Saturday 27 December 2014

Cyclist Death

For the second time this year I've covered the terribly sad story of a cyclist killed on the roads. The family of a cyclist from Huddersfield who died 16 months after he was knocked off his bike by a car driver have not been allowed to bury him nearly seven weeks after he passed away. A legal wrangling means John Radford's family can't lay him to rest...

BBC Copyright

Saturday 20 December 2014

Fire Station Protest

I've been to a beautiful, rural part of Yorkshire to cover the story of a campaign against the closure of a fire station. Protesters say if the retained station at Haworth is allowed to close on New Year's Eve, lives will be lost. But following government cuts West Yorkshire Fire Service needs to save millions of pounds and they claim Haworth is a low risk area.

BBC Copyright

Saturday 6 December 2014

Small Business Saturday

Shoppers in Yorkshire are being urged to spend their money locally in the run up to Christmas to help independent businesses survive. The people behind Small Business Saturday say on this day last year more than £460 million pounds went through the tills. I've been to Leeds's Corn Exchange which is a beautiful Grade 1 listed building made up of 30 independent shops...

BBC Copyright

Monday 1 December 2014

Abbey Special School

Parents and teachers at a special school in Rotherham for students with learning difficulties are campaigning to keep it open following a damning OFSTED report. For more than thirty years Abbey Special School in Kimberworth was a success. But unions say since the local authority restructured the school earlier this year it's gone downhill and now there are plans to close it...

BBC Copyright

Thursday 27 November 2014

Corporate Manslaughter

A Rotherham company has been found guilty of corporate manslaughter and fined half a million pounds following the death of a father of three in an explosion at a waste recycling plant. I reported live on the story soon after the news broke...

BBC Copyright

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Rotherham Child Sexual Exploitation

The woeful support for victims of child grooming provided by Rotherham Council and the ineffective inspections carried out by Ofsted failed hundreds of children who were abused in the town - so says a new report published by MPs. The Communities and Local Government Committee has now summoned Ofsted for questioning. Here's my story...

BBC Copyright

Friday 14 November 2014

Ched Evans, BBC News Channel

The story of Ched Evans' return to Sheffield United, albeit for training rather than playing for the team at this stage, has been a huge story not only in South Yorkshire but in the national media too. Today I was invited to a press conference at Bramall Lane but only on the proviso that I didn't ask the manager Nigel Clough about Ched Evans. The elephant in the room. Following this I did a 2 way on the BBC News Channel tonight...

BBC Copyright

Sunday 9 November 2014

Yorkshire Remembers

I've been in Sheffield and Mirfield covering Remembrance Sunday services. Huge numbers of people turned out in the hundredth anniversary year since the start of the First World War.

BBC Copyright

Saturday 8 November 2014

Rowan Williams

The former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has been speaking today in front of an audience of hundreds at St Mark's Church in Broomhill, Sheffield. He's been talking on the subject of 'faith in search of understanding today'. I managed to get 5 minutes with him...and a selfie!

Monday 3 November 2014


I've been to meet 91 year old Harry Leslie Smith who made a name for himself with his inspiring speech on the NHS at the Labour party conference earlier this year. In the lead up to Remembrance Sunday, he's said he'll never wear a poppy again because he thinks politicians have hijacked the cause for their own benefit...

BBC Copyright

Thursday 30 October 2014

Ride for Eric

Hundreds of people in Sheffield took part in a ride to remember a cyclist who was killed in a hit and run crash by a speeding drunk driver from Dewsbury. Eric Codling died in November last year while out on his regular Sunday morning ride. I filmed this story on the Ride For Eric...

BBC Copyright

Thursday 23 October 2014

Live at Fatal House Fire

Today I went to Penistone, north of Sheffield, to report live on the distressing story of a house fire where a father and his son died in suspicious circumstances...

