Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Woman 'who lived for smoking' died in fire

By Hannah Seaman

A DISABLED woman who smoked 30 cigarettes a day died in a bedroom fire after refusing to have a smoke alarm fitted because she feared her habit would set it off, an inquest heard.

Pam Eaves, 58, a mother of three, suffered from multiple sclerosis and died from smoke inhalation after a smouldering cigarette fell from an ash tray on her bedside table, setting her underwear drawer alight.

It happened just days before Christmas last year with her uncle and carer of 35 years, Kenneth Wardly, 77, asleep in the next room.

Choking back his tears, Mr Wardly said: “There was no smoke alarm in the flat as she wouldn’t have one installed in case her cigarettes set it off when she was smoking in bed. I should have had one fitted but smoking was all she lived for.”

Sheffield Coroners Court heard that ten years previously Mrs Eaves narrowly escaped injury in another house fire where a cigarette stub set her bedroom alight.

But despite this she refused to have a smoke alarm fitted at her ground floor flat on Hazlebarrow Crescent, Jordanthorpe, because one was constantly triggered by her smoking whilst on a caravanning holiday in Scarborough.

Mr Wardly said: “I lived in fear of it happening again and that is why I used to stay over and check on her.”
But Richard Hutton, Fire Investigation Officer, said that cigarette smoke would not be able to trigger a fire alarm as it contains different particles to other sorts of smoke.

He said: “South Yorkshire Fire Service could have fitted a free smoke alarm and due to Mrs Eaves’ disability we would even have fitted her flat with a free sprinkler unit.”

The inquest heard that Mr Wardly discovered the fire after the smell of smoke woke him at around 6.45am.

He said: “I thought the Christmas tree was on fire but then realised it was coming from Pam’s room.”

He said he then went into her bedroom and found it filled with a haze of smoke.

“I went over to Pam and shook her by the shoulders but I realised she was dead.”

Mr Wardly then called the emergency services who later pronounced Mrs Eaves dead at the scene.

A post mortem confirmed that she had died from breathing smoke.

Investigations showed that she was woken by the smoke and had tried to remove the drawer which had been smouldering for around two hours. It was found discarded on the carpet.

Mrs Eaves weighed 17 stone and due to her disability had not been able to move to escape the fire. Instead she was forced to succumb to the fumes which contained carbon monoxide.

The fire later burnt out due to a lack of oxygen.

Coroner Judith Naylor said that the inquest had learnt that the belief that cigarette smoke sets off fire alarms is a misconception.

She said: “Mrs Eaves’ death was a tragedy that could have been avoided. I hope this will prevent a similar tragedy happening to another family.”

She recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Northern Ballet students shine at Meadowhall

By Hannah Seaman

TALENTED students from an award winning ballet company had shoppers dancing in the aisles this weekend in Sheffield as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations.

The eight dancers from the Northern Ballet Theatre’s classical training scheme put Meadowhall shoppers through their paces with a series of simple ballet exercises designed to improve fitness.

They also performed demonstrations which they had been rehearsing as part of their training at the company’s studios in Leeds.

The event was held to launch the company's performances of Swan Lake and a mixed programme at the city's Lyceum Theatre from Tuesday until Saturday.

Catherine Hall, Media and PR Officer for the company, said: “Dancing is very popular at the moment thanks to television programmes like Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing on Ice. So we wanted to offer people the chance to try something new today whilst being creative and expressive.”

She said that the company is trying to make ballet more accessible as a lot of people have never experienced it before or been to watch a performance.

She said: “We are proud to have survived for forty years and the fact that the company is attracting bigger audiences shows that people are becoming more interested in dance.”

Emma Chilton, 33, a shopper who tried out the exercises, said: “It was really good fun and surprisingly tiring. The dancers made it really easy to follow.”

The company currently have 48 students on their classical training scheme which is a five year programme designed to offer professional training to students in the north of England.

