Monday, 31 August 2015

13 Members of BVUK

This painting firstly went to the Imperial War Museum on Wednesday the 23rd of September 2015 and then to Westminster Abby on Tuesday the 6th of October 2015. It is 8ft by 2ft and took me roughly 90 hours to paint!

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Charge of the Light Brigade

The Charge of the Light Brigade was a charge of British light cavalry led by Lord Cardigan against Russian forces during the Battle of Balaclava on 25 October 1854 in the Crimean WarLord Raglan, overall commander of the British forces, had intended to send the Light Brigade to pursue and harry a retreating Russian artillery battery, a task well-suited to light cavalry. Due to miscommunication in the chain of command, the Light Brigade was instead sent on a frontal assault against a different artillery battery, one well-prepared with excellent fields of defensive fire.
Although the Light Brigade reached the battery under withering direct fire and scattered some of the gunners, the badly mauled brigade was forced to retreat immediately. Thus, the assault ended with very high British casualties and no decisive gains.
The events are best remembered as the subject of the poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Published just six weeks after the event, its lines emphasize the valour of the cavalry in bravely carrying out their orders, regardless of the obvious outcome. Blame for the miscommunication has remained controversial, as the original order itself was vague.

Half a league, half a league,
 Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
 Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!
"Charge for the guns!" he said:
Into the valley of Death
 Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
 Someone had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
 Rode the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
 Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
 Rode the six hundred.
Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turn'd in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
 All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel'd from the sabre stroke
 Shatter'd and sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not
 Not the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
 Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
 Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
 All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made,
Honor the Light Brigade,
 Noble six hundred.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Andy Murray

Andrew Barron Murray OBE (born 15 May 1987) is a British professional tennis player, currently ranked World No. 3.[10] He started playing tennis at the age of three, entered his first competitive tournament at age five and was playing league tennis by the time he was eight. He is known to be one of the most consistent players on the tour, having reached at least the quarter-finals of all Grand Slam Tournaments he has participated in since 2011.[12] When he was 15 he moved to Barcelona to train at the S├ínchez-Casal Academy. He won the junior US Open in 2004 and turned professional the following year. Murray has been ranked as British No. 1since 27 February 2006. He achieved a top-10 ranking by the ATP for the first time on 16 April 2007, and reached a career peak of world No. 2 on 17 August 2009.
Murray defeated Roger Federer at the 2012 Olympic Games in straight sets to win the gold medal in the men's singlesfinal, becoming the first British singles champion in over 100 years. He also won a silver medal in the mixed doubles, playing with Laura Robson. At the 2012 US Open, Murray became the first British player since 1977, and the first British man since 1936, to win a Grand Slam singles tournament, when he defeated Novak Djokovic in five sets. This title made him the only British male to become a Grand Slam singles champion during the Open Era. On 7 July 2013, Murray won the 2013 Wimbledon Championships, becoming the first British player to win a Wimbledon singles title since Virginia Wade in 1977, and the first British man to win the Men's Singles Championship since Fred Perry77 years previously. He again beat Djokovic in the final, this time in straight sets. Murray is the only man in history to have won Olympic Gold and the US Open in the same calendar year, as well as only the third man to hold the Gold Medal and two majors on different surfaces (after Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal). Subsequent to his success at the Olympics and Wimbledon, Murray was voted the 2013 BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
He has been the runner-up in six other singles Grand Slam finals: the 2008 US Open, the 201020112013 and 2015 Australian Open, and the 2012 Wimbledon Championships, losing three each to Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. He is the first man in the open era to achieve four runner-up finishes at the Australian Open, after losing to Djokovic in the final of the 2015 Australian Open. In 2011, Murray became only the seventh player in the Open Era to reach the semifinals of all four Grand Slam tournaments in one year.[13] During the 2013 season he became the sixth man in tennis history to have won over $30 million in career prize money. After reaching the French Open semifinal in 2014 he became the tenth man to reach two or more semifinals at each of the four Majors.[14]

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Alec Newman

Alec Newman Spotlight CV
Alec Newman was born in Glasgow on the 27th of November 1974. Raised both in Scotland and England he joined the National Youth theater at 17 after injury ruled out a career in soccer. There he played various roles most notably Iago in Shakespeare's Othello, opposite Chiwetel Ejiofor. Upon finishing his training both at the NYT and then at LAMDA, Newman went straight to work both on television and in the theater, appearing in the obligatory Scots cop show "Taggart" and playing leading roles at Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum. Playing guest leads in several of Britain's leading network shows led Newman to his debut feature G:MT Greenwich Mean Time (1999), where he won critical acclaim for his performance. He landed the role of Paul Atreides in the SciFI channel mini series "Frank Herberts Dune"(2000) which exposed him to the US audience for the first time. Appearances on US shows such as "Angel"(2004), "Tru Calling"(2004) and "Star Trek:Enterprise"(2004) would follow.

