Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Emdad Rahman: Shalini Sriskandarasa, 25, has been named Britain’s first ever amateur National Cupcake Champion at her very first attempt.
I met Shalini and her proud parents, Sriskandarasa and Vijayarani, along with her partner Nimel at their home in Ilford, Essex. The family moved to the UK from Sri Lanka in 1998.
Shalini, who has never participated in a competition before eagerly spoke about her experience at the previous weekend’s national competition where she received her title from Britain's queen of baking, the TV presenter and food writer Mary Berry, before an audience of hundreds attending Cake International, the sugarcraft, cake decorating and baking show in Birmingham.
"I was just flabbergasted to be amongst the finalists," Shalini yelped. “I've been baking since I was a young child and have always enjoyed the creative side involved in cake making. It's my favourite pastime and brings out the best in me."
Now in its fifth successful year, National Cupcake Week (September 16-22 2013) celebrates a highly popular classic that has stimulated innovation and spawned a raft of new craft food businesses across the UK.
National Cupcake Week is an initiative created and managed by the magazine title, British Baker, as part of National Cupcake Week, and the purpose of the campaign is to drive sales and footfall into craft, high street and in-store bakeries, coffee shops and cafes. The sponsors of National Cupcake Week 2013 were Tesco, Secret Ingredients and BFP Wholesale.
Multi-talented Shalini beat off stiff competition from 36 other amateur finalists to take the title in the competition. The young Baker impressed the competition judges with her delicious classic cupcake, called Chocolate Box. They said the cupcake was rich, fudgy and tasted just like a proper chocolate cake should.
Shalini, who used to study medicine, was inspired to pursue a career in cake making after she baked an exquisite cake during the Queen’s Jubilee in 2012. She is hoping to set up her own cake decorating business, specialising in sugar flowers. She said: “I only started making cakes recently, for the Queen’s Jubilee, but it is a passion of mine. I found the recipe a while ago and everyone loves it. It’s my brother’s favourite. I really can’t believe that I have won, but this is probably the confirmation I needed. I now know for sure that this is my field and I will keep on researching and strengthening my creative skills to hopefully become a success.”
An all-female line up of home bakers were competing for the first ever amateur championship prize and four category titles. Judging the finals live at Cake International were Great British Bake off winner John Whaite, Royal Wedding Cake maker Fiona Cairns, Gerhard Jenne founder of Konditor & Cook, award winning pastry chef Will Torrent, British Baker editor Martyn Leek and sponsors John Young from Secret Ingredients and Neil Davey from BFP Wholesale.
“It was a closely fought contest and the standard of entries from the amateur bakers was brilliant,” said British Baker Georgi Gyton. “The taste and flavour combinations were innovative and their creative presentation even more so. Shalini’s cupcake however was an outstanding winner and we sincerely hope that this win puts her business on the path to great success.”
Shalini’s success was put further into perspective: “My bakes were slightly ruined during transportation to Birmingham from London. My partner and I spent an anxious few hours in the rain that evening trying to locate the right ingredients, including mint chocolate, to ensure that my creations were up to standard. It was very nerve racking.”
She hopes to start a business in the future and cites her parents as her greatest supporters. Shalini thanked her brother Senthilkumaran, her sister in law and partner Nimel – “They have been instrumental in my achievement,” she gushed. "Thank you so much everyone! It's a great feeling to do something I love! Thank you to all my family and friends for always appreciating my cakes. I couldn't have achieved this without my amazing mum and dad's support and for believing in me.
Shalini, who last year received great plaudits after baking and designing a marvellous cake for her Brother’s wedding, also has a page on Facebook called Lovely Cakes and Lovely Sugar Flowers by Shalini.
Saturday, November 09, 2013
Suarez did strike the post
But the Gunners wanted it the most
Ohhh Santi Cazorla!
