The Blues Legend BB King died in Las Vegas on Thursday May 14, 2015. He was born in Itta Bena, Leflore County, Mississippi on September 16th 1925 (odly that same day my mum was born in Sheffield South Yorkshire) He was a self taught guitarist who entered the music industry in the 1940s released his first single in 1949, won his 15th Grammy in 2009. Three years earlier in March 2006 on the opening night of his European Farewell Tour I was fortunate enough to get the chance to meet and photograph him back stage with some competition winners at Sheffield Arena. What really sticks in my mind about that night is how genuine he was. He was a true gentleman who influenced not only a plethora of great musicians probably everyone who met him. Below are some of the photographs I shot that night.
BB King Dies aged 89
The Blues legend died in his sleep on May 14, 2015 at age 89 .King and Lucille playing on the opening night of his European Farewell Tour at the Hallam FM Arena Sheffield 29 March 2006 Photography by Paul David Drabble
Sheffield Industrial Estate Fire – A major fire broke out on an industrial estate in Sheffield on Wednesday night 3rd Spetember. The fire started just after 9.30pm and a number of loud explosions were heard during the course of the night. The large large blaze at a single storey warehouse just off Station Road in Ecclesfield, close to South Yorkshire Police Sub Divisional HQ and Chapeltown Academy involved 2,000 tonnes of waste plastics. It destroyed the building and caused serious damage to a car paint spraying unit close by and was tackled by over 40 firefighters.
One of the things I love about my job is the variety. I get access to people, places and experiences I wouldn’t ordinarily see, one such case is Penny Hill Wind Farm located on farm land between junctions 31 and 32 of the M1 motorway close to the village of Ulley. Where i got to watch and photograph wind farm turbines being delivered and erected. Love them, or hate them, it seems wind farms are now an firm part of the UK’s renewable energy policy. Personally I think in the right light and in the right place these giant “windmills” can be very photogenic and while shooting for one of the local papers I was asked to visit and photograph Penny Hill.
Once completed it will consist of six individual wind turbines with a life span of 25 years. At up to 130 Meters from ground to the tip of the blade these massive turbines arrive on site broken down as four tower pieces, a necell, a hub and three blades which, I am told, in optimum weather conditions can be erected into its base in a single day. Its difficult to comprehend just how large these towers are unless you can get right up to them.
One of the four sections that make up wind farm turbines towers arrives by lorry at Penny Hill
Despite less than perfect conditions workers prepare two massive cranes to lift the first of four sections that make up the tower and lower it on to its base.
Making the lorry that brought it onto the site look like a child’s toy the first of the four sections from the turbines tower is lifted swung over the base. Note the workmen in orange ensuring correct positioning of the section before it is finally lowered on to its base
At £95,000 pounds each, three wind farm turbines blades wait to be fitted to the hub before the assembled pieces can be hoisted up and fitted to the nacelle. I was was unable to resist touching them knowing when I drive past Penny Hill I will be able to look and say. “do you see the center of those blades……”
Penny Hill Wind Farm between junctions 31 and 32 of the M1 motorway close to the village of Ulley. Love them these giant “Windmills” can be photogenic
One completed Wind Turbine beside a second which is awaiting the its blades and hub to be assembled and hoisted into place. Note the comparative size of the yellow excavator at the foot of the unfinished turbine and the car in the bottom right hand corner for scale.
Sheffield Bomb – Leppings Lane, behind Sheffield Wednesday football stadium, was closed off for a period on Tuesday after Sheffield council workmen discovered, what they believed to be, an unexploded bomb from the second world war. The Workers became concerned when they discovered a large metallic object roughly the shape of a bomb, just under the bridge at Leppings Lane, while carrying out clearance and maintenance work on the Banks of the River Don in Sheffield. They raised the alarm causing South Yorkshire Police to close Leppings lane to traffic and pedestrians between Catchbar Lane and the junction of Vere Road. The British Army Royal Logistics Corp Bomb Disposal Unit were called in to examine the find. After some excavation and upon closer examination the object turned out to be some type of rusted metal barrel.
Images from the Scene including the barrel/bomb shaped cylinder.
Sheffield News Images – One of the things people considering getting into news photography don’t consider, especially when thinking about freelancing, is covering stories like this. Work has been very thin on the ground recently and sometimes in order to stay in business you end up going out on spec to stories like this one.
A man has been charged with murder after the death of a 3 year old girl in Sheffield. An ambulance was called to a house on Beck Road Shiregreen Sheffield on Friday 8th February and a 3 year old was taken to Sheffield Children’s Hospital where she died in the early hours of Saturday Morning . A man aged 30 appeared at Sheffield Magistrates Court on Monday morning Charged with Murder.
Once you have the images the next job is ringing around to sell your speculatively shot images. News photography isn’t always all about glamour, celebrity, sport and big occasions its also about people, tragedy and death. This job I supplied to a news agency who will try to place the images and story.
