Connor PR working with Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (SOSA) on the ‘Don’t Touch It. It’s Mine’ campaign
CHILD ABUSE SURVIVORS UNITE IN MUSIC VIDEO TO RAISE AWARENESS OF HISTORIC HIGH POWER PAEDOPHILE RING & CALL FOR A REINVESTIGATION INTO HANGED BOY, PETER DAVIS’, DEATH
LONDON, 24th November 2015: The victims of one of the world’s most horrific and high profile cases of child abuse will today unite to appear in a music video as part of a landmark venture to try and raise awareness of the high power paedophile ring, which included politicians, celebrities, scout masters, members of the Catholic church, that infiltrated more than 20 children’s homes in the Lambeth area from 1950’s – 2000’s. The “Don’t Touch It. It’s Mine” campaign aims to bring justice to the hundreds of victims that suffered at their hands, 12 of whom committed suicide, and lift a 100 year access restriction order on the victim’s files. Award winning author and chair of the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (SOSA), Alex Wheatle MBE, himself a victim of abuse at Shirley Oaks and now seeking justice, is hoping that the campaign will encourage more witnesses to come forward enabling police to reopen an investigation into 15 year old Peter Davis’ death, who was found hanged at Shirley Oaks in Croydon in 1977.
Written by music mogul, Raymond Stevenson, who discovered Jessie J when she was 15 and was himself physically abused going on to become the founder of SOSA, with input and melodies by X Factor / Alien Uncovered star, Temple Praise, the track is entitled ‘Don’t Touch It. It’s Mine’ and will be released in early December this year. The track features haunting testimonies from the victims. The video will tell the story of the true horror suffered by vulnerable young children during decades of abuse at Shirley Oaks and aims to encourage more people who have any information to come forward and speak out, so that police investigations can be reopened and Government can lift the 100 year access restriction on files for former Shirley Oaks residents. The video will be made available to download from the first week of December 2015 (date TBC) with all funds going towards helping SOSA track down victims from across the UK and around the world.
Raymond Stevenson, SOSA founder, said: “I have done many campaigns and they have always been motivated by personal circumstances and issues that blight communities. Maybe because I survived the hell of Shirley Oaks I believe it’s my duty to help others. I say this not just because I was a victim but there can be no greater crime levied at humanity than paedophillia. Then add that these were abandoned children in the state’s care already unloved and frightened, some already victims and others whose parents died. Then add the lies, the cover-up, the conspiracy and now we learn that this could have all been prevented. This video will enable victims to tell their story through a medium that cannot be tampered with or edited. The chorus in the song simply says, ‘you don’t know what they done to me’. The video will show the fear horror and abuse through art. A line in the song that asks the question, ‘what happens if it was your child?”
Amongst the alleged abusers are Jimmy Savile, as well as former Lambeth Labour councilors, Toren Smith and Susan Smith, who have been convicted. There have been two major police investigations into abuse at children’s homes in South London and a total of three people have been convicted of offences; one relating to Shirley Oaks, swimming instructor, William Hook, and the remaining two including Michael John Carroll who ran Angell Road children’s home and Les Paul from South Vale Children’s Home.
SOSA is demanding answers for one very specific matter – the sudden death of 15-year old Peter Davis in 1977, found hanged in a toilet with a cord around his neck. Following signs of sexual acitivy, a coroner ruled “death by misadventure“, but friends who grew up with him believe he was the target of paedophiles. Peter was the chief witness in a rape trial at the Old Bailey two years before he died where he gave evidence in regard to both his and his sibling’s rape. When the BBC looked for court documents from the time, they found that in 2003 they had been made secret for 100 years. Former senior detective Clive Driscoll said reopening the case would be a “great opportunity for detective work”.
Chuka Umunna, Labour MP for Streatham, who has constituents who are Lambeth abuse survivors said: “This is an important step for the campaign. I hope the excellent work that the survivors association are doing will help other survivors feel able to come forward and speak out. By the police’s own admission, previous investigations were ‘of the time’ and did not meet the standards we would apply today. The police owe it to the survivors group to reopen the investigation into Peter Davis’s death.”