Crocked Wilshere had to pass
Arteta gave a midfield masterclass
Ramsey’s spectacular on the hour
© Emdad Rahman
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Sublime game for the Anfield genie
Dark, dashing, dangerous and gutsy
On a day the Magician struck three
Prompting rosy words from John Henry
Three skinned to get the ball rolling
"Sublime," quipped a stunned Steve Clarke
With Boaz Myhill still stuck on his line
Eighteen yard header which lit up the park
After Pistol had pilfered the match ball
Conjured another by the League’s top scorer
Brendan beamed at the Reds dance hall
"Steven is a top, top, top, top, top player,"
© Emdad Rahman
Saturday, October 26, 2013
There was a festive mood as the centre hosted a kids Zone, bouncy castles, food stalls and a very popular young performers talent presentation.
Organiser Noor Ullah said: "We have enjoyed hosting this fun filled day and I want to thank everyone for their support, especially the volunteers for their hard work."
"Everyone is happy, and I'm proud to be one of those attending," said Khoyrul Shaheed from Human Relief.
"I really loved the henna stalls said Sumaiyah, who was showing off the intricate patterns on her hands to everyone who she came across.
Tower Hamlets Executive mayor Lutfur Rahman attended the event and spent time presenting the you g poets, singers and storytellers with their winning prizes. He said: "Ours is a rich community and I'm grateful for the invitation to today's event.
"The spirit of Eid is a great thing to behold and it is very pleasing to see a range if visitors attending today who have enjoyed a great day out in harmony and safety.
"Tower Hamlets is a community that forms a rich tapestry and I'm very happy to see you all here today. I have been very impressed with the talent of your young people and it has been particularly satisfying to see so many smiles on so many faces."
The location was Mile End Stadium and all runners took to the track terrain to walk, skip, run, jog and dance the 3k target.
London fundraising manager Sophie Batchelor and I had a quick chat before my run. Sophie had spent a hectic week arranging the organisation of the run and I was there to witness the culmination of an excellent job. The organisation was clinical and the friendliness of the organising support team was brilliant and thoroughly complimented the fun mood of all the participants at the stadium.
“This run has been inspired by the colourful full moon parties held in Thailand”, said Sophie. “Were not doing the luminous paint but the sound system and the creative DJ has really got everybody fired up. The feedback has been one hundred percent positive and we are really pleased with the response.
“It’s Friday night and we are grateful for everybody’s support.”
The Glow Neon Fun Run kicked off when the sun went down at 7pm. There were neon lights and an array of dazzling outfits and colours. I had to go to football so completed my 3k within 20 minutes before making a dash to join my 5 a side crew at Mulberry School.
RNIB carries out some fantastic work with blind and partially sighted people in London and the rest of the UK.
Every day 100 people in the UK start losing their sight. Right now RNIB can only reach one in three of the people who need our help most. To support Team RNIB and help reach them all please visit www.rnib.org.uk
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
David Peace, acclaimed author of the 'Red Riding' series, 'GB84' and 'The Damned United', had now turned his attentions to a football folk hero and pulled "Bill Shankly out of the football world and into the mainstream." Peace’s latest book tells us the story of the man, not just the manager who he has describes as "one of the greatest men who ever lived."
Years before he appeared for Glenbuck Cherrypickers in East Ayrshire, Shankly's main passion was football. His background fuelled his socialism, his view of the world and his view of football: "The socialism I believe in is everyone working for each other, everyone having a share of the rewards. It's the way I see football, the way I see life."
Red or Dead is a revolutionary novel about a revolutionary man; Bill Shankly, perhaps the first great football manager of the Modern Age.
With Jock Stein & Matt Busby he formed the Trifecta of working roots Scots who rose to the pinnacle of the beautiful game. In light of Sir Alex Ferguson's new autobiography and the slamming reserved for many of football's greats it's refreshing to note that Red or Dead recounts the story of an inspiring figure whose noble persona has almost become mythical in today’s modern game.
The subject of the book is one of the greatest managers to have come from these shores. Peace’s pen panache is simply amazing and the reader will complete over 700 pages of flowing verses, highlighting in vivid depth almost every significant happening in the life of the legendary Scotsman – from the precise moment he was handed the keys to the Anfield empire till his death and departure from life itself.