BBC Copyright

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Student Flats Story

I've been back to my old university to film a story about seventy students in Sheffield who've been left homeless because the new flats they're supposed to move into have been deemed unsafe by the fire service. The apartments in a converted church in the Crookesmoor area of the city were supposed to be ready at the beginning of July. But at the beginning of the new academic year they were still not finished and the fire alarms weren't installed.

BBC Copyright

Monday 13 October 2014

University of Sheffield Work Video

I was asked by the University of Sheffield to make a short home-made video on what it's like to do my job. It's aimed at people who might be interested in studying at the University. Ironically I wasn't brilliant at using the hand-held device the University gave me to record the video to film a selfie interview!

And if you want to watch the my report on singing carols in Sheffield pubs which is featured in the video above, click here.

Thursday 2 October 2014

Child Sex Abuse

Over the last couple of days I've been at Sheffield Crown Court covering the story shocking story of the rape, sexual assault and trafficking of a young teenage girl from Sheffield. Today five men were sentenced to a total of 28 and a half years for child sex abuse...

BBC Copyright

Monday 22 September 2014

Allotment Antidote

Mental health is an issue close to my heart, I've blogged about my experience in the past.

A few weeks ago when working as the Tour de France reporter for BBC Radio Sheffield I reported on the cycling session in Hillsborough Park for people who've been sectioned.

Now, I've been to film a story for BBC Look North on a charity in Sheffield which is dramatically improving the lives of people with mental health problems by supporting them to run their own allotment. SAGE Greenfingers is celebrating its tenth birthday and over that time it's helped hundreds of people suffering with conditions including schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress and bipolar disorder. As an allotment owner myself, I can say I get as much mental as physical benefit from working the land and growing my own : )

BBC copyright

Sunday 14 September 2014

Tour of Britain

Covering the Tour of Britain has been exhilarating and exhausting in equal measure. I began in Bath at the start line, drove to Chinnor Hill to watch the riders struggle up the category 2 king of the mountain climb and ended at the finish line in Hemel Hempstead. At each location I reported live for BBC Radio Oxford. Here's my 3 minute highlights of an exciting stage which was won by the breakaway, leaving Britain's Alex Dowsett in the yellow jersey.

Thursday 11 September 2014

Rotherham Child Grooming

This week I've been at Westminster to help cover the fallout of the Rotherham child grooming report which found at least 1,400 children were sexually assaulted in the town over a 16 year period. I went to the Home Affairs Select Committee meeting chaired by Keith Vaz MP and have never experienced such a devastating cross-examination. The committee were entirely unconvinced by the evidence given by Shaun Wright (Police and Crime Commissioner), Joyce Thacker (Head of Children's Services in Rotherham) and Med Hughes (former Chief Constable).

BBC Copyright

Saturday 30 August 2014

Scissors Saved!

I'm back covering South Yorkshire for BBC Look North following the end of the Tour de France and recently reported on a very enjoyable story about the resurrection of a traditional Sheffield business thanks to the internet.

One of the only scissors manufacturers in the UK has been saved from closure thanks to a video on the internet that's spread around the world. Two months ago, Ernest Wright and Son in Sheffield was on the verge of closure after a hundred and twelve years in business due to a lack of orders. But that all changed when a video-maker created a short film of what they do and posted it online...

BBC Copyright 

It was a real pleasure to film behind-the-scenes in a factory that's been making scissors for 112 years! I spent three hours shooting there, gathering interviews and lots of different shots of the scissors being made in the process. The beauty of a story like this is that there are plenty of opportunities to capture interesting pictures. I made sure I filmed lots of close-ups of the craftsman, their scissors and machines. Including close-ups not only make for more engaging packages but also mean that it's easier when editing the report e.g. two wider shots of a craftsman edited one after the other can jar especially if the person has moved, while a close-up can be followed with any type of shot so I always get lots of them.

Friday 15 August 2014

Do you have a story?

After an incredibly hectic and enjoyable three months reporting on the Tour de France for BBC Radio Sheffield, I have started a new job. I'm working as a journalist at BBC Look North, the most watched news programme in Yorkshire with 2.5 million viewers each week.

