Friday, 23 December 2016

Cancer Cure

I've been to film with a mother of five from Sheffield who's battling incurable bone marrow cancer and is determined to help Sheffield Hospitals Charity raise the money it needs to attempt to find a cure. Jaqui Copley has already fundraised more than ten thousand pounds towards the appeal.



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Sunday, 11 December 2016

Cleared

I've been working on a very disturbing story about a man who was was wrongly convicted of sexually abusing a fourteen year old girl. Rassam Ali was cleared of the crime on appeal but only after he'd served 18 months in prison. He believes police failed to investigate the case properly and he was made a scapegoat because they were under heavy scrutiny following the Rotherham child sex grooming scandal.



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Sunday, 4 December 2016

FC Halifax Town

I've been to film FC Halifax Town's training as they prepare for an FA Cup match knowing that a win would put them in the third round with the chance of facing Premier League opposition. The National League North side are away at Eastleigh, who're in the league above them.



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Sunday, 20 November 2016

Sinkhole

I've been in Ripon where a massive sinkhole has caused real problems for residents - twelve homes have been evacuated...



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Sunday, 13 November 2016

Remembrance Sunday

Today I was filming in Barnsley at the Remembrance Sunday service where thousands of people turned out on a crisp, sunny morning. We had cameramen in Bradford and Thirsk too and I pulled together a report on the commemorations across Yorkshire...



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Sunday, 6 November 2016

Rotherham Child Sex Abuse Sentencing

This week I reported on the sentencing of the Rotherham child sex abuse gang for the BBC both in Yorkshire and nationally. It follows a 6 week trial which I covered day in, day out, where 8 men were found guilty of sexually abusing three 13 year old girls. They were given a combined jail sentence of nearly a hundred years. Here's my report on the BBC News Channel...



And this is my report on BBC Radio 2...



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Friday, 28 October 2016

'Out Of This World'

Thousands of sci-fi and horror fans descended on Sheffield for the city's 'Out Of This World' festival. It's not really my thing but I went along and actually really enjoyed it, everyone was in high spirits (excuse the pun!).



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Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Rotherham Child Sex Abuse Trial

I've been covering the Rotherham child sex abuse trial over the last month and a half. This week eight men were found guilty of charges including rape, indecent assault and false imprisonment. It's been a harrowing experience to be in court hearing the depraved abuse the three thirteen year old victims were subjected to. But more than a decade after the crimes, the girls - who are now women - finally have justice. Here's my report on BBC Radio 5 Live about the verdicts...



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Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Tadcaster Bridge

I went to Tadcaster recently to see how the community's coping after the town was split in two following the collapse of the bridge nine months ago. Thousands of people turned out for the annual carnival and the bridge collapse was still on everyone's minds...



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Sunday, 18 September 2016

Claire Throssell

I've been to interview a truly-inspiring woman, Claire Throssell. She's been through the unthinkable, awful experience of losing her two sons in the cruelest fashion. They were killed in a house fire which was started deliberately by their father. She's spearheading a charity as a tribute to her sons.



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Friday, 9 September 2016

Roma Brexit

Over the last few weeks I've spent time with the Roma community in South Yorkshire to hear how the Brexit vote is affecting them. They told me in Page Hall, Sheffield, and in Eastwood, Rotherham, that they've suffered more racist abuse and are worried they'll be deported once Britain leaves the EU...



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Friday, 2 September 2016

Historic Canal Tunnel

A historic canal tunnel on the Yorkshire Derbyshire border has been opened up to the public for the first time since it collapsed over a century ago. The Norwood Tunnel near Kiveton was the longest tunnel in the country when it opened back in May 1775. I've been to explore and it was fascinating...



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Friday, 26 August 2016

Sheffield Trees

I've been reporting on the controversial chopping down and replanting of trees in Sheffield. The campaign to stop tree felling is continuing despite protesters being told they have no more legal options. I had a time turn-around on this story and filmed, scripted and edited it in less than three hours...



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Friday, 12 August 2016

Grouse Shooting

I've been to the stunning setting that is Ilkley Moor. Protesters have been gathering there to campaign against grouse shooting there - the shooting season starts today. Bradford City Council allows the shoots on eight days a year on the part of the moor it owns.