If you are interested in using any of the images on this story they can be obtained by contacting Caters News Agency
Sheffield flying fortress – On Sunday 19February 2012 I worked a shift for one of the local newspapers on the diary was a wreath laying at a memorial for the crew of a B17 flying fortress which crashed in Sheffield shortly before 5pm, 22nd of February 1944 killing all 10 crew:
First Lieutenant John Glennon Krieghauser, pilot.
Second Lieutenant Lyle J Curtis, co-pilot
Second Lieutenant John W Humphrey, navigator
Second Lieutenant Melchor Hernandez, bombardier
Staff Sergeant Robert E Mayfield, radio operator
Staff Sergeant Harry W Estabrooks, engineer / top turret gunner
Sergeant Charles H Tuttle, ball-turret gunner
Sergeant Maurice O Robbins, tail gunner
Sergeant Vito R Ambrosio, right waist gunner
Muster Sergeant George U Williams, left waist gunner
The youngest was 21 the eldest 24. Intrigued by the story of the Sheffield Flying Fortress I decided to find out more.
February 20 to 25 1944 was to become known as “Big Week”. Officially designated Operation Argument the US 8th Air Force were tasked with massive daylight air-raids on the Third Reich’s aircraft industry while RAF Bomber Command supported the daylight the raids by operating against the same targets at night. The intent was to destroy Germany’s aircraft factories, lure Luftwaffe into a decisive confrontation and defeat them. This would give the Allies air superiority in preparation for Operation Overlord.
Against this background, around mid-day, Tuesday 22nd February 1944, the USAAF B17 Flying Fortress Mi Amigo with its 10 crewmen reached the coast of Denmark along with the rest of the 305 Bombardment Group from the US 8 Air Force. Cloud cover was thick, there was little chance the bombers would locate their target and German 88mm anti-aircraft guns were peppering the sky with black clouds of shrapnel filled flak, but the aim of this mission wasn’t just to bomb targets, it was to draw out the Luftwaffe’s fighters so they pressed on.
Attacked by Focke-Wulf Fw-190’s the squadron leader decided enough was enough, the 305 Bombardment Group jettisoned their bombs and headed for their home base, RAF Station Chelveston (USAAF Station 105) in Northamptonshire. At some point in the mission whether from flak, fighters or probably both Mi Amigo sustained damage. The reports from other aircraft in the formation indicate Mi Amigo was in trouble. The Flying Fortress was struggling to maintain altitude, more than one of her engines was misfiring, her “skin was in tatters” and she was beginning to fall behind the rest. A “nursemaid” was assigned to try and help Mi Amigo home but thick cloud that probably saved the stricken bomber from the fighters now became an enemy. The Flying Fortress assigned to escort Mi Amigo lost visual contact with with her around 500 miles from the English coast. Despite attempts to regain contact the next sighting of Mi Amigo was shortly before 17:00 on the 22nd of February, she was well off course, around 100 miles from Chelveston, over Endcliffe Park 2 miles south-west of Sheffield City Centre.
Eyewitness accounts of Mi Amigos last moments vary “ it circled” “it rolled”, “it clipped the trees” “the engines stuttered”. Some believe that pilot First Lieutenant John Glennon Krieghauser, spotted the 75 hectare Endcliffe park as a place to put down but seeing children playing football he chose to crash the massive Flying Fortress on the wooded hillside short of the open area where children were playing.
Jeff Hawkins a 14 year old at the time didn’t see the Sheffield flying fortress crash but was one of the first on scene. He describes what he saw in an interview with the Sheffield Star. (There’s a slightly different account from Jeff Hawkins here)
“We heard a huge roar, echoing across the valley, that lasted only three or four seconds and ended abruptly,”
“This huge silver bomber was lying among the broken trees near to the bottom of the bank, across the river, with its nose pointing down towards the river.”
“There appeared to be little damage to the aircraft which was in one piece except for the tail and rear end of the fuselage which appeared to have parted from the main fuselage and was left further up the bank.”
“The wings, engines, fuselage and cockpit were all relatively intact. The only fire that was visible was a small flame and a little smoke from a wing.”
Initially the eyewitness and onlookers were able to get close to the wreck but children were ushered away, as at least one unidentified corpse had been thrown clear. Again the accounts begin to differ some describe hearing crews cries for help, others that say they sent the would be rescuers away. One young Sheffielder said he tried to pull an airman clear, but the man’s legs were trapped.
Interestingly on my way out of the park, after photographing the wreath laying, I spoke with an old gentleman and his family. He how told me how he and his friend saw the Flying Fortress
“it came over from out towards Bradway”.
“I set off home on my bike but my friend set off for the crash site”. “He tried to save one of the crewmen I’m sure he was given some kind of award or something for it.”
Once the fire took hold and unspent ammunition from its guns started to “cook off” the Sheffield locals were forced back and Mi Amigo was destined to become a burnt out wreck.