I'm going to be staying in the BBC newsroom in Sheffield as part of the Look North team who provide stories from South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire. I want to hear from you about the stories you think we should be covering on Look North so do get in touch:

Sunday 10 August 2014

Covering the Tour in France

It's been an incredible last few months reporting on the build up to the biggest annual sporting event in the world coming to Yorkshire. Now I've experienced what it's like to report on the Tour de France across the channel - as well as covering Stages 1 and 2 in Leeds and Sheffield I went to the Pyrenees and Paris to watch and report on five stages.

What struck me was the passion for the race in France both in smaller communities that it ran through like Saint-Lary-Soulan to cities like Pau that hosted the start of Stage 18. The French may not all be committed fans of the sport of cycling, but they are proud to host the Tour de France - and I've never seen grown men so enthusiastic about collecting freebies than when the Caravane whizzes past with sweets and salami thrown into the crowds!

With my press pass giving me access behind the scenes, I spoke to some of the key players in the race before and after the stages. This included a feisty interview with Sir Dave Brailsford about disparaging comments from another (very different) knight of the realm, Sir Bradley Wiggins. This made it onto BBC 5 Live – once I'd found 3G signal to send it back to the UK! I also reported on the finish line in Paris, speaking to the race director Christian Prudhomme for BBC Radio Sheffield and provided interviews for the BBC 5 Live Tour de France podcast with Team Sky's Geraint Thomas and the sprinting sensation Marcel Kittel.

I’ve blogged about reporting on the day the race came to Sheffield so here are my highlights of covering the Tour out in France...

As Christian Prudhomme told me, the good news is that the Grand Départ will be returning to the UK in the near future. That’s thanks to the enthusiasm shown for the race here in Yorkshire. My enduring memory of covering the Tour will be the huge crowds that turned out for the “grandest Grand Depart” (as Prudhomme likes to say!). I was so proud to be an honorary Sheffielder when the race came here. It seemed like everyone had ventured out to be on the route as the race passed by – from Bradfield to Oughtibridge, Pitsmoor to Wincobank – bringing huge amounts of enthusiasm, noise and colour. It was a truly special day when the city was united as one behind the most captivating sporting event.

Here are a couple of 6 second video recordings I made on the Vine mobile app. Click on the audio icon at the top left of the videos to turn the sound on.

The finish of Stage 18 at the Pyrenean mountain, Hautacam

The riders completing a lap of the Champs-Elysées in Paris just before the end of the Tour

Friday 1 August 2014

Cycling as Rehabilitation

I've recently been covering a really interesting story on how riding a bike can improve your health.

People who have been sectioned under the mental health act are using cycling to help improve their symptoms.

The Bike Club is made up of patients at the Northern General secure unit and staff who work with them.

They meet at Hillsborough Park for a joint bike ride every week, all year round. I've been along to a session.

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Tour de France Podcasts

There's a lot to learn about the Tour de France - the team tactics, how the riders win the 4 different  jerseys and the names of the 198 riders etc!

In recent years I've got to know a lot more about the race by listening to the daily, post-stage podcasts which provide analysis on the day's race.

Here are three I've come across:

BBC 5 Live Tour de France Podcast. Commentator Rob Hatch and former rider Rob Hayles look back at the day's action including interview clips with some of the riders after the stage. At around 10 minutes it's
the shortest of the three podcasts.

ITV Tour de France Podcast. The ITV reporters get together for a light-hearted chat about the day's stage including clips of the TV commentary. Ned Boulting and Matt Rendell are humorous and insightful in equal measure.

The Telegraph Cycling Podcast. Journalists Richard Moore, Lionel Birnie and Daniel Friebe go into some depth reacting to the day's stage. The podcast lasts for around 30-40 minutes so is far longer than the other two but deeper analysis on the day's racing. They also include extended interviews with some of the big names in cycling including UCI (governing body) President Brian Cookson and Team Sky Principal Sir Dave Brailsford. It's a podcast for people who already have a good understanding of what's going on at the Tour de France.

