West Lothian Courier Obituaries

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Police warning on courier card scam

14 June 2014 13:19:19 BBC News - UK

Police in Somerset issue a warning about "courier fraud", involving people being persuaded to hand over bank cards to criminals.

Vice All News Time14 June 2014 13:19:19


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Police warning on courier card scam

09 June 2014 07:07:09 BBC News - UK

Police are warning about so-called courier fraud, involving people being persuaded to hand over their bank cards to criminals.

Vice All News Time09 June 2014 07:07:09


Man dies following three-car crash

28 March 2014 08:04:36 BBC News - UK

A 41-year-old man dies following a three-car crash on the A71 between Polbeth and West Calder in West Lothian.

Vice All News Time28 March 2014 08:04:36


Britain's 'fattest man' who weighed 66 stone dies of suspected heart attack aged 22

23 March 2014 18:44:12 mirror - News

Despite the efforts of paramedics, Liam Johnston died in his West Lothian home

Vice All News Time23 March 2014 18:44:12


Obituary: Christopher Chataway

20 January 2014 03:35:24 BBC News - UK

Obituary of Sir Chris Chataway who died today

Vice All News Time20 January 2014 03:35:24


Children used as drugs couriers

10 January 2014 16:50:41 BBC News - UK

Children as young as 13 are being employed by London gangs to sell drugs in Kent, it emerges.

Vice All News Time10 January 2014 16:50:41


Courier jailed for huge drugs haul

09 January 2014 12:06:34 BBC News - UK

A courier from Dundee who was caught with drugs worth hundreds of thousands of pounds is jailed.

Vice All News Time09 January 2014 12:06:34


Man and children rescued from fire

23 November 2013 17:34:19 BBC News - UK

A man and two young children are rescued by firefighters from a smoke-filled flat in Linlithgow, West Lothian.

Vice All News Time23 November 2013 17:34:19


Man jailed for life for OAP murder

11 October 2013 12:19:32 BBC News - UK

A man who murdered pensioner Ronnie Simpson in his own home in Armadale, West Lothian, is jailed for life.

Vice All News Time11 October 2013 12:19:32


'Courier fraud' victims lose £3m

06 October 2013 01:40:21 BBC News - UK

New figures suggest more than 2,000 people in London have been targeted in a courier scam.

Vice All News Time06 October 2013 01:40:21


Man guilty of murdering pensioner

19 September 2013 13:07:47 BBC News - UK

A man who killed a pensioner in his own home in West Lothian is found guilty.

Vice All News Time19 September 2013 13:07:47


'Courier fraud': The con that tricks pensioners into handing over their life savings

21 August 2013 11:24:07 News | Mail Online

Thousands of elderly and vulnerable savers were cheated of a total of £10million last year through a vile telephone scam known as 'courier fraud'.

Vice All News Time21 August 2013 11:24:07


West Lothian hit by new jobs blow

26 July 2013 15:26:26 BBC News - UK

Crisp producer Highlander Snacks is set to close its factory in Bathgate, in a fresh jobs blow for West Lothian.

Vice All News Time26 July 2013 15:26:26


Mel Smith obituary

22 July 2013 04:08:27 Film | theguardian.com

Comedian, actor, writer and director who came to prominence in satirical TV sketch show Not the Nine O'Clock News Mel Smith was once upstaged by a talking gorilla . He was playing a zoologist in a sketch on his hit comedy show Not the Nine O'Clock News and the gorilla suit contained Rowan Atkinson . "When I caught Gerald in 68 he was completely wild," said Smith. "Wild?" retorted the gorilla. "I was absolutely livid!" If the gorilla had the best line, Smith had the more expressive countenance, mugging with a deadpan virtuosity rarely seen since Oliver Hardy in his pomp. That face – as hangdog as his childhood hero Tony Hancock's – made Smith, who has died of a heart attack aged 60, one of the most recognisable of postwar British comedians. Smith's face was only part of his fortune. He was a writer and editor of some of the most redoubtable British TV comedies of the 1980s and 90s. He directed films including The Tall Guy (1989), with Jeff Goldblum and Emma Thompson , and the box-office hit Bean (1997), an adaptation of Atkinson's TV series. As co-founder, with Griff Rhys Jones, of Talkback Productions, he was a TV producer responsible for innovative comedy series including Smack the Pony , Da Ali G Show and I'm Alan Partridge . As an actor, he played a string of well-received roles, but perhaps none more effectively than Winston Churchill , opposite Michael Fassbender as the IRA leader Michael Collins, in Mary Kenny 's play Allegiance at the Edinburgh festival in 2006. Smith was born in Chiswick, west London. His parents, Kenneth and Vera, ran the area's first betting shop. After studying at Latymer upper school in Hammersmith he went to New College, Oxford, where he studied experimental psychology, while many of his 80s TV contemporaries – Rhys Jones, Thompson, Stephen Fry , Hugh Laurie – were finessing their skills in the well-established comedy nursery of  Cambridge Footlights . As a member of the Oxford University Dramatic Society, Smith honed his theatrical and comedy prowess with a production of The Tempest in Oxford and shows at the Edinburgh fringe. After graduation he worked in 1973 at the Royal Court theatre in London, as assistant director, and at the Bristol Old Vic , before becoming assistant director at the Sheffield Crucible in 1975. At one stage, he thought of ditching theatre to become a bookmaker in his family's shop. His breakthrough came when he and the producer and comedy writer John Lloyd collaborated on Not the Nine O'Clock News for BBC TV. The sketch show, which ran for four series from 1979 to 1982, starred Smith alongside Pamela Stephenson (now Pamela Stephenson Connolly ), Atkinson, Rhys Jones and Chris Langham. Conceived originally as a topical news-based satire, it was broadcast at 9pm weekly on BBC2 against the actual nine o'clock news over on BBC1. The series was a child of Margaret Thatcher 's recent electoral triumph: in one sketch, a mock Conservative party political broadcast , Smith stripped to his pants and climbed into an overflowing bath to clinch the point made by the snooty party hack in a voiceover (performed by Atkinson) that under Labour, British industry had become flabby. It concluded with Atkinson attacking Smith with a chainsaw to cut off his arms and legs, so he could be leaner and better able to compete in the global marketplace. But the show was not merely political (the lorry-driver-indicting I Like Trucking song proves that point). Rather, as the pop-culture historian Mark Lewisohn has argued, Smith's first TV success "largely created modern alternative comedy". Smith found himself suddenly famous. "One minute you're doing a TV show that no one is watching, and then everyone is. That was the biggest change in direction," he told the Guardian in 2007 . He resented the resultant intrusion into his private life, though in the same interview noted that Not the Nine O'Clock News was no longer fashionable: "I have a feeling that we are regarded as being out of fashion, but that doesn't bother me a great deal … That's the story of the world." In 1981, Smith and Rhys Jones founded Talkback, which they sold to Pearson in 2000 for £62m. "Talkback gave me the confidence to direct, so it was a short leap to the cinema," he said. His first film, The Tall Guy, was also Thompson's movie debut. Bean, made for a budget of $18m, took about $250m at the box office worldwide. In between those two films he directed Radioland Murders (1994) under the guidance of Star Wars' creator George Lucas. "The film was a disaster," recalled Smith. "George doesn't understand comedy, so the movie flopped." Smith, though, did understand comedy – at least, British TV comedy. As Lloyd said: "Mel did an extraordinary thing – he taught us all how to make comedy natural." After Not the Nine O'Clock News, Smith and Rhys Jones became a renowned double act. The pairing resembled Abbott and Costello , with the twist that it was not clear