As Red or Dead touches on the story of the growth of Liverpool Football Club and Bill Shankly the novel offers momentous accounts of Bill Shankly as manager of Liverpool FC and of Bill Shankly after retirement from Liverpool FC.
Shankly was a Socialist and his life mantra was based on incessant and scrupulous toil. Hailing from a mining village allowed him to relate his experiences and worked diligently towards instilling a hard working ethos into the lives of his players and his colleagues. It wasn’t just about football – these values and disciplines would serve his young charges excellently in the outside world too.
Shankly drilled it into anyone who would listen that there was no magic wand and one made their own fortune through sheer hard toil. The onus therefore focussed on tackling ones day to day issues, the daily cycle of life’s mundane chores. If anybody focussed on these ever occurring rituals and worked at them hard, then significant and positive changes could be bought about in any person's life. This mode of positive thought was not exclusive to Shankly himself but to great effect, his natural magnetism and force of personality sold it as an easily achievable, simple and exquisite philosophy.
Shankly transformed the fortunes of this amazing British institution. A floundering and underperforming Liverpool were languishing in the lower realms of the second Division until he came along. With a powerful sweep of his broom Shankly set in motion a change in attitude, fortune and unrivalled success that would shake the footballing world. It was upon Shankly’s cornerstone which was built the platform where Red gladiators would make their mark, as the Merseyside club would like an unstoppable juggernaut steamroll the best of their rivals. In 15 glory years Shanks laid the foundation for three First Division Championships, the UEFA Cup and a brace of F.A Cup wins. He unearthed gems of the calibre of Ray Clemence, Emlyn Hughes, Ian St John and Ron Yeats.
As a high energy individual the first 110 pages or so really tested my concentration levels as it took me time to get into the unique rhythm of the narrative writing style. Once I had settled into the rapidity and pulse the gratification I was already experiencing rose a few degrees.
Amongst some accounts of fiction there are mentions of several factual minutiae of the games played under Shankly’s reign from 1959 to his stunning resignation in 1974, by which time the Reds had with relentless success been transformed into the most successful team in England. Bill Shankly by this time had become widely acknowledged as a reformer. He changed the perception of those he came into contact with and gave hope and encouragement to the masses.
Red or Dead is a requiem, a passionate epistle dedicated to a type of mettle and temperament that is rarely seen these days.
Bill Shankly lived and breathed a brand of footballing socialism. It was the medium he used best to inspire millions.
Bill Shankly made the people happy.
This is another amazing football book by David Peace – one of a rare breed of writers who are able to mesmerise the reader with sheer no frills penmanship alone. Peace has a distinct habit of bringing about that effect on the reader and I’m struggling to name another writer with his determination, persuasion and ardour.
"I have written about corruption, I've written about crime, I've written about bad men and I've written about the demons. But now I've had enough of the bad men and the demons. Now I want to write about a good man. And a saint. A Red Saint. Bill Shankly was not just a great football manager. Bill Shankly was one of the greatest men who ever lived. And the supporters of Liverpool Football Club, and the people of Liverpool the city, know that and remember him. But many people outside of football, outside of Liverpool, do not know or do not remember him. And now – more than ever – it's time everybody knew about Bill Shankly. About what he achieved, about what he believed. And how he led his life. Not for himself, for other people." David Peace
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Hundreds of men, women and children from different nationalities came together to offer the obligatory Eid prayers which was followed by a sermon and the family fun day. Activities included wrestling with a sumo, bouncy castle, food and snacks, calligraphy, origami and traditional board games. Participants were awarded certificates.
Event volunteer Shumina said: “It was an exciting experience, with so much fun activates for the kids to do. It was nice to see the children running around having so much fun and it made the day truly unforgettable.”