The Metropolitan Police said officers looked at available material relating to Peter’s death in September 2014. A statement said: “In the absence of further new witnesses or new lines of inquiry, the matter remains closed. If new witnesses are identified who are prepared to provide police with statements that challenge the recorded decision then an assessment of that material will be undertaken.”
SOSA and Urban Concept’s1 research and on-going investigation is focused specifically on 1965 onwards when Lambeth took over the controls of Shirley Oaks. There have been multiple inquiries, most recently by the Metropolitan Police and Lambeth Council from 1998 – 2003, which cost millions of pounds, and resulted in the arrest of one paedophile from Shirley Oaks and two other paedophiles from other south London children’s homes. In the first eight months of interviewing over 300 children who attended Shirley Oaks and other South London Children’s Homes, Urban Concepts1 uncovered more than 16 paedophiles. When they discussed this with the Police their response was dismissive. A few weeks later Urban Concepts discovered a document produced by the Police and Lambeth Council which stated that 16 paedophiles died before or during the Police operation. This included one suicide during the trial in March 2003, 19 cases the alleged paedophile could not be identified and one case where the victim died before being able to give evidence. In some 11 cases the CPS took no further action and one case fell through after the suspected paedopile committed suicide during his trial.
Singers for the “Don’t Touch It. It’s Mine” campaign include 23 year old Millie from Essex, 21 year old Sophie from West Sussex and 21 year old Royal Opera House ballet dancer, Lucy from Stoke. The group known as ETHAMIA were selected based on their suitability to understand the subject matter and to empathise with the victims. When Urban Concepts1 played the track, the girls burst into tears and demanded to be part of the project. Taking their roles as ambassadors for victims seriously, the girls did their own research and went to Shirley Oaks and also accompanied the victims as they made a presentation to Lambeth council.
Principal crew for the music video will include: director, Giles Borg (Flutter, 1234, Home) with over twenty years of experience in music, film and television directing music videos, full length feature films, commercials and TV programmes; Jospeh Crone, a multi-talented fashion stylist and costume designer with a diverse list of clients and credits in the music, commercial and film sectors of the industry, from James Blunt to Dizzee Rascal, Investec to Innocent; and Ryan Jenkins, one of the UK’s most sought after choreographers, recently appointed creative director by UK government to represent and create work for Great Britain National day at Milan Expo 2015.
Choreographer, Ryan Jenkins, said: “This project has opened my eyes to the unimaginable pain and torture these people have experienced. It makes me so angry to know that nothing substantial has been done by those in authority. I want to help bring justice for these people. This is a story that needs to be told and the time is now.”
The Shirley Oaks campaigners are part of a wider phenomenon – a “survivor” activism that is changing the balance of power in relation to child abuse. Where once victims were ignored or silenced, now they are coming together through social media, forming support groups and building a crescendo of noise that the authorities are forced to acknowledge.
Lambeth Council is supporting the Shirley Oaks Survivors’ Association in their campaign to identify further victims and offer counselling to those who have not already received it but feel they would now benefit.
Join in the conversation @ShirleyOaksSA / #ShirleyOaks
**CAMPAIGN AMBASSADORS, RAYMOND STEVENSON AND ALEX WHEATLE MBE, ARE AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW UPON REQUEST**
Connor PR working promoting Shirley Oaks Survivors Association’s latest campaign, Don’t Touch It. It’s Mine”
I was asked to compere the annual Shrewsbury School Charity Fashion Show which took place a few weeks ago. Organised entirely by A level students at Shrewsbury School and now in its 6th year, the show raised £3000 for Brain Tumour UK and Ethiopiad which is a fantastic achievement. I also met the fabulous Jeans Woods Since who you may recognise after her appearance on Channel 4’s Fabulous Fashionistas, a documentary about stylish older women.
In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Give Up Clothes for Good campaign, TK Maxx and Cancer Research UK are hosting an exclusive exhibition of works by world famous photographer Jason Bell. I arrived at the Pall Mall Galleria and was proud to see my PR campaign from 2014s Give Up Clothes for Good campaign on display.
