Saturday, 11 February 2012

Saturday Verve Van Man

The verve is a small van with a satellite dish where we arrive at a location, push the button and then hope it finds the cheap satellite somewhere over Brazil which the BBC has invested in. Today, the verve caused me endless problems and we were only in Thursncoe, South Yoprkshire to visit a local youth project which is getting £30k a year from BBC Children in Need. Several attempts at getting a signal failed and I had to resort to a trusty old 3G back up kit. £50k wasted in my book. Still its only a pilot and we have to log all faults and problems in a green book nicely drawn up by the Assistant Editor (MW).

It was great seeing Ian Ball the leader of the club whom I fist met 26 years ago as a young welfare rights worker in the Dearne Valley of South Yorkshire where I was based for 6 years from 1987 to 1993. Ian then was a slim, dynamic young volunteer and now (the same age as me) has broadened as we all have and sadly told me he'd had cancer and had just lost his wife to cancer. It was remarkable how he managed to get a dozen of those kids aged between 8 & 17 oyears out of bed for a couple of minutes on air with Radio Sheffield. They are taking 10 of them down to Parliament and Downing Street next week and to visit other youth projects in Barnsley's Olympic partner Newham. Great stuff !

Onto the Doncaster Racecouse ,for similar verve problems, at the Festival of Railway Modelling. A vast exhibition space where every inch is covered in 80 trade and enthusiast's stand and 30 model railaways of every size, shape and variety. 6,000 people are expected this weekend and they were queueing 4 deep at 0830 as I got there. John Medley from the Doncaster Railway Modellers was a great sport and interviewee (not tempted to call him and anorak or a geek at all!) he was lovely and he and his team are strewarding this popular event this weekend. I had a go on a model railway and its was sublime!

Onward to the last but one job at the Doncaster Minster to meet the lovely new Bishop of Doncaster Peter Burrows and his Archdeacon Steve Wilcockson for their civic ceremony of welcome to the town (should be a city but we won't go there!).  Steve was late for his his robing and for my interview but he squeezed me in before the Mayor and the County Lord Lieutenant arrived and other bigwigs. Steve and his family has moved from Merseyside to Doncaster to take up the post (should be good enough grounding for Donny then!)

I'm always surprise at how jolly and friendly the clergy are these days, no ego or the big 'I am ' about them and Steve offered to stay in touch. The Minster (The Minister Church of St. George)  is a magnificant Church in the middle of Doncaster right next door to the Frenchgate centre. that other temple of mammon.

My last job before heading back to the studio in Sheffield is  to call in on the end of the three month occupation of Sheffield Cathedral by the anti-capitalist protresors who have adorned the forecourt since November 5th.  I managed to record the dismantling of the Occupy camp in the face of £100k legal action by the church authorites and get lots of sound effects as they threw pallets and poles around for BBC sfx purposes.

Deacon Dave a well known 'clergy' member, activist and protestor in the city gave the eulogy of good bye to the camp which is taking up occupation in the derelecit former Salvation Army Building on Cross Burgess Street in the middle of Sheffield. The camp has been a rag bag collection of people who collectively spoke up against bankers greed and white collar tax dodgers at a time of austerity, massive redundancies in local councils and swingeing central government cuts. They had a point and they made it and whether you like it or not that's what democracy is about.

A local radio reporters reward for all this effeort is a gian brown bun filled with bacon, eggs and sausage and large mug of tea...and thus back to the studio to edit material for tomorrow's news.

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