Vice All News Time22 July 2013 04:08:27


Paul Bhattacharjee obituary

19 July 2013 04:07:43 Film | theguardian.com

Elegant and meticulous actor whose roles ranged from Shakespeare to EastEnders Paul Bhattacharjee, who has been found dead aged 53, was one of the country's leading British Asian actors, a key member of Jatinder Verma's Tara Arts , a regular at the Royal Shakespeare Company – he was last seen in the West End last year, playing Benedick opposite Meera Syal in the RSC's Much Ado About Nothing – and a popular television and film actor whose roles included Inzamam in the BBC soap EastEnders, an immigration officer called Mohammed in Stephen Frears's Dirty Pretty Things (2002) and parts in the Bond movie Casino Royale (2006) and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011). He was tall, slim and naturally funny, always meticulous in his movement and perfect in his articulation. He reminded me of an elegant bird – a heron, perhaps, or a flamingo. His eyes twinkled as much as they burned. He slowed things down, rather than speeded them up, but his slowness and deliberation were always an exemplary demonstration of good timing and manners as a performer. In the mid-1970s, he was the go-to actor for Asian parts in new plays in the Royal Court 's Theatre Upstairs, and it was always a guarantee of an element of class and distinction in the show that night if his name was on the bill. Bhattacharjee was last seen on 10 July leaving a rehearsal for a new play in the same building in Sloane Square, London, part of the new artistic director Vicky Featherstone's Open Court weekly rep season in which he had already played the president of Georgia. His body was found two days later in East Sussex He was the only son of Gautam Bhattacharjee, a software researcher who was a member of the Communist party in India and was forced to leave the country after his part in the naval mutiny of 1942. In Britain, Gautam met Anne, who was herself from a migrant family of Russian Jews, and their son, Paul, was educated at state schools in Harrow, Middlesex. In his teens, Paul was involved in anti-racist campaigns in London and met Verma, who became his great friend and mentor, in workshops they both attended in Southall. Verma recognised from the start a fellow spirit whose highly developed social conscience was linked to a remarkable artistic imagination. Tara Arts, Britain's first Asian theatre company, was formed by Verma in 1977 and Bhattacharjee was an actor and director with them over the next 10 years, notably in Yes, Memsahib (1979), which documented the formation of modern east Africa by colonial Indian "coolie" labour; Diwali (1980), which he directed, an epic story set against the annual festival of lights; Meet Me (1983), which highlighted mental illness in the Asian community; and The Little Clay Cart (1984), a delightful adaptation by Verma of an eighth-century classic as a fable on poverty and revolution. One of his most crucial roles was that of Gandhi in a play Verma wrote, and Anthony Clark directed, for the Edinburgh festival fringe in 1982. Gandhi emerged in this play as the first modern Asian, Verma said, in the way we understand such a definition. The impression this experience made on Bhattacharjee never left him and informed his entire subsequent career. He showed up tellingly in Murmuring Judges, the second of David Hare's "state of the nation" trilogy, at the National Theatre in 1991, but gravitated more naturally towards the RSC, where he played leading roles in John Marston's The Malcontent, the disputed Shakespearean history Edward III and Philip Massinger's The Roman Actor in the Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon, season of 2002 which Thelma Holt and Bill Kenwright later presented in the West End . In the next two years he gave major leading performances as the dyspeptic, limping paterfamilias in a brilliant 2003 Young Vic revival of Harold Brighouse's Hobson's Choice , relocated to modern day Salford by Tanika Gupta and director Richard Jones, and as a very funny Malvolio in a 2004 West End Twelfth Night set in Kerala in southern India. But perhaps his most unusual and remarkable performance was in Complicite's ensemble production, directed by Simon McBurney, of A Disappearing Number (2007), in which the mystery of maths at the highest level turned out to be a thing of real beauty. The hinge of the dramatic dissertation was the friendship, around the time of the first world war, between the Cambridge mathematician GH Hardy, who believed that mathematicians were only makers of patterns, like poets and painters, and the Brahmin vegetarian autodidact Srinivasa Ramanujan. The air of magical contrivance was sustained by encasing this friendship in the expositions of a narrator physicist – played by Bhattacharjee – and a Hardy disciple many years later. Having toured with this highly acclaimed production to festivals in Vienna and Amsterdam, in 2008 he plunged into two years of EastEnders, before returning to the RSC in Dominic Cooke's Arabian Nights (2009) and the Much Ado with Syal which, in its modern Mumbai setting and gorgeous colouring, was an update, perhaps, on the famous 1976 RSC production (Judi Dench and Donald Sinden) set in the last days of the Indian Raj. In the past decade he had appeared regularly, also, at the Tricycle theatre in Kilburn in Nicolas Kent's series of verbatim documentary dramas, notably as Moazzam Begg, one of the detainees of the US military in Guantanamo (2004), and in The Great Game: Afghanistan (2009) cycle of short plays and the two-part meditation on the nuclear threat, The Bomb (2012). He came full circle to the Royal Court, even before the current season, with their first "off-piste" season in Peckham in late 2011, playing a surly, hangdog shopkeeper on a Battersea housing estate in Rachel De-lahay's lively debut play, The Westbridge. He was a break-through actor par excellence, associated with many innovations and adventures in our theatre, and fondly remembered for his television appearances, not only in EastEnders, but in many other shows including Spooks (2004-08) and The Bill (1992-2004). He was divorced and is survived by hi