Give Up Clothes For Good encourages donating your old clothes to raise money for children’s cancers.
Launched in 2004, Give Up Clothes For Good is a biannual campaign based on encouraging people to clear out their wardrobes and donate quality unwanted clothes and household items to raise money for the treatment and cure of childhood cancers. The donated items are collected from TK Maxx stores and later sold across the network of CRUK stores.
I needed to come up with a witty and motivating call to action that encouraged the whole nation to take part in the biggest clothes collection ever. We took the double meaning of ‘Give Up Clothes For Good’ to suggest we all go naked for a good cause. A simple proposition that would guarantee stand out across all media. In order to engage the public and ensure extensive coverage, we set about contacting a host of celebrities to pose for some very tasteful and modest, naked themed shots, playing on the campaign strapline ‘Bare as you Dare’. Celebrities including Jade Jagger, Bruno Tonioli, Liz McLarnon, Sol Campbell, Lucy Benjamin, Julia Bradbury, James Anderson, Christopher Biggins, Kate Walsh all ‘dared to bare’ For the cameras in aid of raising valuable funds for charity and encourage the public to
strip their wardrobes bare too.
Whilst I was confident that images of naked celebrities shot by renowned celebrity photographer Jason Bell would provide us with a compelling news pictures, we also felt that the campaign project merited a pre awareness launch and a series of regional launches around the country that would serve to maximize awareness.
During the pre awareness stage TK Maxx, HomeSense and Cancer Research UK teamed up with online auction site eBay for a celebrity clothing auction. I set about contacting celebrities – Sharon Osbourne, Duffy, David Walliams, Jade Jagger, Tyra Banks, Nicky Hilton, Rupert Grint, Leighton Meester and the Duchess of York are just some of the celebrities who pledged an item. The team got busy selling in to fashion bloggers, showbiz desks and celebrity titles.
A week before the media launch day on April 6th the celebrity images were seeded with Press Association and Heat magazine offered the magazine exclusive. Over the Easter bank holiday weekend, the national picture desks and showbiz desks were spoken to in order to ensure the messaging and campaign credits were correct. National and regional sites were targeted, as well as relevant fashion blogs, entertainment and lifestyle outlets. encourage bag drops.
Local celebrities across six key regions with high regional media density also helped drive awareness. Regional photo-calls took place on launch day with local talent wearing a large Give Up Clothes For Good bag including Paul Potts in Cardiff, TV presenter Amanda Hamilton in Edinburgh, Ex Gladiator in Leeds, BBC Midlands presenter Suzanne Virdee in Birmingham and Orlaith McCallister in Belfast, as well as a photocall in Southampton. The team got busy selling in the pictures to regional targets. Inorder to target the fashion press, we worked with Jade Jagger who carried out interviews for Stylist and Stella. In addition we secured interviews with Bruno Tonilio in OK Magazine, Kate Walsh in Closer.
To keep the momentum going throughout the three week campaign and to encourage bag donations we scheduled regional activity during this time, including ‘naked’ radio drops using two naturists from Living’s ‘Four Weddings’ Fame in the final week.
TK Maxx, HomeSense and CRUK have smashed the 2008 till point donations revealing £258,097.65 worth of donations.
On Monday 5th April, the pictures and press release were issued under embargo to all national and regional newspapers and all major online outlets, supported by an aggressive call round.
The following morning I had secured newspaper coverage within The Sun, Daily Mirror, Metro, Daily Record, Daily Star, Daily Mail, The Times, Daily Telegraph.
The story was also successful in reaching newspaper websites including The Sun Online, Daily Mirror Online, Metro Online, Daily Mail Online, and The Daily Telegraph Online, as well as a fully credited.
Other key outlets secured include BBC Entertainment News, Sky News, Yahoo! and MSN, all crediting TK Maxx, HomeSense and Cancer Research UK. Online coverage continued to mount throughout the day, with stories appearing on online outlets.
The campaign became part of the ‘naked’ zeitgeist and discussions on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and articles in the Evening Standard ‘Naked London’ affiliated TK Maxx and CR-UK with the story. As well as TV presenter Kate Walsh talking about the campaign on Live At Studio Five and Liz McClarnon on The Wright Stuff.
