Athena Awards 2011

Jackie Freeborn with her award

An inspirational Swinton woman has scooped the top honour in the Rotherham arm of a global leadership awards programme.

Jackie Freeborn, Chief Executive of Business & Education South Yorkshire, is the recipient of this year’s Rotherham Athena Award, which recognises the achievements of women from all walks of life who are fulfilling leadership roles and supporting other women to do the same.

Jackie picked up her award at a ceremony which was also attended by 16 other nominees, who all joined the Athena Roll of Honour in recognition of their significant contribution to improving the quality of life in Rotherham.

In addition to this year’s winner, the judges also selected two Highly Commended Honourees – Sue Barratt and Janet Wheatley – whose contributions were felt to be worthy of special mention.

Sue Barratt, is Managing Director of GROW (Giving Real Opportunities to Women) in Rotherham. She received two separate nominations. Janet Wheatley has been Chief Executive of Voluntary Action Rotherham since 2003.

Rotherham is the only place in the UK to be affiliated to the Athena International Programme, the main aim of which is to secure a balance in leadership worldwide. It began life in the United States in the early 1980s and now extends across the world.

The license for the Rotherham Athena Award 2011 is held by Rotherham Borough Council, on behalf of Rotherham Partnership, which brings together representatives from the public, private, voluntary and community sectors to address local issues and improve life for local residents.

The judging panel comprised Brian Chapple, Chair of Rotherham Partnership; Joanna Jones, Rotherham Women’s Network Co-ordinator; Jessica Zeun, Chair of Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber’s Women in Business Group, and Joyce Thacker, Rotherham Borough Council’s Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services.

Jackie’s nomination described her as: “a role model for other women, unconsciously, by just being determined, passionate, working hard, not giving up and generally having a positive outlook on life… She leads by example and has throughout her working and personal life supported many individual women to progress in their career, to manage work/life balance, and to believe in themselves…She has earned her reputation as a leader and this in itself has inspired so many others to challenge things… She has the gift of instilling enthusiasm in everyone she meets, sharing her wisdom in abundance and achieving tangible results.”

A former Area Manager and Deputy Regional Director of Business in the Community, Jackie  took on her current role with Business & Education South Yorkshire in 2007.

Jackie and her team work with more than 8,000 businesses to provide young people across South Yorkshire with inspiring opportunities to enable them to understand and experience the world of work – equating to around 6,000 opportunities for young people in Rotherham each year.

Jackie is also the Director of Dearne Valley Youth Achievement Foundation; a regional representative on the Young People’s Enterprise Forum; a member of the Aged 14 – 19 Strategic Group in Rotherham, and a designate representative for Friends of the Cutlers Company in Sheffield.

Sponsorship for this year’s awards came from the Local Strategic Partnership and a number of its member organisations, including the Council, NHS Rotherham and the Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce.

Commercial sponsors included Morrison, a contractor with 2010 Rotherham Limited, Rotherham’s arms length housing management organisation; charity and training organisation Morthyng Group Limited; publishing company Garnett Dickinson and the Maltby-based Gillian Banks Theatre School.



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The Selby Rail Crash………..a photographers view!

RAF Sea King helicopters land at the crash site

It is almost 10 years ago (28th February 2001) that the Selby rail crash occurred at Great Heck, North Yorkshire. 10 people were killed whilst 82 suffered serious injuries.


The crash occurred in the early morning of the 28th after a Land Rover Defender towing a trailer swerved off the M62 motorway, down an embankment on to the East Coast Main Line coming to rest on the south bound railway track. The driver, Gary Hart, walked free from the accident but whilst making a mobile phone call to the emergency services watched as the Land Rover was hit by a southbound GNER Intercity 225 train travelling at 120 mph.

The leading bogie of the train derailed and the train stayed upright but points to a nearby sidings deflected it onto the path of an oncoming Freightliner freight train. The two trains collided resulting in the near destruction of the freight train and causing severe damage to the 225 and its coaches which overturned and came to rest down an embankment to the side of the track.

The Day….

Emergency Services search the mangled wreckage

I received a call at around 7am on that morning from John Edwards, the Picture Editor of The Sun newspaper, despatching me to Great Heck, very little was known about the incident at that point other than it involved a train. Whilst loading the car I took a second call from the ‘picture desk’ telling me to abandon the scene but to travel a short way from Doncaster up the A1 to Thorpe Audlin where the paper had chartered an helicopter from aerial filming specialists Heliscott. It was probably at this point that I realised that this was a major story unfolding!

