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I Have Never...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


"I Have Never been as proud as when my mum won an award."

I thought that, seeing as I'm using one of her photos, I should post about my mum.

My mum started taking photos in earnest in the early 90's. She wanted a change of direction after having been a teacher for most of her life. So, she enrolled on a two year course at a local college.

Her break came in a bizarre fashion. While taking a picture of a local fair, she came across our local politician (a Conservative who shall remain nameless) and a UK children's TV presenter (Andy Crane). The politician was playing a game which involved throwing darts at a board covered in playing cards. The TV presenter was having his picture taken with a kid by my mum.

The politician threw all three darts at the cards, and missed with every throw. Turning around, annoyed, he spied my mum and stormed over. Grabbing her by the lapels and shaking her (mistaking her for the paparazzi) he demanded.

"You'd better not have taken any pictures of me doing that!"

My mum's response was something along the lines of:-

"I'm just taking pictures of Andy here with this child. I only take pictures of happy stories."

The politician was somewhat taken aback. He retreated.

Mum told us the story when she got home. We suggested that she contact the press, but she refused to do so. You see, she didn't want to get involved in a 'nasty' story.

Now (perhaps completely unrelated) the next day, mum was offered a job. With a local newspaper. This paper had 'contacts', shall we say. Mum, naturally accepted the job. After all, it was a chance to take happy pictures and get paid.

Every now and then one of her pictures would attract the interest of the Manchester Evening News. She began to court this interest by taking the editorial team jam and bakewell tarts. This seemed to amuse them, but it also seemed to be that her pictures started to feature more prominently.

The Guardian took some interest. So did the Times Educational Supplement. 5 years or so later I found myself in the Guildhall in London at an awards ceremony.

Labour had just come to power. This particular award ceremony was one of Tony Blair's earliest engagements. He was to present the winners with their awards. I'd been invited because at the time I was living close to the capital. Mum had travelled down with other nominees from the Manchester Evening News.

The award ceremony was sponsored by Guinness (something to do with Black & White pictures I think). Now, as you may realise from last night, this is my tipple of choice. As I didn't know anyone other than mum, I drank quite a few pints...

Soon the presentation ceremony was under way. Mum was up for three awards. Each nominee was to receive a glass decanter, which meant that mum was going to at least walk away with three pieces of glassware.

In great pomp & circumstance the PM arrived. Lots of flashbulbs went off (well it was a Press Awards Ceremony). The evening got to Best Regional Black & White Picture.

My mum won it.

Drunkenly, I think I jumped up and down and punched the air. It was an exhilirating moment. She collected her (third) decanter, but this one was filled with Guinness and came with a £1000 cheque.

That particular decanter was the one I ended up carrying around. Maybe I drank a bit of the contents, too. The end of the evening rolled around and I attempted to put the (now empty) decanter back in it's box. The box had a sleeve that you had to slide it into. I decided to balance the box against my belly while attempting this task. The box slipped...

There was a sound of breaking glass. I sobered up pretty quickly. The Guildhall employees looked at each other and raised an eyebrow or two. I picked up the pieces and took them to my mum.

"Erm, I'm afraid I've dropped your main award." I said. Feebly attempting to garner sympathy, I also pointed out that I'd cut my finger on the broken glass.

"It's OK," said mum. "I've got another two of them. What would I do with three crystal decanters anyway?"

Bless her.

She got another decanter the year after and a couple of years after that.
You can see some of her pictures here.

Who are you proud of?
Do you ever tell them?

1 comment(s):

What a great story! I just love stories about wonderful mothers. So far, I've only posted about my mom's last month in the hospital, I'll have to remember to post some other stories about her.

I was defintely proud of how brave she was and how hard she fought to survive. And yes I did tell her.

By Blogger Anne, at 11:19 pm  

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