Khushnood Ahmed, the secretary of the Riverside Muslim Association (RMA) was one of the event organisers and volunteers. She commented: “RMA has made this Eid a most memorable and joyous day. People from different ethnicities attended and many of the women were very happy to participate.
Hafizur said: “I loved the diversity most of all. One of the best things was the children freely enjoyed themselves.”
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Emdad Rahman: Amidst much glitzy glamour, the Bangladesh Football Association (BFA) squeezed in almost 1000 guests as it held its annual awards night at Stepney’s Troxy hall. The much feted event has become one of the most important nights in local grassroots football.
On that same day the BFA had featured prominently in a Sky Sport despatch whereby an excellent feature report was broadcast to highlight the exceptional grassroots effort taken by the management and volunteers to train local youngsters in helping them achieve dreams of playing professional football.
BFA coach Imrul Ghazi said: “We teach children about values, about respect, about healthy lives. We ask parents to become more involved. One day young people from these fields will grace pitches in all leagues and with that in mind we work to ingrain hard working ethics within them.”
Ex West Ham United, Sheffield Wednesday, Bristol Rovers and Dagenham & Redbridge captain Anwar Uddin leads the flagship Sporting Bengal Academy and is also a patron to the BFA.
Taking to the stand Uddin highlighted his hopes of Asians making the professional grade in mainstream football and is hopeful of rising stars: "The contribution of coaches and parents is significant and I want to acknowledge those who spend their time and effort day in and day out to help the next generation of footballers.
"The Premier League is very competitive and players compete within a global market. I see no reason why we can't have a crop of young Asians making the grade in the Championship; League one, League 2, and even non League.
“Nothing would make me prouder than to play a hand in delivering a crop of readymade footballers to mainstream football.”
Tony Carr MBE, the current Director of Youth Development at West Ham United football club's youth academy is widely recognised as one of the most influential figures in English football. During his illustrious career, Carr, who as a fledgling striker cleaned the boots of Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and Sir Geoff Hurst, has trained Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Jermain Defoe, Glen Johnson and John Terry.
Carr was invited to share his experiences: "I was born and bought up in the Devons Road area so like you all I'm very local.
"The likes of Anwar had a good football education with us and he definitely won't be the last Bangladeshi footballer to make the grade. It's just a matter of time and my advice is simple - keep practising, keep working hard and you never know who's watching."
Sporting Bengal manager Mamun Choudhury MBE spoke about his pride in managing the boroughs senior team: "Ours is a unit that is made of all nationalities and I believe we accurately represent the make up of the borough. It's a great pleasure to manage Sporting and I give you my commitment that we will continue to strive and strive until we reach the highest levels of excellence."
Zakir Khan's contribution to the BFA was recognised by current chairman Aroz Miah. In his acceptance speech he said that he still had the same desire to support his community just as he had as a sprightly youngster.
Khan thanked the BFA management and in a welcome gesture invited all the BFA management and volunteers up onto the stage to enjoy a loud round of applause from the huge crowd of guests.
John Garwood from Canary Wharf Group pledged future support: "The Canary Wharf group are always proud to support the BFA and the fantastic work they do. With my West Ham hat on I’d like to ask the community to take up Anwar Uddin's challenge and I look forward to the day when a local Bangladeshi youngster can complete his journey from the training pitches of West Ham United to the Olympic stadium."
Community coach Rashid Abba from West Ham spoke about his beginnings with Leicester City. Abba added that his expertise gained with the Foxes whilst at Filbert Street had held him in very good stead in east London. He was joined on stage by Tower Hamlets Councillor Rofique Ahmed.
Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman is the only BME Mayor in Europe. He spoke of his immense pride at the achievements of the footballers and thanked parents, management and the BFA for the progress being made: “Football is a unifying medium. It is intense, nervy and provokes passion. These are key ingredients in the makeup of an ideal and positively contributing citizen. I am confident that with the BFA making such efforts it is only a short time before young people from this room take the step onto the bigger professional leagues.”