Friday 11 July 2014

Covering the Tour de France in Yorkshire

Reporting on the Tour de France has been the greatest experience of my career. For three and a half months I've been working as the Tour de France Reporter at BBC Radio Sheffield. In the week before the race arrived in South Yorkshire on Sunday 6th July I produced a nightly biking show called Cycle Heaven, including a programme on the downfall of Lance Armstrong which I'm particularly proud of. You can listen to it here.

When I started this job in March, I drove and cycled the final 26 miles of Stage 2 into South Yorkshire to recce different places where we could have our reporters. This was the start of planning our 8 hours of live coverage of the Tour de France on Sunday. Here's our BBC Radio Sheffield 3 minute highlights...

As I have accreditation in the press area for the Tour de France, I was able to do an interview with Nick Howes, Team Sky's Digital Manager, outside the their team bus, just past the finish line in Sheffield...

Straight after the stage finished I, along with a crowd of other journalists from around the world, huddled round the Team Sky bus, taking it in turn to throw questions at Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford. Here's what I asked Brailsford...

What an incredible experience! Now I'm off to France to watch the Tour in the Pyrenees and Paris. I can't wait : )

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Lance Armstrong: The Greatest Fraud in Sporting History

This is the story of Lance Armstrong, the man who came back from cancer to win seven Tour de France titles - and then lost them all after being exposed as the centre of "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen". This is the greatest fraud in sporting history.

As the Tour de France Reporter for BBC Radio Sheffield, I've produced, scripted and edited a programme on Lance Armstrong for our Cycle Heaven programme.

This involved interviewing 3-time winner of the Tour de France Greg LeMond on how his life was a made a misery because he dared to question Lance Armstrong. 

I spoke to David Walsh, the Sunday Times journalist, who showed Armstrong was doping while other reporters were duped by the American.

I interviewed Armstrong’s former team-mate Jamie Burrow in his first interview since Lance was stripped of his Tour de France titles.

And I got an interview with the man who was commissioned by Sony to make a behind-the-scenes film about Lance Armstrong's comeback from retirement at the 2009 Tour de France. Alex Gibney and Oprah Winfrey are the only people to have interviewed Armstrong since he was exposed as a serial cheat.

You can see photos of the men I interviewed here.

Saturday 21 June 2014

Ypres: Tour de France Stage 5

It's not just Yorkshire preparing to host the Tour de France in July. To mark the centenary of the First World War, Stage 5 of the Tour is starting in the Belgium town of Ypres, where 54,000 Commonwealth soldiers died. Emily and I went to Brussels a few of weeks ago to visit my sister-in-law Swizz and we went to Ypres for the day. I had to get my recorder out!

Here's my story on BBC Radio Sheffield:

Thursday 12 June 2014

Cycling Tour de France Stage 2

It's fewer than 4 weeks to go until the greatest cycle race in the world comes to South Yorkshire. To find out what it'll be like for the 198 Tour de France riders, I cycled Stage 2 of the race from York to Sheffield at the weekend. The 125 miles took me two full days of cycling with a night in Hebden Bridge. 

Six of us started the ride in York but after countless long, steep, climbs and descents, I was cycling alone. Our good friend Phil fell off his bike coming down a hill after Cragg Vale. We wish him a speedy recovery. I completed the ride at the finish line outside Sheffield Arena at 23:15 on Sunday. It's amazing that the pro riders will do the stage in fewer than 6 hours on Sunday 6th July!

Here's my interview on BBC Radio Sheffield:

Saturday 24 May 2014

How Safe is Cycling in the Peak District?

Training session in Stannington for new road cyclists
Last month a 22-year-old woman from Sheffield died after she cycled down Winnats Pass in Castleton when her bike hit a wall at the bottom of the hill.

This sad story made me want to look into how safe it is to ride in the challenging but beautiful climbs and descents of the Peaks. I dug out the figures and found the numbers of cyclists who had died or been injured on the roads in the national park has trebled in five years, although these numbers are relatively low (four injured in 2008 and twelve last year, including one death).