Youngsters aged between 12 and 16 audition for the scheme from all over Yorkshire and train around five times a week.

Hannah Kirkpatrick, Classical Training Officer, said: “We can offer them excellent training to a professional standard without them having to move away from home.”

Sophie Hall, 16, a student from the training scheme said: “I have been dancing since I was three-years-old and I just find it a perfect way to express myself. It helps me to relax and forget about the rest of the world.”

She hopes to move away to a vocational dance school later this year to complete her ballet training and then join a professional company.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

A productive placement so far at Press Association

Have a look at some of my stories published on Press Association's Community Newswire:









Friday, 13 March 2009

Cath Kidston: darling of the design world.

Cath Kidston is the darling of the design world with her nostalgic interior chic and floral patterns which grace millions of homes worldwide. After fifteen years in business she has become a cult success despite originally going against the minimalist fashions of the early 1990’s.

The furore all began in 1993 when Kidston opened a shop in Holland Park, London, where she sold vintage fabrics, wallpapers and brightly coloured junk furniture. Gradually she began to create her own prints and products which centred on floral, stars and polka dot.

Since then the company has opened 26 shops throughout the UK which sell an array of homeware, women’s fashion and children’s fashion and over the years, Kidston has worked alongside numerous companies designing one-off products. These have included designing tents with Milletts, Nokia mobiles with Carphone Warehouse and most recently collectible eco shopping bags with Tesco.

Kidston’s inspiration came from her childhood upbringing in rural Hampshire where she lived in a traditional English country house and this is clearly evident when entering one of her stores.

A riot of patterns, ponies, rabbits and roses adorn everything from teapots, deck chairs and notebooks to book bags. And this welcome transportation back to the good life leaves even the most undomesticated student enthused and with the motivation to improve their somewhat lack lustre home.

So why not get in touch with your creative side and attempt some of your own home craft projects. The Kidston look is an easy one to recreate and doesn’t have to be expensive if you shop around for materials.

Alternatively, for those that are more artistically challenged, there are plenty of high street stores that have cottoned on to Kidston’s success and that sell their own vintage ranges.

For further information and ideas visit:

Cath Kidston's website and online shop: http://www.cathkidston.co.uk/

To read the original story on Pg 27. of The Forge Press website newspaper for the University of Sheffield:


Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Patient wait for a kidney donor

Have a look at The Derbyshire Times website and video where I am interviewing Colin Cooper, 58, who is critically ill with kidney failure. March 13th is World Kidney Day which highlights the problems with organ donation and the challenges patients face. I have a chat with Colin and find out what his life is like.


Wednesday, 18 February 2009

The Jade Goody story: the exploiter or the exploited?

The Jade Goody reality show continues to play out to its inevitable end whilst the masses gawp. It seems that human nature's sickening fascination can never be satisfied.

Now, a new twist has emerged since Goody announced that she would be marrying her boyfriend Jack Tweed at a country hotel in Essex. The Big Brother star has only a week to organise the wedding and is resolute that she will walk down the aisle. This will all only add further ammunition and tragedy to the story.

Yet, despite the criticism surrounding Goody and her actions you cannot help but feel sorry for her. To have her final weeks of life played out in the press as entertainment is somewhat unsavoury, whether she is encourgaing the attention or not.

The only good thing that I can see emerging from it all is that demand for cervical smear tests have already risen dramatically. The Guardian reported yesterday that the University Hospital Lewisham, south east London, has carried out 21% more tests since Goody was diagnosed with cancer. Lets hope that this effect will continue.

To read more about Jade Goody visit The Guardian on the link below: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/feb/17/jade-goody-nuclear-submarines-wrap

Also visit The Mirror:

For more information about cervical cancer visit the cervical cancer charity Jo's Trust at: http://www.jotrust.co.uk/

Friday, 6 February 2009

NHS staff face persecution for praying.

Have a read of this:


This is another worrying case of political correctness being taken to the extreme, thank goodness the press are backing her.