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Sunday, 7 August 2016

Leeds Pride

I went to Pride for the first time this weekend. The atmosphere in Leeds was so uplifting and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Tens of thousands of people were there to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities. I did a report for Look North...


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...and a Facebook Live from an open-top bus during the parade which was especially good fun...


Friday, 5 August 2016

Bakewell Show Live

I had a cracking day this week reporting live at the Bakewell Show. A couple of days before the show I went to Bakewell to film a story on the rural crime of fish poaching. There are reports of people stealing up to fifteen trout a night from the River Wye in Bakewell and selling them on for big money. It's a crime that the police and other partners have come together to tackle...



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Monday, 1 August 2016

World Cup 1966 in Sheffield

It's fifty years since the World Cup was staged in England and many people don't know Sheffield played a key role in hosting the competition. Four of the games were played at Hillsborough stadium, including a quarter final. I've been digging into the archives...



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Sunday, 24 July 2016

Tour de France 2016

I've had another great time working on the Tour de France for a few days. I was lucky enough to see Chris Froome win on Stage 8 with that unique but effective descent of the Peyresourde where he distanced his rivals by sitting on the top tube and pedalling downhill!

I caught up with Sir Dave Brailsford just a few minutes after the stage...



Another stage winner at this year's Tour was Steve Cummings who won a superb solo-effort on stage 7 up and over the Col d'Aspin in the Pyrenees. I spoke to him about it a couple of days later...


I also interviewed a rather touchy Mark Cavendish about his Tour and didn't get much out of him!

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Race Walking

I went to see racewalker Tom Bosworth qualify for Rio after winning an Olympic trial event in Leeds. Bosworth came first in the British Grand Prix of Racewalking. Check out his celebration!



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Sunday, 19 June 2016

Bike Tour of Holland

If like me you love cycling,  I'd highly recommend getting yourself and your bike to Holland. There are cycle lanes everywhere and most of them are separated from cars. It's cycling heaven!

I was determined to do a touring holiday around the country and managed to persuade my wife to join me. I have a number of relatives and friends in Holland because I was born in the country so I plotted an ambitious route (pictured below in pink highlighter) to see them and their country.

We headed out there in mid-October with our bikes on the ferry from Hull to Rotterdam. Unfortunately it was really cold, much more like winter than autumn and on one day we rode through heavy rain for three hours! Perhaps that's to be expected on a touring holiday. We made the best of it - layering up (see below) and keeping moving.
Before we went on holiday I plotted the journey using an online cycle route planner on the holland-cycling.com website and bought a book with maps of cycle routes. Navigating once out there was relatively straight-forward using the cycling-specific signs which each had a different number. I also used Google maps on my mobile phone which was attached to my bike with a mount. I'm not ashamed to say we also took the train a couple of times when we couldn't face riding because of bad weather or tiredness. By the way there was more space for bikes on the trains in Holland but it's worth knowing that you have to book and pay for an additional ticket for your bike.

The lowlight was definitely getting lost in the dark in the middle of nowhere after riding 100km in very cold weather. In the end we had to admit defeat and call my friend Sander (who we were staying with next) to come and collect us. It was so cold that I knocked on the door of the only house in the area and asked if we could wait at theirs until our lift arrived. Initially I was told no, but managed to gently persuade the old couple to let us in, that I wasn't part of an elaborate plan to rob them! It was 8pm, pitch black and in the sticks so I couldn't blame them for being cautious.

Conversely, highlights were earlier on that day's ride taking a small boat to cross a river just as the sun was setting (see top picture above) and cycling along the sand dunes near The Hague on our last day (pictured right).

Thanks very much to all the friends and relatives who put us up, fed us and encouraged us on our adventure. Tot ziens!

Sunday, 12 June 2016

River Clean-Up

I've been filming a story about volunteers cleaning-up flood-hit waterways in Yorkshire. The Boxing Day floods left rubbish and other debris along our rivers...


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Sunday, 5 June 2016

River Don Engine

Next time you come to Sheffield I can highly recommend a visit to Kelham Island Museum. I've been down there to do a story on the majestic River Don Steam Engine. It produced armour plate for the warships at the Battle of Jutland, which took place one hundred years ago. Now a lottery grant means it can steam on for generations to come.