Vice All News Time19 July 2013 04:07:43


Snoo Wilson obituary

05 July 2013 20:06:31 Film | theguardian.com

Playwright whose anarchic works were filled with vividly imagined characters Snoo Wilson, who has died suddenly aged 64, was in the vanguard of the young playwrights revolutionising British theatre in the two decades after 1968, but Snoo was a very different kettle of fish to the others. While David Edgar, Howard Brenton and David Hare were often overtly political, Snoo was a Marxist " tendance Groucho"; more subtly subversive and humorous. Sometimes the surface frivolity of his work made people think he wasn't serious, but he was always trying to mine under the surface of things, to allow the subconscious to drive his imagination. Snoo used fiercely imagined characters in comic and often savage works that nevertheless, in the best plays, demonstrated an insouciant knowledge of dramatic structure. He was not a believer in naturalism. Throughout his career Snoo refused to accept that mere reality was all there was – if so, it was too sad and he refused to believe it. He encouraged audiences to go on a rollercoaster ride into the beyond, albeit with engaging and recognisable characters. It was not whimsy. He was a one-off, quite unlike any other dramatist. He was born Andrew James Wilson in Reading – Snoo was a childhood nickname – and was educated at Bradfield college, Berkshire, where his father was a teacher and where Snoo obtained a glider pilot's licence. His mother was the headteacher of nearby Downe House. Snoo went on to the University of East Anglia to read American studies under Malcolm Bradbury and graduated in 1969. In 1968 he was a founder member, with Hare and Tony Bicât, of Portable Theatre. In Pignight (1971), toured by Portable Theatre and directed by Snoo, a paranoid East End gangster and his prostitute girlfriend are sent to guard a battery pig farm inhabited by the ghosts of its former tenants, and are visited, with fatal consequences, by a German prisoner of war/farm worker who has escaped from a local asylum. It is a vivid and emetic portrait of rural change and urban corruption. Lighter and hilarious, The Pleasure Principle (1973), directed by Hare, was a success at the Royal Court's Theatre Upstairs and worked on the strategy of always putting a bomb, sometimes literally, under the audience's expectations. After he had worked as a script editor for the BBC's Play for Today strand, Snoo's plays The Soul of the White Ant (1976) and Vampire (1977), both of which I directed at the Bush theatre, west London, were critically praised. The former was a murkily atmospheric and hilarious Afrikaner ghost story that had the racist biologist Eugène Marais (Clive Merrison) return from the dead to offer atonement to Lynda Marchal (now Lynda La Plante) for the murder of her houseboy. The latter play took the audience from repression and violence in a 19th-century Welsh vicarage, via Freud and Jung, to punks in Kew Gardens, and made an impressive thesis of societal blood-sucking. It ended with Enoch Powell (Merrison again) emerging ghoulishly from a coffin to utter his famous "rivers of blood" speech. Snoo also wrote plays for larger stages commissioned by the major subsidised companies, though not the National Theatre. The Royal Shakespeare Company had success with his play The Beast (1974), which portrayed the magician Aleister Crowley as a fantasising and seedy hedonist. The Observer's Robert Cushman praised the "Stoppardian exhilaration" of Snoo's The Glad Hand (1978) at the Royal Court, in which a South African tycoon, played by Antony Sher, employs a troupe of actors and sails an oil tanker through the Bermuda Triangle, hoping to conjure up the antichrist and kill him in a wild west gunfight. Sher also took the main role as a clairvoyant in Philip Saville's 1985 film of Snoo's screenplay Shadey. In that year Snoo was a successful, widely published and prominent writer. His libretto for Jacques Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld, in which the character of Public Opinion was clearly modelled on Margaret Thatcher, was performed by English National Opera. But tastes in the theatre change with the political climate. Artistic directors began to look to a dour and nihilistic political theatre to reflect a more despairing zeitgeist, or to more commercial projects to keep their doors open. It was not for another 10 years that Snoo's second golden period began, back at the Bush theatre, under Jenny Topper 's management, where Simon Stokes brilliantly directed The Number of the Beast (1982), More Light (1987) and Darwin's Flood (1994). The last of these proposed, ironically of course, Darwin's worst nightmare on his deathbed: that God actually may have existed and planted the fossil evidence himself. Jesus (James Nesbitt) appeared hilariously in the guise of a cycling, wisecracking Ulsterman who seduces Mrs Darwin, before a giant ark breaks through into the back garden. Somewhere in there having fun were Darwin's appalling sister, Friedrich Nietzsche and a dominatrix Madonna – the original one, not the singer. It is a wonderfully witty play of firecracker imagination and humour. With that kind of ambition things occasionally went awry, and Snoo needed an editor and a strong and sympathetic director. He never shirked the challenge of rewriting, though many of us nearly drowned under the weight of his fecundity. Playwrights go out of fashion faster than other writers. They are dependent still on a director-led theatre that has a need for fresh reviving talent. In recent years Snoo suffered savage reviews that hurt him deeply and only demonstrated how isolated he was, going so singularly his own way. But things also come full circle and he never gave up. Snoo was busy to the end of his life. He had begun a commissioned play for the Theatre Royal in Plymouth. His play about the painter Egon Schiele, Reclining Nude with Black Stockings, was performed in 2010 at the Arcola theatre. His recently finished play Revelations is rich and personal and of the moment; it is also horribly prescient about a death that has come far too soon. There are plays still to be performed and many are still in print, waiting to be rediscovered and reworked by future generations. Snoo was a warm and generous man, a loyal friend and as wonderfully eccentric as his work. He laughed a lot, occasionally at his own jokes – a transgression that was easily forgiven. He is survived by his wife, the journalist Ann McFerran, whom he married in 1976, his daughter, Jo, and two sons, Patrick and David. • Andrew James (Snoo) Wilson, playwright, born 2 August 1948; died 3 July 2013 Theatre Royal Court Theatre Royal Shakespeare Company Television Dusty Hughes guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our

Vice All News Time05 July 2013 20:06:31


Peggy White obituary

02 July 2013 18:02:49 Politics news, UK and world political comment and analysis | theguardian.com

Peggy White, a Leeds Conservative stalwart and long-serving city councillor, has died aged 86 after suffering a stroke. Peggy was deputy lord mayor of Leeds in 1993 and became lord mayor in 1995. She was appointed CBE in 1978 for her work in social services. Born Jessie Margaret Lyth but always known as Peggy, she was educated at Harrogate college and went to work in industry in London. She returned north and in 1963 married Peter White, who became a professional Conservative agent in Leeds. Peter had the unusual distinction in 1968 of winning a city council seat on the toss of a coin, having tied with his Labour opponent in a ward considered safe for Labour. Peter always wore a rather seraphic smile when Peggy embarked on one of her regular robust defences of her political position. She had been elected the year before Peter and in 1970 became chair of the council's new social services committee. With the Conservatives dominating local government at that time, she became chair of the national organisation for municipal social services. Peggy was a member of numerous statutory and voluntary bodies in the social services and health sphere. These included the area health authority, the National Children's Bureau, the executive of the RNIB and the National Volunteer Bureau. Her opponents sometimes accused her of being tough in her attitudes to her chosen specialism, but none could gainsay her immense energy and dedication, or her personal kindliness and generosity. She was a firm Conservative loyalist and held numerous offices in the Leeds party even though, with her forthright views, she was often an inflexible colleague. She had to fight off an attempt to deselect her in her city council ward in 1990 – after 23 years on the council. She retired in 1998, having been latterly a member of the West Yorkshire Fire Authority and leader of the Conservative group on the police authority. Talking to me recently, she still held strong opinions on current issues and about political colleagues, but had mellowed enough to admit that others might think differently. She rather liked being known as a fierce political animal. Peter died in 1988. Conservatives Leeds Michael Meadowcroft guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time02 July 2013 18:02:49