When I asked other cyclists about this story I was told that many accidents are not recorded in the figures because cyclists that are hurt often do not report it to the police. Here's my story...

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Asian Women Cycling

I've been busy covering lots of cycling stories in the run up to the Tour de France starting in Yorkshire.

I recently recorded at a weekly cycling session for Asian women in a park in Sheffield. 

The ladies there told me they feel comfortable cycling in the walled off area where people won't be watching them and that it's not socially acceptable for them to ride on the roads in their communities. 

Monday 31 March 2014

Tour de France Reporter

Today I start a new job covering the Tour de France for BBC Radio Sheffield. I'll be covering every twist and turn of the greatest cycle race coming to South Yorkshire on 6th July. As a massive cycling fan it’s a huge privilege to be doing this job.

As well as explaining what the race itself is all about, there’s lots for me to look at covering including the logistical challenge for the organisers of hosting the biggest annual sporting event in the world, community groups arranging parties for the race day when the Tour goes past their homes and then what the legacy will be. There’s also the 100 day YorkshireFestival which is an extensive programme of arts and cultural events in the run up to the Grand Départ, when the Tour comes to Yorkshire.

On the day itself we'll have reporters dotted along the route, broadcasting live on what will be a momentous occasion for our area. And then when the race leaves Yorkshire I’ll have a couple of weeks off on holiday…in France watching the Tour in the Pyrenees and then the finale in Paris!

If you have any story ideas, I'd love to hear from you: 

Saturday 29 March 2014

Morris Dancing

One of the great pleasures of working in regional TV news is the variety of stories you get to cover...

Morris dancing is surprisingly popular in Sheffield. And with young people too. Here's proof:

BBC Copyright

Sunday 23 March 2014

Crossrail Station

Workers at the Laing O'Rourke factory in Worksop are building a train station that will be transported down to London and put together there for the Crossrail project. This was my first as-live on BBC Look North and it was pretty nerve-racking - the Transport Secretary was only available for a short time so I had to get it right in the first take.

BBC Copyright

Sunday 16 March 2014

Hungry Kids

My first top story on BBC Look North was broadcast this week. I found, filmed, scripted and edited it - with a few useful tips from my colleagues. The story is about a worrying social trend of our times, children turning up to school hungry having not eaten a meal the night before. A head teacher in Huddersfield told me that three children in ten are arriving at her primary school very hungry. Sometimes the children haven't eaten since lunchtime the day before. The school is one of thirteen in Yorkshire that is running a breakfast club supported by Huddersfield Town Football Club.


BBC Copyright

This is a good example of a story I found through social media. Before Christmas I brought in a story about a school in the Handsworth area of Sheffield that’s set up a foodbank because children are turning up to school hungry. I promoted our report on Twitter and The Huddersfield Town Foundation got in touch with me about the work they do. One of the schools they support is Ashbrow Primary which is where I filmed this story.

Sunday 9 March 2014

Sheffield United are off to Wembley!

What an incredible match to report on! Sheffield United are going to Wembley to play Hull City in the semi-finals of the FA Cup. Along the way they've beaten four teams from higher divisions - Aston Villa, Fulham and Nottingham Forest and now they've seen off Charlton Athletic. I was pitch-side at full time and it felt like the stadium roof would blow off, there was so much excitement and pride from the Sheffield United faithful.

BBC Copyright. (Due to rights restrictions I couldn't include the footage of the game)

Saturday 8 March 2014


Today I went to Mexborough, between Doncaster and Barnsley, to look into police reports of an evacuation of homes there. It turns out a man's been arrested after fireworks explosives were found at a house. A bomb disposal unit, police and firefighters were there alongside groups of bewildered residents. I filmed the story myself and interviewed people who'd had to leave their homes as well as the police officer in charge of the investigation. Quite an unusual day for people living in the town.

