My week started with tossing pancakes at Sheffield University which had organised to break the Guinness world record for collective pancake tossing. I presented a live item from The Edge - the new name for the Sheffield University student village in Endcliffe. Queues of students were given frying pans and ready made pancakes to toss in readiness (so much for the stress of fees, graduate unemployment and loans to worry about). 1200 of them turned up to have a go and we covered it live with that well known 'tosser' Ian White from BBC Look North also having a go. (no offence meant or implied - lovely guy, no really !)
Two legal cases dominated the news; One the murder of a teenager in Doncaster and Arthur Scragill in Sheffield trying to recover his phone and car allowances from the NUM in the County Court. More about those later..
This week we nailed on what devices we'd be using to pre-record material for programmes and news. We should be getting iPhones at some stage with the ability to WiFi material back to the studio, but for now we've been issued with small Yamaha digital dictation machines which I was sceptical about at first but have got used to. They aren't a patch on the versaility of the Eten recorders we've been using because we can't send material back to the studio from them, but the sound quality is good and so far they're ok. I went out to Maplins and bought some mini-mic shields and they at least look the part, apart from feeling like a dick at major police and other press conferences looking like something out Ugly Betty when you pull it out and feeling self-conscious amidst a sea of expensive media technology. Ah well Cest La vie it'll be reight enuff as we say up North !
The major news story of the week was the death on tuesday of a teenager who'd been stabbed in a park in Doncaster. 13 year old Casey Kearney was stabbed in Elmfield Park in Doncaster at around 1.18pm. She called 999 herself and said I've been stabbed and was found by passers-by who tried to help. I interviewed the man John Willis a local tennis coach who was in the park with his kids. He was very emotional and left flowers and a card at a local floral shrine that's been started at the memorial in the park.
A 26 year old woman was charged with her muder at Donny magistares court on Wednesday. I was sat on the press bench with the national Sky, BBC, ITN and other journalists waiting to see her come up from the cells covering her committal hearing. She appeared in ablue tee shirt with tatoos and nodded at her name and date of birth and spoke only to confirm her address. Magistrates committed her to Sheffield Crown Court for plea next Thursday. Covering this case standing yards from where Casey was killed and talking to locals is not an easy job but it has to be done. I had a near punch up with a rude man from Sky news who just rushed up to me talking to John Willis whilst he was putting his flowers down and shouted ' SKY News can we gate your name and shoved a camera and mic in his face'.
National reporters can be over aggressive when they think they're losing an exclusive. John just walked over the the radio sheffield van with me and told me his story about how he tried to comfort Casey as she lay dying in the park, all very emotional and its affected him greatly. My colleague Katherine Cowan has also done a sterling job bringing us daily details of the case, but Casey was named on my shift and I saw the accused's face in court (NB: There were other details which we cannot report at this stage for legal reasons, but which will emerge at the trial).
Top and bottom is that a very loving family and friends have lost someone dear to them in the prime of life and they are overwraught with grief ! Not an easy task for a reporter in the middle of that. When the police came to do their press conference at the park gates I got more aggro from the camera operators for being in their shot with my 'ugly betty' recorder and the back of my bald head!
The other big case in the news this week is Arthur Scragill whose taking the NUM to county court because he says they renaged on a deal to pay him his home phone and mobile telephone costs and a car allowance when he was Hon President of the NUM up to December 2011. This is Court 9 at Sheffield Combined Court Centre - a piece of pure theater in my book - I would have paid for tickets to see. The most recognisable and formidable trade union leader of my generation taking the NUm to pieces over expenses allegedly owed to him. He's after £14k for his new car and the other costs. He had the poshest QC you could imagine while the NUM Trustee reps put their foot in their mouths every time they opened it. They didn't even know they were employing him under a contract drawn up in 2002 when he stepped down as full-time president, until May 2009 Ha this was farcical to say the least. The judgement is on Tuesday and if Scargill doesn't win I'll eat my cycling shorts !
Finally my Saturday Sat Van (Verve) Breakfast shift took me to Barnsley to meet a great young man with acute lymphoblatic leaukemia and his mum. Lucas Sutheren aged 12 from Gawber in Barnsley is walking 4 miles with Sir Ian Beefy Botham on the 12th April
to help raise money for Leukemia research. Beefy has called Lucas one of his heroes and he really was chatty, intelleigent, grown up and brave and his mum Jill was lovely. Cor ! They don't half make tea like sump oil in Barnsley but it was passable with one sugar !
Any way you can find out more about Lucas and how you can help him at www.justgiving.com/lucas-sutheren
On then to the Tropical Butterfly House and Falconry Centre at North Anston in Rotherham. A hilarious encounter with Jasper the parrot and Vernon the Vulture and the lovely Heather Scott who all came on air with me with hilarious results: Have a listen at http://soundcloud.com/andykershaw/bbc-kershaw-at-the-tropical
My week over I relaxed watching a great win for the newly WBC Superbantamweight champion from Sheffield 'Kid' Ala-Awad Gallahad. He beat Jason Booth at Magna in Rotherham in front of a large crowd. Great technique from Brendan Ingles stable of fighters just like NAZ in my book. Also caught up on Braquo and 'Being Human'
We've finally managed to nail on where three pals and I are cycling to this year. We've decided to cycle from Newcastle to Edinburgh and then onto Perth and beyond. This year we re cycling in May and I'm raising a bit of cash for St Wilfrid's Centre for the Homeless and Vulnerable in Sheffield. Please help if you can: http://www.justgiving.com/AndyKershaw01
It was my son Justin's birthday this week and Carol and I took him out for a meal at the remarkably transformed and former student pit pub The Broadfield which has become a bookable gastro pub overnight - unbeleivebaly nice grub and then on to the Crucible for a dire show called 'The Way of The World' which we found very disappointing and tedious. Walked out at half time interval and went home..New Years resolution - don't sit through a pile of pooh if you don't have to. See you next week.