John D Wilson obituary

01 July 2013 18:48:10 Film | theguardian.com

Animator and founder of Fine Arts Films whose credits include Lady and the Tramp, Petroushka and Grease The pioneering animator John David Wilson, who has died aged 93, launched his studio, Fine Arts Films , in 1955 and found success with his first short subject, an adaptation of a Japanese folk tale, Tara the Stonecutter, which was screened in America with Teinosuke Kinugasa's Oscar-winning samurai drama Jigokumon (Gate of Hell, 1953). Next came Petroushka (1956), for which Igor Stravinsky (despite negative feelings towards animation following Disney's Fantasia) was persuaded by Wilson to prepare a shortened score for the film and conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the soundtrack. Petroushka won several festival awards and was the first animated film to be accepted by the Venice film festival. Wilson's diverse productions ranged from innovative TV commercials for Instant Butter-Nut Coffee, made with the actor and humorist Stan Freberg, to a groundbreaking 15-minute film, Journey to the Stars, for the United States Science exhibit at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. The film was projected on a hemispherical 360-degree, 75ft screen and was shown more than 6,000 times before a total audience of 4.5 million people. In 1963, while working for Hanna-Barbera on The Flintstones, Wilson was commissioned by Billy Wilder to create an animated trailer for his Jack Lemmon-Shirley MacLaine film, Irma La Douce , hoping the cartoon would help sell the potentially risqué story of the prostitutes of the Rue Casanova. The result was so successful that Wilder commented that he might just as well have dumped the film and simply played the trailer. Wilson later created the animated title sequence of Grease (1978) featuring witty caricatures of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John (the latter as a pastiche of Disney's Snow White and Cinderella). It set the style for the film with a running graphic history of 50s pop culture. He was born in Wimbledon, south-west London, the second of three children of Frederick Wilson, a civil servant working for the India Office, and his wife, Esther Hunt. John was educated at Watford grammar school, where he was taught art by Sir Robin Darwin, later the rector of the Royal College of Art. Wilson pursued his art studies at Harrow School of Art and for a year at the Royal College, leaving aged 18 to take up a job as a commercial artist for Willings Press Service. Joining the Territorial Army, he had his first cartoon published in the TA magazine and at the outbreak of the second world war was called up and sent to fight in the African campaign with the London Rifle Brigade. Wilson was driving a jeep that took a direct hit from a German bomber and he lost his left leg. Hospitalised in Cairo he demonstrated a singular determination that marked out his later life, mastering crutches within nine days and drawing caricatures for fellow patients. A Christmas card designed for the hospital found its way to a printer in Durban where, following his discharge from the army, he was offered a job as a designer. After working on some controversial anti-apartheid publications, he was eventually required to leave South Africa and, returning to London, found employment with an art agency before joining the art department at Pinewood Studios, where he worked on The Thief of Bagdad (1940) and David Lean's Great Expectations (1946). In 1946, while at Pinewood, Wilson saw a recruiting flyer for Gaumont British Animation, an initiative created by J Arthur Rank to provide employment opportunities for ex-servicemen and women by establishing an animation studio in Britain with the aim of challenging the supremacy of Disney. GB Animation was based at Moor Hall, Cookham, Berkshire. The unit was run by David Hand, the animator of dozens of Disney short cartoons and supervising director of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and Bambi (1942). Hand was accompanied by a small team of former Disney animators and writers and, under their tutelage, Wilson honed his talents as an animator on the studio's Musical Paintbox films, devoted to different regions of Britain, and the Animaland series featuring such characters as the squirrels Ginger Nutt and Hazel Nutt. The financial returns on these impeccably crafted short cartoons were meagre and the initiative failed to break the US market or rival the popularity of the Disney characters. When, in 1950, GB Animation closed, Wilson headed for Los Angeles and, with recommendations from Hand and his colleagues, was soon working at the Disney studio on Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy cartoons and the features Peter Pan (1953) and Lady and the Tramp (1955). For the latter, he assisted the leading animator, Les Clark with the film's famous spaghetti-eating sequence. The pasta, Wilson said, was a challenge: though long and thin, it needed to be given weight to look convincing. Working with another Disney veteran, Ward Kimball , Wilson contributed to two "specials": the Academy Award-winning Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom (1953) and, the following year, the Oscar-nominated Pigs is Pigs. These films employed the more economic and highly stylised approach to animation established by United Productions of America (UPA), founded by disenchanted Disney animators following the damaging studio strike of 1941. Wilson also worked for UPA on their Mister Magoo series and the acclaimed animated shorts Rooty Toot Toot and The Tell-Tale Heart, and UPA's freer, more contemporary, style informed much of Wilson's later work. After launching his own productions with Fine Arts Films, Wilson contributed in the mid-60s to Exploring, NBC's award-winning educational TV show for children, and he created animated titles and weekly music videos (a decade before MTV) for the 70s CBS series The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. Among the animated songs, later collected as The Fantastic All-Electric Music Movie, was Joni Mitchell's rendition of Both Sides Now, illustrated by the revolutionary use of computer animation. In 1971 Wilson directed the animated musical feature Shinbone Alley, based on Don Marquis's stories about a poetic cockroach, archy, who writes by jumping on the keys of a typewriter (but always in lower-case because he can't manage the shift key) and mehitabel, his feline muse. The film featured the voices of Eddie Bracken and Carol Channing. Despite stunning designs, acknowledging the art of George Herriman, archy's original illustrator, the film suffered from a mismatch of adult-themed material and t