BBC Copyright

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Volunteering in The Gambia

Some of our favourite photos from The Gambia

Ever since leaving The Gambia 12 years ago, I had always wanted to return. I finally made it back this month and this time with my wife Emily. The Gambian people are so friendly, fun and positive. Paradoxically even though so many of them have so little, they are the happiest people I've met.

Emily and I spent an amazing two weeks volunteering at Mansa-Colley Bojang School, which was set up by a friend of mine called Mucki, who I met during my school visit 12 years ago.

Mucki was the tour leader for our student group, the first to go to The Gambia from Lord Williams's School in Thame, Oxfordshire. Following the trip, Mucki and Carol, the school's sixth form secretary, set up a charity called Sponsor A Gambian Child. Many of the children who attend Mansa-Colley Bojang School are sponsored through this charity, as their families can't afford to pay the school fees and costs of uniform and equipment.

As well as teaching at this school, we visited other local schools, played football with the children (Emily included!) and helped them to write letters to their sponsors in England and Holland. We also spent time volunteering in an HIV clinic in the nearby market town of Brikama which was a very moving experience. Part of this role involved registering new patients who had just been given an HIV diagnosis and taking their blood pressure, weight, height etc.

Away from the tourist areas in The Gambia the need is great and there are plenty of ways you can help if you're interested in volunteering. None better than at Mansa-Colley Bojang School. If you are interested in applying to volunteer, have a look at this website and I'd be happy to tell you more about the opportunity. You will get to experience the real Gambia away from the beach-side resorts while avoiding having to pay costly fees for volunteering as you do with travel companies.

In preparation for volunteering we raised money so that Mansa-Colley Bojang School can train local people to become teachers. They particularly look to give opportunities to those who might be excluded elsewhere such as people with disabilities. You can read more on our fundraising page here.

While we're on the subject of The Gambia - five years ago when I was working for ITV, I covered the story of a slave ship assembly at my old school in Oxfordshire when Mucki went there to visit...

Sunday 23 February 2014

WW2 Bomber Crash

Today I've been covering the sad story of the ten US airmen who died during the Second World War when their B-17 bomber crashed in a Sheffield park 70 years ago.


Wednesday 19 February 2014

Clearing Waterways

Schoolchildren who are at risk of being excluded in Sheffield have been sprucing up the waterways in their city. I've been along to the Parson Cross estate to film a report on the project. These lads worked flat out and were clearly engaged by the activities - proving that learning doesn't always have to be in the classroom.

BBC Copyright

Saturday 1 February 2014

Soldier Memorial

I recently went to Thorne near Doncaster to film a story about a family who are determined for there to be a permanent memorial to their brother who was killed while serving in Afghanistan.

BBC Copyright

Sunday 26 January 2014

Rev Paul Flowers

I was working on the day the Reverend Paul Flowers drug scandal story broke. Initially I headed to his church in Bradford to try to speak to some of his congregation and later found a friend of his to interview. I knew at the time it would be a big story but didn't quite realise it would lead the headlines day after day.

BBC Copyright

Monday 20 January 2014

Saving Money Together

I've been covering a story I found recently about saving money. It involves a group of women who live in Sheffield and are from different African countries. They save hundreds of pounds a year by putting some of their money together every week and buying in bulk. I loved meeting them, they even invited me to stay for a very tasty lunch. Here's their story...

BBC Copyright

Saturday 11 January 2014

Leeds Murder

Today I've been covering the murder of a man in Leeds. A 24-year-old was found in the street in the Lincoln Green area in the early hours of this morning. BBC Copyright

Monday 6 January 2014

Remploy Closure

I covered the closure of the Remploy factories in Spring 2013 when I produced a half hour programme on the subject for BBC Radio 4 and wrote a feature for the BBC News website. When I started at BBC Look North I was keen to report on this story and I managed to get exclusive access inside the Sheffield Remploy factory days before it closed. My report was also used on BBC Breakfast and the BBC News Channel.

BBC Copyright