However, he consistently returned to the British theatre, working with Cate Blanchettin the West end production of "Plenty", and leading a revival of Max Frisch's "Andorra" at London's Young Vic. A return to film came with the Working Title horror film "Long Time Dead" (2002).Further screen appearances included a reprisal of the role of Paul Atreides in Children of Dune (2003) and the title role in Frankenstein (2004) alongside Luke GossDonald Sutherland, and Julie Delpy. The hard hitting independent, The Principles of Lust (2003), hit screens in early 2004, further assurance of Newman's presence in British film after an appearance in Stephen Fry's debut Bright Young Things(2003).Both films were selected to play in competition at the 2004 Sundance Film festival.

2004 was also the year Newman played the lead in a John Wells pilot for a remake of the cult 60's show "Dark Shadows".His first foray into series television,Wells himself had fought with the network for his choice and won.Alec beat off the competition for that years most coveted role in television.The pilot was not selected for the 2004 season however despite being heavily tipped.

Despite the series not continuing,the actor reacted assertively and quickly, firing into more film work including Constellation(2005) directed by award winning Jordan Walker Pearlmain,and "Moonlight Serenade"(2006),opposite Academy Award nominee Amy Adams.His role in "The Fifth Patient"(2007)marked somewhat of a departure for Alec-he plays a British doctor,(having consistently realized American roles in most of his prior US work.)The film also stars Nick Chinlund and Peter Bogdanovich.

Alec next appeared in Lions Gate distributed "The Gene Generation" (2007) opposite Bai Ling and Faye Dunaway.

Returning to the UK he filmed "The Reichenbach Falls"(2007) for BBC 4- a John Mckay directed film based on an Ian Rankin short story "The Acid Test". It aired to unanimous critical acclaim.Continued work with the BBC featured a regular role on the series "Hope Springs"(2009) for Shed Productions, "Silent Witness"(2010) and medical long runner "Casualty".(2010)

In 2010 Alec shot the Julian Gilbey thriller "A Lonely Place To Die"(2011) in his native Scotland. He featured (opposite Sean Harris and Melissa George), as Rob, the leader of a climbing expedition in the wilds of the Highlands.The film opened to favorable reviews both sides of the Atlantic.

A return to stage work then beckoned, first in the National Theatre production of "Dantons Death" in which Alec appeared as the sadistic "Saint Just". The production was directed by Michael Grandage and Alec appeared next in his Donmar Warehouse production Of "King Lear"(2011) with Sir Derek Jacobi in the title role. Newman's performance as Edmund was noted in the UK and at BAM, where the production ended it's extensive tour.It also played worldwide in an NT Live broadcast to over 30 countries.

In 2011 Newman returned to the BBC appearing as Michael Byrne in "Waterloo Road"(2011). The series was nominated for a 2012 National Television Award but did not win. It relocated to Scotland for the 2012 season after previously being filmed in Rochdale, England.

2013 saw Alec shoot the independent film "Greyhawk" in Hackney, London near the actors home. Its the story of a mans search for his canine companion through the jungle of a down at heel housing estate.The character is blind and in preparing the role, Alec became involved as an ambassador for the UK charity Blind Veterans UK.

He also appeared as Joseph Cervenka in an episode of NBC's "Dracula" and opened London's newest theatre with a production of "These Shining Lives".

Alec plays Ray Williams in Direct Tv's second season of the thriller series "Rogue', due to air in May 2014.

He resides in North London.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Billy Baxter

As a Rehabilitation Training Liaison Officer for Blind Veterans UK, 48 year old Billy Baxter is an inspiration to our new members when they visit our Llandudno rehabilitation, care and training centre. His extrovert personality and positive attitude is infectious. He is also the town Cior for Llandudno.

But as Billy says, he would not be alive today if it were not for the emotional strength of his wife Karen and the support of Blind Veterans UK.

When Billy Baxter, a former Staff Sergeant in the British Army, lost his sight in 1997 from a virus, he became extremely bitter and depressed.

Billy said: "I was ready to commit suicide, I felt useless and angry and I didn't want to put Karen and the kids through any more misery. If it hadn't been for Karen and Blind Veterans UK I would not have the great life I have now".

Shortly before Billy was discharged from the Army, Karen found out about Blind Veterans UK, but Billy refused to apply for membership, being too proud to admit he needed help. So Karen enquired on his behalf and managed to persuade Billy to go on an introductory stay with the organisation.

Karen said: "When Billy lost his sight he was very, very angry. Everything me and the kids did he would snap at us for. I had had enough and was ready to pack my bags and leave him. But when he came back from Blind Veterans UK's training and rehabilitation centre in Brighton he was the real Billy again. It was such a relief and we are just so grateful."

Billy said: "When I arrived at the centre and met the staff and other members of Blind Veterans UK I realised I wasn't alone. That changed everything for me."

Karen adds: "I never thought that Billy would be able to work again, so when he got the job at Blind Veterans UK's Llandudno centre I couldn't believe it.  It is so fantastic, we are so happy now."