The weather that morning was very grey with a little sleet falling, the flight from Heliscott’s base took about 20 mins giving me enough time to prep my camera’s and make sure I was going to get a clear view through the small opening window of the helicopter. As we approached the site the pilot was immediately ordered to leave the area as an ‘air exclusion zone’ had been set up, 2 RAF Sea King helicopters had already flown close by! We were able to make one wide pass of the site giving me some time to get a selection of images.

Once back at base I was able to file my images back to The Sun’s picture desk before making my way to the scene.

Carnage at the crash site

I have to say the scene from the air was a little surreal, like a child’s Hornby train set scattered on a green mat, it wasn’t until I arrived at Great Heck that I was able to take in the full scale of the disaster. By this time the emergency services were in full swing, ambulance and police were carrying out their duties and fire and rescue personnel were searching the wreckage for casualties. I spent another hour or so recording these scenes with the ever increasing number of media colleagues before ‘hooking up’ with The Sun reporter Martyn Sharpe.

View looking south down the East Coast main line

By mid morning The Sun’s news desk had received  a ‘tip off’ about the possible identity of the Land Rover driver and Martyn and I were immediately sent from the scene to a small village in Lincolnshire to try and speak with family and friends of Hart and to hopefully get the all important ‘collect’ picture of him. By early evening we’d managed to succeed in our work with remaining copy and pictures filed to the relevant desks.

Our photography and reporting of the incident made the paper’s front page, along with a double page spread of the scene from the air. Many other national papers also ran the images.


This incident happened during the early day’s of digital photography. I had bought a Kodak DCS 520, a professional digital SLR developed with Canon and based on their flagship EOS 1n film camera, 12 month’s before which offered 2 million pixels at a cost of £5,300!

The small pixel count on the camera meant I still shot the majority of my commercial and PR work on film using the ‘520’ solely for ‘deadline’ work with the newspapers. Alongside the camera I used an Apple G3 laptop with Photoshop for picture editing, transmitting my images with a Nokia mobile phone. Were all used to mobile broadband these day’s and the ‘high speed’ connections that come with it, the Nokia offered data transmission at 9600kbs or 28.8kbs with a fancy ‘modem string’ typed into the software, images took an age to send! All of it ‘cutting edge’ for it’s time!

A gallery of images can be viewed from this link, please note all these can be licensed for editorial or commercial use by using the buy button on the site. Enquiries to,



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The Duchess of Cornwall Opens New Hospital Wards

The Duchess of Cornwall

The Duchess of Cornwall has officially opened three new wards at Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

During her visit on Friday she toured the new facilities at the Calow based hospital meeting staff and chatting to patients before pulling a cord to unveil a plaque marking the opening of the £12 million pound Hasland, Elmton and Ridgeway wards.

Whilst giving a short speech after her tour the Duchess commented on the “lovely atmosphere, feeling of welcome and patient care” the hospital gave describing the facility as a ‘wonderful place’

The Hasland, Elmton and Ridgeway Wards are the trust’s largest development since it gained foundation status in 2005

The Duchess chats to patients.



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National Apprentice Week

Bramall Construction Manager Pete Varley and apprentice Ben Hawkes

Bramall Construction manager went back to the floor today to mark National Apprenticeship Week.

Pete Varley, who started his career as a joiner at the age of 15, spent the day on site in Kettlethorpe, Wakefield, as part of the week-long event, which runs from 7-11th February.

He went back to his original trade skill to carry out refurbishment work on a semi-detached property, owned and managed by Wakefield and District Housing.

Construction Manager Pete worked alongside Bramall’s trainee joiner Ben Hawkes during his ‘back to the floor’ day.

He said: I was keen to take part in our back to the floor scheme and work alongside one of our new apprentices.  I think it’s important to keep in touch with what’s happening on site and I also wanted to compare my own experiences with those of Ben’s.  Things might have changed since 1965 but I’m glad Bramall are still giving people the opportunity to gain a career in construction.

Pete began his career as an apprentice joiner in 1965 at JW Anson and Sons, in Sheffield. He went on to work at Gleesons as a fully qualified joiner and progressed to the role of site manager.

