nine fellow soldiers will complete a marathon every six hours,  day and night, followed by six hours recovery time as they tab from St Dunstan’s Rehab & Training centre in Sheffield on the 1st of November  to finish at St Dunstan’s centre near Brighton in East Sussex on the 5th of November.

“I created the 10 Soldiers, 10 Marathons in 5 Days to support St Dunstan’s as we want to give something back to a charity that helps fellow soldiers. I threw in the idea of wearing our Bergen’s filled to weigh 40lbs, plus combat boots to keep it interesting and opted to do 10 Marathons in 5 Days as I couldn’t find a record that it had been done before. Said Jim.

The original aim of the this mammoth effort was to raise £4,800 for St Dunstan’s but that target has already been smashed and the Engineers have reached £10,000 more than double their initial figure.

Staff Sgt Jim Offord, (front) and team members from 39 Engineer Regiment , Lance Corporal Dean Howard, Corporal Dave Little, Sapper Darren Pallatina, Lance Corporal Rich Holmes, Corporal Mark Cammock, Sapper Garry Scott, Lance Corporal Dave Hopkins, SSgt Darren King, Sapper James Payze, Captain Jo Miles, Sgt Steve Bedford and, Lance Corporal Lee Melia with support team members Ami Offord paramedic and Arlene Howard sports physio. Who will be working to complete the 10 Squaddies, 10 Marathons, 5 Days Challenge carrying 40lb Bergens. The team aimed to raise £4800 for St Dunstan’s Charity for blind ex-Service men and women but the figure now stands £10,000 raised…1 November 2010 .Images © Paul David Drabble

Rough Guide to the route……..

Monday 1 November The team left St Dunstan’s Sheffield around 8am aiming to arrive at Chetwynd Barracks, Chilwell, near Nottingham at 4pm. From there they will head for Loughbourgh University arriving on Tuesday 2 November. The second day sees the group tab to Nuneaton via Leicester before heading for Staverton Park Hotel Daventry where they will arrive on Wednesday 3 November. They will leave Staverton Park Hotel heading for Milton Keynes TA Centre and from there to Sportspace, Hemel Hempstead, Herts. Which they will reach on Thursday 4 November They will leave Sportspace at 12 noon  and march into London along the Edgware Road at 2.30pm on Thursday 4 November to visit St Dunstan’s HQ in Marylebone, where they will be greeted by soldiers the charity works with, ex-Service men and women, staff and supporters. They will leave St Dunstan’s HQ at 8pm to tab to the TA Centre, Northgate, Crawley arriving on Friday 5 November. The team start at 8am to tab the final marathon, through Brighton, arriving at St Dunstan’s Rehab & Training Centre, Greenaways, Ovingdean, east Sussex. Where they will cross the finish line to massive cheers from the soldiers the charity works with, staff and supporters and the people who have followed them through the streets of Brighton.

Oct 202010
 

Fashion Guru Gok Wan paid a visit  to W.H. Smiths book shop in Meadowhall Shopping Centre, Sheffield today as part of his book tour promoting the autobiography “Through Thick and Thin”. On his arrival the “How To Look Good Naked” took a few minutes out to walk down the large cue of thrilled readers waiting to meet him before sitting down to Sign copies of the book and pose for photos with fans.

If you want to know what Gok had to say about Sheffield check The Real Gok Wan on Twitter

Sep 122010
 

For those of you interested by my previous posting about Lytham St Annes 1940s weekend here is a link for the ladies who may fancy in dressing in classic retro style. This lady makes some wonderfully stylish and excellent quality hats which she sells via Ebay. 1940s berets, halo hats, 1920’s style cloche hats which would be great for murder mystery weekends, vintage car rallies or amateur dramatics and even Victorian style mop caps and aprons. You might wonder why a news and public relations photographer would pick up on site like this, so here is where I have to come clean and tell you its because Aileen is actually my partner. That said her hats really are very good and to prove it here she is modelling one of her 1940’s numbers and a link to her current selection of hats for sale.

Aug 262010
 

Lytham held the first of what could turn out to be a very good annual event on the weekend of 21st and 22nd August 2010. The 1940s war weekend was a celebration to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and to help raise funds for a memorial to the members of the RAFs Fighter and Bomber Command which, when erected, will stand on Lytham Green where the event took place. The weekend which kicked of on Friday evening with a 1940s dance held in the park pavilion, included Re-enactors from The Northern World War Two Association who put on excellent living history displays and a battle re-enactment. There was also full size replica spitfire complete with aircrew waiting for the call to scramble, period military vehicles including a German Sd.Kfz. 251 Auf C half-track and a mini assault course for the kids.  The  period atmosphere was helped along by re-enactors from the North West Military Colletors group,  live 1940s music and dancing all in period costume during the Saturday and Sunday bringing in crowds of sightseers. The whole weekend was topped by a flypast on the Saturday by a Dakota of the type that would have dropped allied paratroops into France on D-day and Arnhem later in the war. Sundays fly past was by the last Hurricane ever built, PZ865 was finished in summer 1944, there were 14,533 of them built throughout the war. She bares the inscription ‘The Last of the Many’ on her port and starboard sides.

There is also a video report here from the weekend from Blackpool TV

Aug 052010
 

Covering the recent funeral of Trooper James Leverett, at Sheffield Cathedral last week,  reminded me that back in February of 2010 I was invited to Salisbury Plain military training area to attend the 4th Mechanised Brigades press  day. The day was held to demonstrate some of the training and equipment the unit would employ during their forth coming deployment to Helmand Province which was to be in April of 2010. Amongst the troops who put on the display for us were members of the Royal Dragoon Guards. Below is a slide show of images I shot on the day…

Jul 212010
 

I’m just testing the water with this idea, trying to find multiple income streams seems to be the key to survival in todays photography business. So here is a small very niche market first attempt. Please take a look and tell me what you think…

By Paul David Drabble
May 012010
 

Welcome to my blog. It may seem strangely named but `tog is actually an abbreviation of photographer which occasionally gets bandied about in newsrooms up and down the country, while “owd” is the Yorkshire pronunciation of “old”. Not that I feel old but I was stuck for a title and “An owd ‘togs blog” just seemed to have a nice ring to it. So there you go….