The Bear who boxed

 

So it’s been a couple of months since my fight night and the end of the fundraising for Aware Defeat Depression. I finally got round to getting the DVD from the night’s proceeding s and have managed to get my fight up on YouTube for your enjoyment.

Once again, many thanks to all of you who helped me raise over £1500 for this great charity. It scared me, challenged me, pushed me further than I thought possible. What an experience!

If you want to get involved, there is still a last minute chance to join The Fight II which commences on Tuesday 6th September. Check out www.facebook.com/thefightbelfast for full details. It’s a life changer, beware!

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Getting punched for a good cause

Me and Ricky Hatton

Hoping that standing beside this guy last summer will have somehow rubbed off some of his skills!

So since January I have been back training again properly and slowly building up my fitness to where it was last summer before my injury. Whilst the training has gone well, I have been looking for an event to train for. Suddenly out of the blue came something I have been wanting to do for a couple of years but previously had been unable to take part in – White Collar Boxing.

Yes, it means I will probably get hit a few times but it’s going to be worth it. I decided it would be a great idea for a bit of fundraising and so after a few enquiries here and there, I decided to try and raise some money for Aware Defeat Depression. I have friends and relatives who have suffered from depression over the years and I have seen how it can affect people. Depression affects around 25% of the Northern Ireland population, (this could be indirectly – carers, family etc.). Aware Defeat Depression support carers and family as well as people experiencing depression. They’ve got 20 support groups across NI that are free to attend but cost around £400 a month to maintain. My target of raising at least £600 will at least go a little way to easing this burden.

In approximately 75% of all suicides, depression is cited as a factor. There were 260 deaths by suicide in 2009, which averages as 5 per week. Between January and September 2010 there were 234 deaths by suicide, averaging 6.5 per week. The suicide rate in NI for males is 3.5 times higher than for females. These statistics make for shocking reading. By supporting Aware Defeat Depression, you can help lower the number of deaths.

Training starts in earnest on the 26th April and will continue twice a week until I climb into the ring on the 23rd June at the Europa Hotel in Belfast. I am excited but also nervous, it will be a test of physical and mental ability as well as my discipline and nerve. I would love to have your support, knowing that I have a bunch of people behind me, raising money for this excellent charity would make a huge difference. I won’t let you down.

If you can afford to donate, please do by clicking here, if you can’t, then thanks for reading and please tell a few people and encourage them to support this cause.

Christmas in photos

A flavour of Christmas past, enjoy. Click on any of the images for a large version.

Christmas Heart

Christmas Love

Belfast City Hall at Christmas

Belfast City Hall at Christmas

Christmas Tree Bokeh

Christmas Tree Colours

Christmas Hog Roast

Christmas Hog Roast at the Continental Market

Waiting for Santa

Waiting for Santa

The Queen visits UTV in Belfast

Crazy day at work, all the hush hush security stuff I couldn’t talk about for days finally came to light today. The Queen visited UTV in Belfast to launch the new UTV HD service.

The frosted sticky plastic on the windows to prevent (unfriendly) snipers seeing in, sealed doors, drains being searched, (friendly) snipers on the rooftops, airport style security. Just some of the measures in place to make sure she was safe.

Her Press Officer is amazing, a girl of clearly fine stock with long red curly hair and the most fabulous moss green, full length, wool coat. You wouldn’t mess with her.

As for the Queen, small, looking more frail than I remember her last but still every inch the powerhouse. A real privilege to have the opportunity to get up close and personal with my camera. Rest of the shots here

A Plastic Rose – Single Launch

A Plastic Rose

A Plastic Rose - Crowd pleasers

I previously posted the fantastic video for A Plastic Rose – Kids dont’ behave like this, well finally the single is available to buy. The band launched the single at Stiff Kitten in Belfast last Friday to a throng of ever-loyal fans who couldn’t get enough! The single is superb, a really great song that builds and ticks the singalong crowd pleaser box with ease.

Axis Of

Axis Of - APR Allies

The band were supported by Axis Of and Before Machines, both of whom were excellent. Great night, great bands and another step on the journey to putting Belfast at the heart of the UK music scene.

See if you can spot yourself in the crowd! You can view all the images from the night here.

Belfast Twestival

The dust has settled and the hashtag has gone quiet but Thursday night’s Twestival in Belfast was nothing short of a spectacular event.

Organisers @Lopsi and @illusivelu

From Left - Organisers @Lopsi and @illusivelu

Organised by the rather smashing @Lopsi and @IllusiveLu and held at one of Belfast’s newest venues, Slide, the evening got off to a great start with RAMs’ Pocket Radio setting the tone for the evening. If you haven’t heard Peter before, you are truly missing out. Accompanied by Shauna Tohill on vocals the pair brought a dreamy, delicate sound to the beginning of the night, engaging with the growing audience and setting a high bar for the other 2 acts to follow.

Ram's Pocket Radio

RAMS' Pocket Radio

Up next were the excellent Seven Summits, bringing a little more edge to events and getting heads nodding and feet tapping. The new line up sounds great and having seen them at Trans Belfast last summer, there is a clear improvement in their direction. Keep an eye out for more forthcoming gigs.

Seven Summits

Seven Summits - Going up!

Before the last band of the evening, Little Wing Pizza brought what can only be described as some of the largest and tastiest pizzas in Belfast. Seriously huge but they went in a flash as people donated £1 a slice – many thanks to Phil for all his hard work on the night.

Little Wing Pizza

Little Wing Pizza, Belfast. Serious Noms.

Pudding arrived in the shape of Marshmallow Grove cupcakes, kindly donated by owner Sarah Landstreet. Again, these didn’t hang around and went down a treat.

Marshmallow Grove

Marshmallow Grove - Grab one before they go!

Claire Hanna from Concern moved on to make the raffle draw, with winners including Phil O’Kane and Lee Munroe. Again, all prizes had been kindly donated by local companies and were gratefully received.

Cutaways brought the evening to a conclusion with a fantastic set , showing just what a fine music scene Belfast has currently. Blistering guitars and beautiful vocals, their music gallops along with infectious rhythm and zingy synths. Make sure you check them out soon.

Cutaways

Cutaways - Infectious!

Just a final word of thanks to all those who came down, raising over £600 for Concern. Be proud of yourselves Belfast.

You can see all the photos from the night here