Vice All News Time01 July 2013 18:48:10


Norman MacKenzie obituary

24 June 2013 16:16:14 Politics news, UK and world political comment and analysis | theguardian.com

Educationist who helped found the Open University and writer whose books included biographies of Dickens and Wells Norman MacKenzie, who has died aged 91, was a pioneer of open learning and one of the foremost planners of the Open University (OU). He described the year that he and its first vice-chancellor, Walter Perry , spent looking for a name and a site in the late 1960s as the happiest of his life; it reminded him of 1940, when it seemed that "anything could be achieved with ideas and flair". As a New Statesman journalist and occasional intelligence agent during and after the second world war, he was adept at harnessing ingenuity to leftwing idealism. The prospect of a more satisfying outlet for his talents came with the new Sussex University: its aim was innovation, its approach interdisciplinary, and its atmosphere worldly and dynamic. Four years after its foundation in 1958, its pro vice-chancellor, Asa Briggs , recruited MacKenzie as a lecturer in sociology. Soon he formed a committee on new methods of teaching and learning, and out of this came his belief in the value of technology in education and the use of multimedia tools for expression and communication. MacKenzie did not look back. His genius was to link ideas through imagination and technology, and drive them forward by networking, often with senior Labour politicians with whom he had strong contacts. In 1966 the newly returned Labour government published a white paper, The University of the Air . MacKenzie had been active behind the scenes together with Richmond Postgate of the BBC and the education minister Jennie Lee . The following year MacKenzie joined the planning committee, and his quest with Perry resulted in the OU finding a home in the new city of Milton Keynes. In fact the setting up of an OU base was not what he had intended. His concept was more of a publishing house without bricks-and-mortar headquarters or even a full-time staff. Even so, his estimate of an annual cost of £1m was far too optimistic. He served on the first council of the university in 1969 and continued until 1976. MacKenzie was born in the Labour stronghold of Deptford, south-east London, where his father was a credit draper, selling clothes door to door. From Haberdashers' Aske's school in nearby New Cross, in 1939 he won a scholarship to the London School of Economics , where he came under the political and intellectual influence of Harold Laski . He graduated in 1943 with a first-class honours degree in government. He joined, first, the Independent Labour party and then, briefly, the Communist party. In 1940 he enlisted at the guerrilla warfare training school at Osterley Park, west London, and from there went to Sussex to join an auxiliary unit known as the Last Ditch, a clandestine organisation preparing to go underground if the Germans invaded. Invalided out of the RAF in 1943, he joined the New Statesman as assistant editor and remained on the staff for 19 years, becoming, in the words of its editor John Freeman , "the rock on which the best of the New Statesman has been founded". His special interests were sociology and communism. At the same time he continued his clandestine work, joining the Political Warfare Executive, which broadcast radio propaganda to Germany. After 1945, under the guise of a "fellow travelling" journalist, he helped dissidents get out of eastern Europe. These were shadowy cold-war assignments that later led an old schoolfriend to remark at a reunion: "I thought I saw you in chains on Bucharest railway station, but I thought I'd better not say anything." MacKenzie had indeed been caught photographing a prison camp in Romania and was on his way forcibly out of the country. A Bulgarian tipoff in advance of Nikita Khrushchev's denunciation in 1956 of Stalin's purges came to nothing when no one in London would believe it. Having joined the Labour party in 1943, MacKenzie stood as a Bevanite Labour parliamentary candidate for Hemel Hempstead in 1951 and again in 1955. In 1981 he was one of the signatories of the Limehouse declaration that began the SDP. However, he was no more a politician than he was a trained academic. He was an instigator who passed on his ideas to others and then moved on. What linked his careers was a love of writing. With his first wife, Jeanne Sampson, whom he married in 1945, he wrote The Time Traveller: The Life of HG Wells (1973) – the two men had much in common as socialist journalists fascinated by technology and sociology. Jeanne also collaborated with Norman on Dickens: A Life (1979) and The Diaries of Beatrice Webb (1982-85). His great labour of love on behalf of the Webbs was initiated with the three-volume Letters of Sidney and Beatrice Webb, published in 1978, the year that he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature . As well as biographies he wrote other non-fiction such as Socialism: A Short History (1949) and Dreams and Dreaming (1965). Then, under the pseudonym of Anthony Forrest, he wrote novels about the Napoleonic wars with Anthony Brown. At Sussex, he founded the Centre for Educational Technology in 1967, and for some years in the 1970s was director of the School of Education. He had an international reputation for curriculum planning and was an adviser to Unesco. In 1977 he was appointed professor, and six years later retired as emeritus. MacKenzie was generous and always encouraging, though his ebullient manner and rapidity of ideas could be daunting down the phone at nine in the morning. His second marriage, to Gillian Ford in 1988, two years after Jeanne died of cancer, provided many happy years in his beloved Lewes. He exhibited his watercolour landscapes; he was a devoted grandfather, particularly after the death of his first daughter; he made friends easily and his house was always open. On three occasions he taught at colleges in the US. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of all things American and admired the openness and opportunity of that country. In 1977 the OU awarded MacKenzie an honorary doctorate. The citation credited him with "the virtues of the 19th-century polymath and the visions fitted for the 21st century". He is survived by Gillian, a daughter from his first marriage and two grandchildren. • Norman Ian MacKenzie, educationist and writer,

Vice All News Time24 June 2013 16:16:14


Margaret Jackson obituary

24 June 2013 16:16:14 Politics news, UK and world political comment and analysis | theguardian.com

My friend Margaret Jackson, who has died aged 96, was the secretary to Sir Colin Gubbins, head of the Special Operations Executive, at its Baker Street headquarters, in central London, during the second world war. The clandestine sabotage force was set up on the command of Winston Churchill to "set Europe ablaze". Margaret was in charge of the team of secretaries, who had to observe tight security. She was born in St John's Wood, north-west London, and spent her childhood in Argentina, where her Scottish father was the manager of a lighting and power company in Santa Fe. Margaret was then sent to a Methodist school in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, and she graduated in modern languages from the University of London, where she was president of the women's union. Her first job was in the typing pool at BBC radio news. The work was excruciating: "If you made a mistake, you had to correct five carbon copies." She moved to the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House and followed its library to Oxford when it was evacuated at the outbreak of the war. She joined Gubbins in 1940 in Paris, where he headed the British mission set up to liaise with resistance movements run by the Polish and Czech authorities in exile. When Germany invaded France in May of that year, Margaret escaped back to London on a hospital ship carrying wounded British soldiers. Gubbins was posted to train secret units of the Home Guard in a country house in Wiltshire, in anticipation of a German invasion of Britain, with Margaret continuing as his secretary. After the war, Margaret was made an MBE. She worked for four years in Paris as a deputy secretary to the council of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (now the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ), which implemented the Marshall plan for the reconstruction of Europe. From 1960 to 1962 she worked for the British Overseas Information Service of the Commonwealth Relations Office in Melbourne, Australia, where she encountered the Moral Re-Armament movement, which was strong among the "wharfies" (port workers). She rethought her values and wrote a confessional letter of apology to her mother for not being "God's woman that she expected me to be", despite her Christian upbringing. When she was accused by a British MP of a being a "political member" of the Information Service, she was reprimanded but the matter was dropped. However, she later resigned and moved back to London. Following the "winter of discontent" of 1978-79, when public sector workers went on strike, she plunged into local politics in London. She was a Conservative councillor in the borough of Southwark, where she joined the race and equality council and was recognised for her services to ethnic minorities. Her wartime memoirs are housed at the Imperial War Museum in London. Margaret is survived by two sisters, Elisabeth (widow of Lord Roskill) and Patricia (widow of Sir Patrick Dean). A third sister predeceased her. Conservatives guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time24 June 2013 16:16:14