Gypsies, Come Dancing!
Forget Got to Dance and Strictly Come Dancing, telly bosses are currently battling it out for the rights to bring an even more sequined dance event to our screens, the World Gypsy Dance Championships! The first and only worldwide contest for dancers from the Gypsy, Roma, Traveller community is to be hosted in London later this year. Organisers have already begun the worldwide search for the next Gypsy dance star, and are expecting stiff competition for the coveted gold medal.
Running the contest is Irish Romany Gypsy, Róisín Mullins, a former Irish Dance World Medallist and dancer with Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance. Róisín has judged thousands of Gypsy acts, including performing horses, in TV talent shows such as Travellers Got Talent and Gypsy and Traveller Face of the Year, alongside singers David Essex and Jentina. But now Róisín will be encouraging Travellers to swap their twenty stone wedding dresses for flamenco skirts, hitch up their wagons, and hit auditions at Traveller fairs, sites and events throughout the UK.
Róisín Mullins said: “The World Gypsy Dance Championships is a fantastic opportunity for dancers to take centre stage. We have already seen singers from the community make it on TV talent shows, but for me, the dancers represent our culture best”.
Joining Róisín to organise the contest will be her Gypsy partner, Irish dance show producer, Jack Jacobs. The pair are keen to show off a more positive side to the community, at what they hope will be the biggest gathering of gypsy dancers in history. Event organiser Jack is particularly excited about revealing the community’s hidden talent.
Jack Jacobs said: “The contest is a real first for the Gypsy and Traveller community. There are some incredibly talented dancers out there, and traditional dance styles that we, in the UK, have never seen before. So the chance to pull Gypsy dancers together from all over the world to compete against one another will be an amazing site”.
Celebrities rumoured to be taking a seat on the judging panel alongside Róisín include world famous Gypsy dancers, and stars from the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.
As well as heavily diamented costumes and fake tan, the contest promises to deliver an all out battle of traditional versus modern, with Flamenco and Irish dancing facing off against hip hop and street dance.
Entrants can compete in any dance style, but must be from a Gypsy, Roma or Traveller background.
To enter visit www.worldgypsydancechampionships.com
For all media enquiries please contact: email@example.com Tel: 07966 177025 or Jack Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org
Connor PR entertainment PR Specialist, Connor PR working with Gypsies, Come Dancing
Connor PR working with Middlechild and GroupM Entertainment production on a new programme for Channel 5 ‘ The Dog Rescuers’
The Dog Rescuers
Coming soon to Channel 5, “The Dog Rescuers” a Middlechild and GroupM Entertainment production that follows the canine rescue work of the RSPCA across England and Wales.
With over 1.3 million reports of cruelty and mistreatment of animals made to the RSPCA every year, the charity is under increasing pressure to safeguard our nation’s pets from the constant threat of abusive owners and unscrupulous breeders. This series follows those inspectors and officers that deal with ensuring man’s best friend is being properly treated. Using the latest forensic technologies and good old fashioned leg work, the series follows the RSPCA inspectors as they track down and rescue some of the 150,000 animals which are abused and mistreated in the UK every year, and witnesses the struggle to rehabilitate the victimised animals and to prosecute the offenders.
Channel 5 gained access to a selected group of the RSPCA’s 350 inspectors across the country for four months, and our cameras followed inspectors investigating crimes of abuse against dogs and puppies in rural areas and inner cities, as poor living conditions, malnutrition, illegal mass-breeding, organised fights are eradicated all in the aid of saving dogs’ lives.
Despite the sometimes horrific findings, the 10 x 30’ series has positivity at its heart as it will also follow some of the RSPCA’s success stories as they seek to rehabilitate and eventually rehouse some of the 12,000 dogs which the charity rehomes every year.
David Sumnall, Series Producer commented: “We are a nation of dog lovers but over 50% of RSPCA’s prosecutions last year were for cases involving abuse to dogs, so I think this is a really important series. We’ve been able to highlight the plight of these animals and show the incredible work that is being done to rescue and rehome them. It has been tough to witness the neglect at times but to be there as the dogs and puppies are saved and to see them with their new families has made it all worth it.”