He started working for Bramall in 1982, relocating to work in London and the Home Counties with Bramall Construction Southern.  He had a break from the company for six years whilst to work for himself, retuning to Bramall in 1995 where he has worked as a projects manager, contracts manager and is now a construction manager.

Pete has worked on a number of high profile schemes for Bramall to help bring housing up to the Government’s Decent Homes standard. He has worked with housing associations and Arm’s Length Management Organisations across Yorkshire and the East Midlands and is currently working with Wakefield and District Housing

Bramall part of the Keepmoat Group, currently has 45 apprentices working across its sites in Yorkshire and the East Midlands and is in the process of recruiting more.

It is proud to have bolstered trade skills across Yorkshire and has trained over 200 apprentices over the past five years helping them to secure a raft of qualifications.



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Bensons Hits The Bulls-Eye with Gary Anderson

Gary Anderson

Leading bed retailer, Bensons for Beds, has hit the bulls-eye with its sponsorship of British world-class dart player Gary Anderson.

Gary ‘The Flying Scotsman’ Anderson was runner-up at the 2011 PDC World Championship and the Players Championship Finals which has taken him up to 3rd place in the Professional Darts Corporation ranking list.

Having joined the PDC in 2009, Gary won one Players Championship in his rookie year, and four in 2010, along with an appearance in the finals of the UK Open. Bensons is backing the player with a five-figure, 12 month sponsorship deal.

The Doncaster store staff with Gary

“Darts attracts a family audience on the TV and is growing in popularity every year with the 2011 PDC World Championship getting a viewership of 920,000, which is a rise of 32,000 people on last year”, said Mike Roberts, finance director of Bensons, and himself a PDC player. “Bensons is proud to be sponsoring a successful British player in very a competitive sport that has such a large and loyal fan base”.

Anderson will wear Bensons for Beds shirt patches on TV and non-TV events, exhibitions and personal appearances. The deal follows the success of last year’s sponsorship by Bensons of Colin ‘Jaws’ Lloyd, Colin ‘Ozzy’ Osborne and Andy ‘The Hammer’ Hamilton.

Gary’s next tournament will see him play in the Premier League 2011 at the O2, London. Anderson will be making his debut at this competition, which will be shown on Sky Sports starting on 10 February 2011.



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Come On United! England Captain helps King Ecgbert School on the road to Wembley

Faye White, Arsenal and England Ladies Football Captain

With the npower Football League U13 Girls Cup North Regional Finals just around the corner, team members of King Ecgbert School will be bending it even better than Beckham after a surprise coaching session from England captain Faye White.

Competing against Middlesbrough, Stockport County and Walsall and in the North Regional Final to be held at Huddersfield on 9th February, Faye will try to coach King Ecgbert School to victory with her experienced words of wisdom.

A defensive rock and Arsenal Ladies Football captain, Faye is a role model to all female footballers and knows exactly what it takes to succeed having won twenty-two illustrious trophies and achieved 84 international caps for her country.

Faye White pictured with girls captain Daisy Hope and trophy.

Representing Sheffield United, King Ecgbert School is one of the last eight teams vying for a place in the Grand Final which is due to be played prior to the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 3rd April.

Faye White, Arsenal and England Ladies Football Captain, commented: ‘It’s great to be supporting grassroots football and an absolute privilege to be working alongside these extremely talented young girls. The npower Football League U13 Girls Cup really champions the future of women’s football and the opportunity to play in front of a huge crowd at Wembley Stadium is an absolute dream for any footballer.’

Faye White puts the girls through their paces.

Clare McDougall, head of community & education at npower, said; ‘Faye is one of the world’s finest women’s footballers and an inspiration for all young girls. With a wealth of experience and a personal trophy cabinet to match, we believe she can help coach King Ecgbert School on their road to Wembley and motivate these fine young players to become the country’s future talent.’

Sponsored by npower, The npower Football League Girls Cup is a national six-a-side tournament for U13 girls. One of 72 teams participating in the competition, King Ecgbert School won the right to represent Sheffield United, progressing through to the Regional Final, after beating other rival schools in the Local Club and Area Finals stage of the knockout competition.

The 09/10 season saw more than 2,500 schools take part in The npower Football League junior tournaments with a school representing Crystal Palace being crowned champions and lifting The npower Football League U13 Girls Cup.



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