Pat Ashton obituary

23 June 2013 19:46:44 Film | theguardian.com

My mother Pat Ashton, who has died aged 82, was an actor for over four decades. Probably her most important TV role was that of Annie, wife of a burglar ( Bob Hoskins ) who comes out of prison to find that his old friend ( John Thaw ) has moved in, in Thick As Thieves (1974) . When Yorkshire TV declined a second series, the writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais took the idea to the BBC, where it was developed into the much-loved series Porridge . Pat was born and raised in Wood Green, north London. During her early years, the piano was the focus of entertainment at home, with her brother Richard playing all the popular songs of the day. Her grandmother had been a trapeze artist, performing in front of the tsar in Russia, and Pat quickly became fascinated with music hall, learned to tap-dance from an early age and went on to study singing with Manlio Di Veroli. After the second world war she ran "concert parties", essentially variety shows, some of which, at the Gaumont cinema in Wood Green, featured the young Barry Took . After finding an agent, Pat performed at seaside resorts around England in summer season shows. In the early 60s, trading on her singing and dancing, she toured Europe with Joan Littlewood 's Theatre Workshop in Oh! What a Lovely War . Her early West End shows included Half a Sixpence and The Match Girls, and later she appeared in Stepping Out. She also performed regularly at the Players' theatre in London. One of her first TV breaks was taking the role of Fanny Cornforth opposite Oliver Reed in Ken Russell 's Dante's Inferno (1967), a film in the Omnibus series on the life of Dante Gabriel Rossetti – this later led to a small role in Russell's 1971 film The Devils . By the 1970s other TV producers had picked up on her popular blonde, cockney persona. In fact, in 1970 she understudied Barbara Windsor in the Ned Sherrin -produced musical Sing a Rude Song, based on the life of music hall singer Marie Lloyd, and successfully took the lead role when Windsor was struck down with laryngitis. Pat took TV roles in On the Buses (1971, and appeared in two spinoff films), Both Ends Meet (1972, with Dora Bryan), Yus My Dear (1976, with Arthur Mullard), Rooms (1977), The Benny Hill Show (1972-80), The Gaffer (1981-83, with Bill Maynard) and Tripper's Day (1984, with Leonard Rossiter). Pat married Geoff Godwin in 1953; they separated in the mid-80s. For the past 15 years, she had lived in Diss, Norfolk. She is survived by her sister Jeanne, me and her grandchildren, James and Caitlin. Comedy Comedy Television Theatre Musicals guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Vice All News Time23 June 2013 19:46:44


Slim Whitman obituary

20 June 2013 00:11:35 Film | theguardian.com

Yodelling country singer best known for Rose Marie and Indian Love Call The singer Slim Whitman, who has died aged 90, was a noteworthy figure in country music, since, although he was hugely popular outside the US, for most of his career he was almost forgotten in his own country. In the 1970s, two decades after his American heyday, he still commanded enough of a following in the UK to be voted the No 1 international star in a music poll – four times. Much of the reason for his success outside the US was his high, clear, strong singing and almost operatic yodelling, characteristics that several generations in Britain, Australia and South Africa have assimilated into their notions and fantasies of the old west of America. One of Whitman's chief models was Wilf Carter, a Nova Scotian yodeller and singer of cowboy songs who was popular throughout north America in the 30s and 40s under the sobriquet Montana Slim. What set Whitman apart from both his models and contemporaries was his bold choice of material. In the age of honkytonk music and Hank Williams, his two biggest hits, Indian Love Call (1952) and Rose Marie (1954), were drawn from operetta. Bob Sullivan, a radio engineer who worked with him, described him as being like "an Irish tenor singing Sigmund Romberg. Hank Williams couldn't stand him. He used to say, 'He ain't no hillbilly'." Slim was born Otis Dewey Whitman in Tampa, Florida, and as a teenager was a promising baseball player, who returned to the game after service in the second world war. But while in the US navy, he had learned to play the guitar and then found an opening on local radio. By 1949 he was working with the long-established Texas band The Light Crust Doughboys, and in 1950 he joined the roster of the Louisiana Hayride, a widely heard barndance programme broadcast from the radio station KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana. On the recommendation of Colonel Tom Parker, who later managed Elvis Presley, but was then working for the country crooner Eddy Arnold , Whitman signed a recording contract with RCA Victor. He had some success in 1951 with Love Song of the Waterfall , a revival of a western ditty by the Sons of the Pioneers; a generation later, it would be briefly heard in Steven Spielberg's 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Then, in 1952, Whitman moved to the west coast independent label Imperial and immediately had a hit with Indian Love Call. The song, from the 1924 operetta Rose-Marie by Rudolf Friml, Oscar Hammerstein II and Otto Harbach, Indian Love Call had previously been recorded by Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald. Whitman's version not only reached No 2 in the country charts, but also appeared in the pop top 10, a feat repeated in the UK a few years later in 1955, when it spent 12 weeks in the charts. The director Tim Burton paid it a sort of tribute in his film Mars Attacks! (1996), in which Slim's recording is used as a weapon against alien invaders . "Yes," said Whitman with satisfaction in a 2008 interview, "I'm the one who killed the blasted Martians." Rose Marie, the title song from the musical, followed in 1954 and fared even better overseas. It held the No 1 position on the UK pop chart for 11 weeks (a run that would not be bettered until Bryan Adams's Everything I Do (I Do It For You) 36 years later) and earned Whitman a spot in the nation's most glittering variety showcase, at the London Palladium. It became Australia's bestselling single to that date. Another UK top 10 hit came in 1957 for I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen. His fame in America, however, soon evaporated. Though it was on a 1954 Hayride show headlined by Slim that Elvis Presley made one of his earliest live appearances in Memphis, the arrival of rock'n'roll served Whitman ill, as it did many of his fellow country artists. He continued to have records in the country charts, but they were low-placed, and after the mid-70s he made few more. Throughout the 60s and 70s he concentrated on performing for his overseas audiences, returning to semi-retirement in Middleburg, Florida. Then, in 1979, he found a new niche in the US music business as a pioneer of the TV-merchandised bestseller, when his greatest hits album All My Best racked up a million and a half direct sales. It was followed by The Best (1982), Best Loved Favorites (1989) and 20 Precious Memories (1991). A new studio album, Twilight on the Trail, came out in 2010. Jerry, his wife of 67 years, died in 2009. He is survived by his daughter, Sharon, and son, Byron, a musician who had worked with him. • Slim Whitman (Otis Dewey Whitman), country music singer, born 20 January 1923; died 19 June 2013 Country Florida Pop and rock United States Tim Burton Elvis Presley Tony Russell guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Vice All News Time20 June 2013 00:11:35