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Saturday, 28 May 2016

Football Family

I've filmed a really enjoyable story with a couple who're both going to Wembley this weekend for the play-offs but have different loyalties. Mike and Fiona Hall have been married for 18 years. He proposed to Fiona, who's a passionate Barnsley fan, on the pitch at Oakwell but Mike is massive Sheffield Wednesday fan! I visited them as they got ready to head to London...



Putting together a self-authored report - where the people in the story tell their own story without using a reporter's voice-over - is always challenging. You need to plan it carefully, making sure the interviewees introduce each part of the story so that there's a beginning, middle and end that fits. I really like to make self-authored packages wherever possible as we reporters are not the story, they are!

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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Mental Health Services

I've been in York to report on a protest against what campaigners say is a worrying shortage of mental health services...



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Friday, 20 May 2016

Vaisakhi

Hundreds of people from Sikh communities across Yorkshire have been in Doncaster to celebrate Vaisakhi. The festival is considered the most important date in the religion's calendar...



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Sunday, 15 May 2016

HIllsborough Rescuer

This week I covered the moving story of the Hillsborough survivor who's looking for the man who helped save his life. Joe Smith posted an appeal on Facebook after seeing footage of himself on the man's shoulders as he watched a BBC documentary about the Hillsborough disaster this week...



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Saturday, 7 May 2016

Tour de Yorkshire

I've been in Settle, Doncaster and Scarborough covering the three days of the Tour de Yorkshire. I interviewed the winners Thomas Voeckler and Kirsten Wild for BBC Sport and did a lot of mobile journalism. Here's a video I shot on my iPhone taking you behind the scenes in the media area at the Tour:



And this is a report I made with my cameraman colleague Ben on the sportive amateur ride in Scarborough:



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Sunday, 1 May 2016

Hillsborough: David Duckenfield

I've been working over the last couple of months on the harrowing story of the Hillsborough inquests which concluded this week.  Jurors found the then match commander, Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield, was "responsible for manslaughter by gross negligence" due to a breach of his duty of care. I helped produce our special programme live from Hillsborough and reported on David Duckenfield...



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Saturday, 16 April 2016

Cleaner River Don

When you flush the loo in Sheffield the waste goes to Blackburn Meadows sewage works near Meadowhall. I've been down there to see how they pump cleaner water into the River Don which has attracted fish to what was once one of the dirtiest rivers in Europe...



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Saturday, 9 April 2016

Fox Valley

I've been down to the Fox Valley development in Stocksbridge that'll open in June bringing new shops, houses and jobs to the area. But just across the road from Fox Valley is the Tata steelworks where more than 800 jobs are at risk. This contrast reflects a national trend..




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Friday, 1 April 2016

Women of Steel as live

A statue honouring the women who worked in Sheffield's munitions factories during the war is going to be unveiled soon...



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Friday, 25 March 2016

Rotherham Victims

This week the Drew Review found that South Yorkshire Police's handling of child sexual exploitation was 'inadequate' and the force 'regularly missed' opportunities to tackle the problem. I've been speaking to survivors and their families at an art therapy group on the outskirts of Rotherham to find out what they make of the way they were treated by the police...



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Sunday, 13 March 2016

Parler en Français

I'm determined to be very comfortable speaking in French because I'm a quarter Belgian, studied French A Level and love France, especially le Tour!

A few months ago I started taking weekly conversation classes. The last time I studied French was as an additional subject at university twelve years ago. The big difference this time around is how useful I've found new technology in helping me learn.

I've come across Radio France Internationale's (equivalent of the BBC's World Service) excellent news programme, Journal en Français Facile. It's 10 minutes of daily news in simple French and is available as a podcast. The transcript of each programme is available on the website too so you can listen and read at the same time to aid comprehension.

Secondly, Google Translate on the desktop and the app on my mobile is really handy. It's quick to look-up  words, detecting the language of the word you're typing in and want to translate. I can also use my phone's camera to scan a French text and immediately see the translation of it in English. The WordReference.com website and app work better as a dictionary though, with more detail about the words you're looking up.

For years I've been emailed a French word of the day. which has been really good way of learning new words and reading a bit of French every day.