Greg Barnett, Commissioning Editor, Entertainment, Daytime & Soaps said: “This series will have a tremendous impact on all those that watch. Some of the circumstances and conditions in which the RSPCA inspectors find dogs is unbelievably horrible. We’re trying to get as many dogs rehoused in loving homes as possible across the series run, putting the heart back into having a family pet and thereby giving four legged friends in need a second chance”
Alan Laxton, RSPCA Broadcast Executive:
The RSPCA rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes thousands of dogs a year across England and Wales. It’s great that The Dog Rescuers gives audiences the chance to see the dedication, hard work and passion all RSPCA staff have for making the lives of these dogs better. Some of the stories can be shocking, but The Dog Rescuers also shows the heart warming, happy endings that the RSPCA strives to give to every dog that comes into our care.
Author of Life-Changing Conversations, Sarah Rozenthuler contributes to the latest version of Glamour Magazine (September 2013) on The ‘C’ Word! How to deal with confrontation.
Sarah Rozenthuler is an organisational consultant and chartered psychologist with over 10 years’ experience working in the private and public sectors. She has designed and facilitated conversations at senior levels for a wide range of global clients including the World Bank, BP and the BBC in Europe and USA. Since 2007 Sarah has created, designed and delivered A New You mind-body-spirit events. These have been attended by hundreds of people from many different countries, earning her an international reputation. Sarah has been called ‘the next best thing to me’ by her mentor Neale Donald Walsch, author of the bestselling Conversations with God books.
Have that Big Conversation – and change your life!
Talk is our key action tool for moving forward at work and in our personal life, yet how often do we feel we’ve missed crucial opportunities or failed in our communication?
This book explains why effective talk can be truly transformative and provides a practical guide to having the kinds of conversations that will turn your life around. Expert psychologist and coach Sarah Rozenthuler provides the seven keys to success: calling up your courage, creating positive space, focusing on your intention, having a flexible style, speaking your truth, surrendering your “story”, and finding closure.
Throughout the book you will find real-life examples of problem situations, including healing family rifts, standing up for yourself at work and resolving relationship difficulties. The author shows through extended sample dialogue how, in each case, a challenging situation was worked through and a positive result achieved. Improving our effectiveness at having good conversations is the single most important way to bring about positive change in our lives.
Engaging and practical, this book will show you how to put theory into action and have conversations that will move your life forward.
On 1 August 2013, dyslexic singer, artist and make-up artist Klaire de Lys will shave her head to raise bursaries for people with dyslexia and on a limited income to access the Davis Dyslexia Programme.
21-year-old Klaire, who lives in Reading, Berkshire, founded KlairedelysArt in January 2009, a YouTube Channel devoted to artistic make-up tutorials. To date, the channel has accumulated over 380,000 subscribers. There have been over 86,000,000 views of the videos on the channel. Klaire was featured in a recent article in the Observer, “YouTube UK: 20 of Britain’s most popular online video bloggers”.
After years of going undiagnosed, Klaire underwent a Davis Dyslexia Programme to address her personal challenges with dyslexia. “To say that that experience made a difference is a serious understatement,” says Klaire. “It changed my life completely and gave me the tools to achieve things I could only dream of before.”
The Davis Dyslexia Programme was created by Ronald Davis, author of the internationally best-selling book, “The Gift of Dyslexia”. The programme originated out of Davis’ own experience of severe dyslexia and is now provided in over 30 languages and in more than 45 countries. It plays to the perceptual talents inherent in dyslexia and makes innovative use of plasticine clay as a learning medium.
“At present, the Davis Programme receives no state funding,” says Richard Whitehead, Director of Davis Learning Foundation, the non-profit UK arm of Davis Dyslexia Association International. “We are delighted with Klaire’s amazing gesture, which will bring the benefits of the programme to people who could never have dreamt of them before.”
At the same time as shaving her head, Klaire will launch her new band, Fenix, with a song that is all about her experiences with dyslexia.