Ottmar Walter obituary

17 June 2013 16:49:03 Sport news, comment and results | theguardian.com

German footballer who was part of the 'miracle of Bern' team that beat Hungary to win the 1954 World Cup Though less celebrated than his brother Fritz , the captain of the West Germany football team that unexpectedly won the 1954 World Cup, Ottmar Walter, at centre-forward, was the ideal foil to his sibling. Of the cup's six matches, Ottmar, who has died aged 89, missed only the second in Basel: it was one that the manager, Sepp Herberger, reckoned that West Germany could afford to lose to the favourites, Hungary. Fritz took his brother's place at centre-forward, rather than figuring in his usual role of inside-left. Altogether in the tournament Walter scored three goals: one in the play-off against Turkey (thrashed 7-2), and a couple in the 6-1 defeat of the Austrians in the semi-final in Basel. Both those goals were headed in the second half – the first from Fritz's corner, the second from a right-wing cross by Hans Schäfer. The 3-2 victory over Hungary in the final – the "miracle of Bern" – marked a key moment in West Germany's emergence as a significant force in international football. Ottmar won 21 international caps and scored 10 goals in a six-year career. There would have been many more appearances but for a long spell when he was injured. Born in Kaiserslautern, in the south-west of the country, he was three years younger than Fritz; another brother, Ludwig, also became a footballer, and all three played for FC Kaiserslautern. Standing 5ft 10in (1.77m) and weighing just over 12 stone (77 kilos), Ottmar was not only dangerous in the air, but famed for the power of his shot. This was despite the three pieces of shrapnel lodged in his knees – a legacy of his second world war years in the German navy. He made his first-team debut for Kaiserslautern in 1942, but was then posted to Kiel, where in 1943 he played for the Holstein Kiel club. After the war, he resumed playing for his hometown team in 1947. He won the first of his international caps in November 1950 in Stuttgart, where Switzerland were beaten 1-0, a match that Fritz missed. They lined up alongside each other in Zurich the following April, when each scored a goal in the 3-2 defeat of Switzerland. A knee injury then put Ottmar out of contention. Not until May 1952, in Cologne, did he return to lead West Germany's international attack. This was another match that Fritz missed, but Ottmar scored in a 3-0 defeat of Ireland. Now his place in the West German attack was secure. Before the 1954 World Cup, he scored in matches against France, Switzerland, Spain and Norway. After the World Cup victory, he played the next two friendly internationals, versus Belgium and France, in a West German team laid waste by jaundice, the causes of which were never satisfactorily explained. He then dropped out of the team until September 1955, a 3-1 defeat in Yugoslavia, not to reappear until another 3-1 loss, to England, in Berlin, in May 1956. This would be his last international game, and his club career came to a close two years later. In 321 games he scored 336 goals for Kaiserslautern, which won the Bundesliga in 1951 and 1953. When his garage business collapsed, Walter tried to take his own life, something he later described as the stupidest thing he had ever done. He then worked as a local government employee in Kaiserslautern until his retirement in 1984, and for a while he also ran a lottery stall. He and his wife Annaliese had a son, Ottmar. • Ottmar Kurt Herrmann Walter, footballer, born 6 March 1924; died 16 June 2013 Germany Europe World Cup Second world war Brian Glanville guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time17 June 2013 16:49:03


Ottmar Walter obituary

17 June 2013 16:48:04 Football news, match reports and fixtures | theguardian.com

German footballer who was part of the 'miracle of Bern' team that beat Hungary to win the 1954 World Cup Though less celebrated than his brother Fritz , the captain of the West Germany football team that unexpectedly won the 1954 World Cup, Ottmar Walter, at centre-forward, was the ideal foil to his sibling. Of the cup's six matches, Ottmar, who has died aged 89, missed only the second in Basel: it was one that the manager, Sepp Herberger, reckoned that West Germany could afford to lose to the favourites, Hungary. Fritz took his brother's place at centre-forward, rather than figuring in his usual role of inside-left. Altogether in the tournament Walter scored three goals: one in the play-off against Turkey (thrashed 7-2), and a couple in the 6-1 defeat of the Austrians in the semi-final in Basel. Both those goals were headed in the second half – the first from Fritz's corner, the second from a right-wing cross by Hans Schäfer. The 3-2 victory over Hungary in the final – the "miracle of Bern" – marked a key moment in West Germany's emergence as a significant force in international football. Ottmar won 21 international caps and scored 10 goals in a six-year career. There would have been many more appearances but for a long spell when he was injured. Born in Kaiserslautern, in the south-west of the country, he was three years younger than Fritz; another brother, Ludwig, also became a footballer, and all three played for FC Kaiserslautern. Standing 5ft 10in (1.77m) and weighing just over 12 stone (77 kilos), Ottmar was not only dangerous in the air, but famed for the power of his shot. This was despite the three pieces of shrapnel lodged in his knees – a legacy of his second world war years in the German navy. He made his first-team debut for Kaiserslautern in 1942, but was then posted to Kiel, where in 1943 he played for the Holstein Kiel club. After the war, he resumed playing for his hometown team in 1947. He won the first of his international caps in November 1950 in Stuttgart, where Switzerland were beaten 1-0, a match that Fritz missed. They lined up alongside each other in Zurich the following April, when each scored a goal in the 3-2 defeat of Switzerland. A knee injury then put Ottmar out of contention. Not until May 1952, in Cologne, did he return to lead West Germany's international attack. This was another match that Fritz missed, but Ottmar scored in a 3-0 defeat of Ireland. Now his place in the West German attack was secure. Before the 1954 World Cup, he scored in matches against France, Switzerland, Spain and Norway. After the World Cup victory, he played the next two friendly internationals, versus Belgium and France, in a West German team laid waste by jaundice, the causes of which were never satisfactorily explained. He then dropped out of the team until September 1955, a 3-1 defeat in Yugoslavia, not to reappear until another 3-1 loss, to England, in Berlin, in May 1956. This would be his last international game, and his club career came to a close two years later. In 321 games he scored 336 goals for Kaiserslautern, which won the Bundesliga in 1951 and 1953. When his garage business collapsed, Walter tried to take his own life, something he later described as the stupidest thing he had ever done. He then worked as a local government employee in Kaiserslautern until his retirement in 1984, and for a while he also ran a lottery stall. He and his wife Annaliese had a son, Ottmar. • Ottmar Kurt Herrmann Walter, footballer, born 6 March 1924; died 16 June 2013 Germany Europe World Cup Second world war Brian Glanville guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time17 June 2013 16:48:04


Cocaine and heroin couriers jailed

16 May 2013 21:09:45 BBC News - UK

Members of a Liverpool-based gang that supplied cocaine and heroin worth tens of millions of pounds to Glasgow are jailed.

Vice All News Time16 May 2013 21:09:45


Rashid Karapiet obituary

01 May 2013 19:16:21 Film | theguardian.com

Rashid Karapiet, who has died aged 84, was an actor, singer, playwright, broadcaster and teacher. He was not a star but a jobbing professional, one of the unsung heroes of the theatrical profession, a good companion with, as Tom Stoppard described it, a "vivid" personality. Rashid was also a much-loved and loyal friend. The second of five children of Edward and Marie-Therese Carrapiett, he was born Reginald Carrapiett in India, and went to school at St Columba's, Delhi, and then St Joseph's and the Agricultural College in Allahabad. He travelled to Britain in the 1950s to train at the Bristol Old Vic theatre school, then took a teacher-training course at the Central School of Speech and Drama, London, and adopted Rashid Karapiet as his professional name. An accomplished linguist, he taught for many years in Germany and the Netherlands. In 1960, Rashid appeared in Santha Rama Rau's dramatisation of A Passage to India (one of the first times brown-skinned actors were seen in leading roles in the West End of London). Later roles were in Tom Stoppard's Indian Ink (1995), Andrew Lloyd Webber's Bombay Dreams (2002) and Ayub Khan Din's Last Dance at Dum Dum (2006). With the New Sussex Opera, he was in Peter Grimes (1981), directed by Nicholas Hytner. He appeared in David Lean's film of A Passage to India (1984), Ronald Neame's Foreign Body (1986), Jamil Dehlavi's Jinnah (1998) and Dustin Hoffman's Quartet (2012). On television, Rashid's work ranged from The Jewel in the Crown (1984) to the groundbreaking soap opera about Asian families in Birmingham, Family Pride (1991-92), and a 2012 episode of Doctor Who. His voice could be heard on All India Radio and in BBC radio drama. Rashid's plays were performed at the Sussex Arts Club. He had a strong social conscience, and his last public performance, in October, was reading poems by Rabindranath Tagore and Sarojini Naidu in aid of a charity to help victims of the Bhopal disaster. He is survived by his younger brother, Edward. Film adaptations Theatre Drama Television guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Vice All News Time01 May 2013 19:16:21