Google Translate, WordReference.com, the Journal en Français Facile podcast and the French word of the day email have really helped my learning of French.

My brother Pascal who is skilled at learning languages emailed me recently from Portugal where he's moved to:' Try to learn is an many different ways as possible: Read, listen, speak, write - get all parts of the brain working so it casts a web around the language' Great advice!

Do you know of other websites or apps that you use to improve your foreign language skills? Do comment below if so.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Fundraising for Tommy's

The last 12 months have been tough for my wife Emily and me. I’ve decided to try to do something positive by taking on the challenge of Ride London, cycling 100 miles in London and Surrey in July and Sheffield Half Marathon in April. I’d like to ask for your support in the form of a donation, however small.

Emily and I have suffered two miscarriages in the last year. It’s hard to put in to words how devastating it is to lose a baby, however early. The excitement and anticipation you feel when you’re expecting is abruptly and cruelly brought to an end. And once you’re done at the hospital you’re just left to get on with life and to try again despite the fear of how you’ll cope if the same happens yet again. It’s a lonely experience.

Until you have three miscarriages in a row the NHS isn’t interested in investigating what might be the cause. Even then, very little is understood about why so many women miscarry – around 1 in 4 women lose a baby during pregnancy and birth – this devastation impacts on so many couples. This is where the charity Tommy's comes in. They fund research into pregnancy problems and try to end the stigma around miscarriage.

Tommy’s and its supporters refuse to accept that a baby's death is just 'one of those things'. Their target is to halve the number of babies that die during pregnancy or birth by 2030.

You can donate here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/markansell 

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Child Sexual Exploitation Trial

Over the last few months I've been covering the Rotherham child sexual exploitation trial which concluded this week. Six people were sentenced to a total of 102 years in prison for grooming, rape and sexual assault of girls in the town. 

In preparation for the verdicts I went through the transcripts of police interviews with one of the victims that were played in court. I selected some of the key quotes where she describes the abuse she suffered. We filmed the following story with an actress...


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Sunday, 21 February 2016

Social Media Videos

More and more nowadays we are expected to produce separate short videos for social media. These include text because when you're on Facebook and scroll past a video it'll play automatically without sound. You have to specifically turn the audio on to hear it so the video has to work without sound. Here's one I made recently about an £8 million project to transform the public spaces at the University of Sheffield...

 

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Monday, 8 February 2016

Family Murdered

I've been covering the terribly sad story of the murder of a mother and her two children. The bodies of Geraldine Newman and her two children Shane and Shannon were found in their home near Castleford on Tuesday 2nd February. Their father is suspected of killing them. He was found dead on cliffs in North Wales on the same day.



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Monday, 1 February 2016

Inline Skater

I filmed a really uplifting story recently in Rotherham about a fostered teenager who has gone on to great things. Karen Callaghan from Worksop is part of a Great Britain team who've won double-gold at the Junior Olympics for inline hockey in the United States. Karen had never put on a pair of skates until she was fostered by a family who introduced her to inline hockey...


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Sunday, 24 January 2016

Huddersfield A&E

I've been reporting on a campaign against plans that could see the closure of the A&E in Huddersfield. The local NHS says it's no longer sustainable to run two hospitals, with a full range of services. They want to move all emergency care to Halifax...



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Thursday, 21 January 2016

Teen Fundraiser

This story is really inspiring, it was a pleasure to film and edit.

It's about a teenager from Chesterfield who was given life-saving treatment for a rare form of leukaemia. Andrew Davies is now aiming to raise the £150 thousand pounds the treatment cost for the Sheffield Children's Hospital Charity.

It's my first 'self-authored' report which is where the person in the story tells their story instead of the reporter. In order to make this work I had to think hard before filming about the interview answers I needed from Andrew so that it could be tied together into a report with a beginning, middle and end. I also had to consider which images I could use to illustrate this story - here I had access to a number of photos of Andrew during and after his treatment and I arranged to film in the Children's Hospital labs and at one of his check-ups with his consultant.



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Sunday, 10 January 2016

Yorkshire Floods

I've been to see the devastating effect of the floods in Yorkshire. Central Street Infant and Nursery School in Hebden Bridge has been hit twice in the last two and a half years. This time around, on Boxing Day, the water reached waist height...



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