“I’m hoping that by approaching this project by both shaving my head to raise awareness, and releasing my song Paper Wings, I can really make a difference in the lives of Dyslexics,” says Klaire. “Not only raising funds to help, but also by hopefully creating a song which will continue to raise awareness long after my hair has grown back.”
People with dyslexia will not be the only people to benefit from Klaire’s gesture. After shaving her head, Klaire plans to donate her hair to Wigs for Kids, a non-profit company providing hair replacement for children who have lost their hair because of cancer treatment, burns and other medical issues.
Klaire’s video about the campaign:
Campaign web page (for donations):
We love our boobs so much we turned them into wallpaper
– 300 ladies get it off their chest by baring their breasts for wallpaper
– 25% of proceeds of the wallpaper to go to coppafeel website, a breast cancer awareness charity
– Artist Sam Pooley took part in her own topless photo-shoot describing it as “an invigorating experience”. She has posted one of the photographs on her website boobwallpaper website
As the saying goes, a picture paints a thousand words. Likewise, for one Shropshire artist, a wall became an expression of her personality. More than 300 women have been photographed topless as part of a project to create limited-edition wallpaper of women’s breasts.
With a renewed campaign to ban Page 3 models; topless women demanding equal rights on the streets of New York; controversy raging over paparazzi pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing semi-nude; and Angelina Jolie revealing she’s had a mastectomy, breasts are very much in the news. This inspired artist Sam Pooley, from Shrewsbury, Shropshire to think about how she feels about her own breasts. Sam did a topless photo shoot in The Quarry, a local park in Shrewsbury town centre – it was both terrifying and liberating.
Sam embarked on a tour of the UK visiting York, London, Bath, Bristol, Northampton, Totnes, Chester & Watford, looking to recruit women to bare breasts of all different shapes, ages and sizes. Sam discovered that the majority of women she photographed didn’t like their breasts. She was inspired to create an artwork that celebrated breasts and in the process, enabled women to feel liberated by the experience and have their self-confidence boosted.
The breast has been an image used in art for many thousands of years, from Stone Age fertility goddesses and classical sculpture to breast-feeding Italian Renaissance Madonna’s and fleshy modern nudes. It has been revered as life-giving, wholesome and liberating. In modern times, photographic images of breasts have become something smutty or rude, while women in many African and South Pacific cultures wander around bare-chested and no-one bats an eyelid.
Sam Pooley says she has been overwhelmed by the response and the inspiring personal stories of many of the volunteers.
“The women in the wallpaper are from all walks of life, from the age of 19 right up to an 82-year-old grandmother.” she said.
“The wallpaper tells so many stories of women who have had mastectomies, breast reductions and enlargements, lifts and tucks, even a professional wet nurse who has breast-fed over 50 children.
“I’ve received some truly inspirational emails from women who’ve had breast cancer and wanted to be part of this campaign. I’m amazed at the stories coming out.”
The final artwork will be unveiled at Miss Pooley’s fine art degree show at Birmingham City University School of Art alongside a soundtrack of some women talking about their breasts. It will be reproduced and sold as limited-edition wallpaper with 25% of proceeds from the sale going towards breast cancer research.
***Sam Pooley is available for interview***
Notes to editors:
Sam Pooley is available for interview, for any media enquiries please contact Siobhan at ConnorPR Tel 07966 177025 / Siobhan@connorpr.com
Case studies of are available on request.
Sam Pooley Biography
Is an artist and a mother. She lives in Shrewsbury Shropshire. She is studying Fine Art at Birmingham City University School of Art.
Sam has many fingers in many pies. She shares a shop Compost & Gooseberry in The Market Hall Shrewsbury where she sells her art and other Artisans creations. She runs Compost Kids art classes for children of all ages. She is the features editor for Severn Magazine where she has a regular column showcasing local creative talent, she works as a creative consultant and has even been known to design and coordinate events.
To remain consistently ahead of the competition in covering the UK’s most impactful news story of the year is a remarkable achievement. At the heart of this entry is Lucy Manning’s relentless journalistic determination as well as her compassion for all concerned. Revelation followed revelation, scoop followed scoop in this exemplary news coverage.
Savile, ITN for ITV News