What ever really happened aboard Mi Amigo will remain a mystery, no radio contact, unable to give a situation report to their comrades and no survivors tell their story, exactly how and why a B17 Flying Fortress ended up a burnt out wreck in a Sheffield City park can only ever by conjecture and guess work.
In Memory of those 10 young men every the people of Sheffield hold a wreath laying ceremony on the closest Sunday to the 22nd February in Endcliffe Park on the site of the Sheffield flying fortress crash and a Memorial service at St Augustine’s church Brocco Bank.
Local remembrance day parade which set out from the Royal British Legion in Chapeltown, Sheffield, South Yorkshire marching to the Newton hall for a service of remembrance. From there the parade, led by community constable PC Peter Booth, made its way to the local war memorial in Chapeltown Park where prayers were led by Vicar Rick Stordy of St Johns Church Chapeltown followed by the laying of poppies and wreaths.
Ode of Remembrance
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today
November kicked off as a bit of a celebrity Meadowhall month. Starting, appropriately, on the first of the month with a WH Smith book signing by Leigh Francis. In character as TV JUICE host Keith Lemon he was on a promotional book tour for ‘Keith Lemon: The Rules”. A popular read looking at the queues. So popular in fact the signing started early and finished an hour and half later than scheduled, despite Smiths taking the book off sale to avoid fans being disappointed by not getting their copy signed. Leigh Francis is also known for his character Barry Gibson the music paparazzi and his portrayal of celebrities in Bo’ Selecta!
Two Days later, 3rd of November, that’s right not even bonfire night and the behemoth that is the UK retail sales industry is getting into Christmas mode. The Meadowhall Christmas Lights Switch on Concert, an event that strangely had no switch in sight, or Christmas lights either. The fans didn’t care they were there for the acts, besides the event was raising money for Cash for Kids and Meadowhall’s Charity of the Year, Helen’s Trust and with a 15,000 capacity and entry fee of £2.50 that was going to be a success.
Opening act was Tinchy Strider which seemed surprising for artist with 3 top ten chart places, 2 of which reached the number 1 spot. As he left the audience were informed Tinchy was hopping on a helicopter which would fly him down to London where he had a second gig later that night.
Next up Dance group Rational followed by Bee, Holly, Lizzy and Rianna, the Girl group Vanquish then a quick chat and song from Sam Clark, Australian singer/song-writer/actor from Adelade, probably best known as Ringo Brown in Neighbours. The second Girl group of the night was Girl Next Door.
Listed as one to watch Encore recently supported N Dubz and Jessie J. Encore are Mark Asari, Cairo Benn and Pierre Jermaine. If your looking for more info on them its worth noting their web presence seems to be Want more Encore not just Encore.
Six D had some chart success back in the summer when their début single “Best Damn Night” entered the UK top 10. If you think you have seen them somewhere before check the X-Factor talk talk Ads where they appear as dancers.
Cover Drive all the way from Barbados felt the cold. ” We’re not used to this weather” singer Amanda told the audience, backed by T-Ray, Bar-Man and Jamar. They released their first single “Lick Ya Down” in August, it entered the charts at #9 and the début album is due for release soon.
Next very talented Ronan Parke the 13 year old Britain’s Got Talent runner up. Ronan made the headlines after Simon Cowell went to the police over allegations that his company SyCo had fixed the show so Ronan would win.
Headlining and officially switching on the Meadowhall Christmas lights, Matt Cardle. Winner of X-Factor 2010 he held the Christmas number 1 spot with “When Worlds Collide” and his new album “Letters” has just been released in time Christmas.
Want see more from Meadowhalls Christmas Lights Switch on Concert? Check out my Facebook Fan Page the link is on the left.
Have absolutely nothing to wear this weekend but wouldn’t be caught dead wearing that? How about if you were one of the Undead? The vampires of Sheffield can now stalk the streets of South Yorkshire in style after last nights Vampire Fashion Show (Thursday 6th October).
A Vampire themed catwalk show was the launch event of Sheffield’s Fashion Week, which is apparently the largest UK fashion week outside of London. Held on the 4th floor of the Rockingham Street, Q-Park multi-storey Car park the events scene was set by a drinks and Canapé reception complete with coffins, candles, gravestones blood red soft drinks, red wine served by hissing vampires and one young vampirette who had obviously discovered her wardrobe was completely empty except for some skimpy underwear and black gaffer tape.
Although the invitation only audience were all strictly human, the fashions had been chosen to equally suit both those living mere mortals and the immortal monsters of Bram Stokers legendary novel Dracula. The Count himself was nowhere to be seen, this was a far more modern styled take on the vampire, a sort of surreal cross between Blade and Buffy the Vampire Slayer but without the slayer or violence of Tarantino’s Dusk till Dawn, despite the odd lovers spat between Vampires (from Maverik Models) on the catwalk.