Eddie Barns obituary

30 April 2013 16:45:03 Politics news, UK and world political comment and analysis | theguardian.com

My friend Eddie Barns, who has died after a period of ill health aged 63, was a Labour councillor in Hackney, east London, and will perhaps be best remembered for his defiance of the Thatcher government's cuts, as he attempted to shield some of Britain's most deprived citizens and to save Hackney libraries from closure. He was active in Incapacity Action, a national campaign set up by disabled people protesting about the proposed cuts to invalidity benefit and the introduction of a fitness test based on a points system. Eddie fought cuts to the Freedom Pass (a travel pass for older and disabled Londoners) and the Taxicard scheme, which provides subsidised transport. Eddie grew up in Dagenham, east London, in a working-class family and seized upon the opportunity of a post-16 education. He managed to gain legal qualifications and a master's degree in economic history. He used his legal skills to speak on behalf of the very poorest, forgoing a comfortable existence in a city law firm. Never forgetting his roots, Eddie spent his life fighting oppression and discrimination. His internationalism drew him to the plight of asylum seekers. He helped to found Hackney Migrant Centre , and after moving to Faversham worked for a charity, Kent Refugee Help , seeking the release of detainees from Dover Immigration Removal Centre. Eddie was a hopelessly loyal West Ham United fan and a useful footballer and tennis player himself. He was also quick-witted. Once while we were discussing the names given to killing a king (regicide) and a father (patricide), he was asked by my then girlfriend what name was correct for murdering a boyfriend. In my case, he considered it "justified". His heroes were not only the great theorists of socialism, for he was unashamedly a socialist till his death, but also those who exposed and confronted the abuse of power whether in Northern Ireland, Nicaragua or Britain. Many lives are the better today for having known Eddie. He is survived by his sister, Margaret. Labour Hackney Local government guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time30 April 2013 16:45:03


James Dickens obituary

24 April 2013 16:39:28 Politics news, UK and world political comment and analysis | theguardian.com

My colleague and friend James Dickens, who has died aged 82, served as the Labour MP for Lewisham West from 1966 until 1970 and played a prominent part in the leftwing Tribune Group. Born in a Glasgow tenement to working-class parents, he left school at 14 and took a job as a telegraph boy and then as a railway clerk. However, he worked for the Glasgow Forward newspaper and won his way through Newbattle Abbey and Ruskin College, Oxford, to St Catherine's College, Oxford, where he obtained a BA (Hons) degree in politics and history. He then worked for the National Coal Board, becoming an industrial relations officer until his election to parliament in 1966. From 1962 to 1965 he was a Labour councillor in Westminster. In the House of Commons he joined the Tribune Group of MPs and helped to formulate its policy for economic growth, which was summarised in the pamphlet Beyond the Freeze. He took a keen interest in foreign affairs and was a very active constituency MP. He contributed to policy documents on British entry into Europe and put forward a leftwing economic and financial policy that was an alternative to the one pursued by Roy Jenkins , chancellor of the exchequer at the time. He was opposed to so-called stop-go policies. As a fellow member of the Tribune Group, I agreed with him on most of these issues and put forward similar ideas. After losing his seat, he became assistant director of manpower for the National Freight Corporation and thereafter assistant director, then director of manpower at the National Water Council. From 1983 to 1991, he worked as chief personnel officer to the Agricultural and Food Research Council and, in 1991, was appointed OBE. James retained his interest in politics throughout his life and was selected, in 1978, as the Labour parliamentary candidate for Newham North East, which would have been a safe seat. However, he resigned the candidature before the election of 1979. He remained active on the left to the end, nonetheless, and served on the executive committee of Labour Action for Peace. He was also a school governor. However, he left the Labour party after the outbreak of war with Iraq. He is survived by his second wife, Carolyn, and four stepsons. Labour guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time24 April 2013 16:39:28


Bryan Heiser obituary

17 April 2013 16:09:49 Politics news, UK and world political comment and analysis | theguardian.com

My husband, Bryan Heiser, who has died of polio aged 67, spent most of his adult life fighting for the rights of the disadvantaged and, through the poetry he wrote, highlighting life's subtle twists and turns. He was perhaps best known as the pioneer of Dial-a-Ride, a free door-to-door scheme for people with disabilities who cannot use public transport, which was launched in London in 1980 and now operates throughout Britain. Born in Rugeley, Staffordshire, Bryan was brought up in Finchley, north London. He won a scholarship to Haberdashers' Aske's school in Elstree, Hertfordshire, then went on to read philosophy, politics and economics at Durham University and, on a Fulbright scholarship, at Harvard. Bryan contracted polio at the age of 27 on a hedonistic trip to Morocco. He found himself paralysed and in an iron lung and from that point on always used a wheelchair. But, as Bryan put it: "It isn't what you've got, it's how you use it: if you define the race you needn't lose it!" For 17 years from 1980, he worked for Camden borough council in London – latterly as an internal ombudsman, helping to solve the problems of local residents. Bryan also undertook a research project on the lot of under-fives in the borough. He launched the first Dial-a-Ride in Camden, with funding from the Manpower Services Commission and later a grant from Camden council to buy the special vehicles required. Within a few years, with support from the Greater London Council, the scheme had expanded throughout London, and then, with government funding, around the UK. As an independent consultant, Bryan was appointed by Hillingdon council to investigate the disputed ownership of Stockley Park, a large piece of land to be developed within the west London borough. Then, in 2001, the health minister, John Hutton, appointed him to the National Care Standards Commission, describing Bryan as "a leading player in the development of disabled and older people's rights and services". In 2000, Bryan had been appointed special adviser on disability to the board of Transport for London and he continued in this role through Ken Livingstone's two terms as mayor. Bryan played a role in making TfL buses wheelchair-accessible, and this was one of his proudest achievements. He was an ardent supporter of bendy buses, which provoked lively debate with some of his more entrenched London friends. With a passionate interest in the arts, Bryan was chair of Drake Music , a technology and music charity providing disabled musicians of all ages with routes into music. He was an active member of the Poetry Society, running a weekly poetry group in his house in Camden until, in 2005, we moved to Norfolk, where he embarked on a master's degree in creative writing at the University of East Anglia. We met in 1997 and married in 2005. I survive him, along with Thomas and Olivia, the children of his first marriage, to Sue. Disability Poetry Transport policy guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time17 April 2013 16:09:49


Firefighters tackle blaze at zoo

14 April 2013 09:20:43 BBC News - UK

About 50 firefighters are tackling a blaze in the tropical house of a West Lothian zoo.

Vice All News Time14 April 2013 09:20:43