M1 Claims Management very generously provided all the trophies for the event and fellow sponsors Hunter & Bloomfield and Sonali Bank UK joined them in presenting awards to winners. The contribution of the role of the sponsors in supporting grassroots football was mentioned and acknowledged.
Sunday, October 06, 2013
Benjamin and Delfina on the pitch
Family pose in front of the Kop
Fort Anfield still remains so rich
Suarez gives the Eagles the chop
Palace "won the second half"
Holloway "bemused" by the penalty
Dispatched by Brendan's Chief of Staff
Fifteen goal-den years for Stevie G
Switch from family man to chainsaw fiend
Gayle's goal and a water bottle attack
Sturridge struck his eighth in between
"This is your last trip to Anfield" the call back
© Emdad Rahman
Saturday, October 05, 2013
Max Levitas is a veteran of that momentous day when east enders and anti-fascists, including local Jewish, socialist, anarchist, Irish and communist groups saw off the British Union of Fascists, led by Oswald Mosley.
Spurs fan Max, who is now 98 years old, accepted my invite to watch Stepney FC juniors train and gave an amazing short talk on his memories of the battle of Cable Street.
He said: "We all come came together that day; Jews, non Jews, the whole community.
We showed them that hate would not be tolerated just as the community showed again a few weeks ago.
"They couldn't pass - they were not allowed to pass."
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Both students joined thousands of other young people who attended the prestigious competition to test participants recitation levels of the Quran. The siblings were praised by judges and were deemed good enough to be named as prizewinners.
“I was so nervous that I couldn’t breathe,” said Radhiya. “The judge said I had very good recitation and understood that I was nervous. I was given a gift electronic timer and a nice certificate. I really enjoyed the experience and the people were friendly.”
Jaabir was less nervous: “It’s a bit like a talent competition, there are lots of people there in the same room as me and this helped me to relax. The judge said I recited well and I was given a prize and certificate.
The “Read & Rise” Quran competition aims to attract the finest Quran students from across the UK.
Dr Amr Khaled is the Founder of Right Start Foundation International. He has been chosen as number 13 of the world's most influential people by Time Magazine.
Click here to view the magazine.
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Sturridge hits the first goal
Pistol switches to cruise control
Stadium of Light Reds stand tall and able
Giaccherini pulls one back
Suarez strikes another in attack
Reds hold on to go second in the table
© Emdad Rahman
Saints the last to beat the Reds
Sturridge stifled and put to bed
Along came Adam Lallana's corner
A bump for Brendan’s men
As keeps happening now and then
Dejan Lovren with the winning header
© Emdad Rahman
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Sixteen teams participated, including one from West London. The tournament was hosted at the Berner Estate pitch and the aim was to raise funds and humanitarian aid to ease the plight of the suffering people in Syria.
The final saw HFC pit themselves against Al Falah from Kilburn. Home advantage paid off as HFC defeated Al Falah 2-1.
Manager Hamid Yusuf said: "I'm pleased to have outfought and outplayed such a physically imposing team like Al Falah. The match was played in the right spirit and I'm glad that everyone has helped raise funds and awareness for the Syrian people."
Khoyrul Shaheed from Human Relief Foundation said: "I would like to thank Stepney FC, DIYG, Qasida Restaurant and the Berner centre for giving us the support to make this event such a big success. All the money will be of tremendous help, but the awareness raised today is something you cannot put a price on."
There was a lively video presentation of the clubs history from the early days to the present.
The senior and junior teams were recognised for their success and chief guests from Tower Hamlets and TATA Consultancy handed out personal awards. There were solemn moments amidst all the fun as Stepney stalwarts Mujibur Rahman and Malcolm Lane were both remembered by those present. Both these figureheads were lost to cancer within the last 12 calender months.
Tower Hamlets Speaker Lesley Pavitt said: "Congratulations on achieving this milestone and I wish you many more years of great success.
Vice Chair Forid Ahmed thanked supporters and Tower Hamlets for all the support provided - "I hope we can continue to work in partnership for the betterment of our community," he added.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Emdad Rahman: I had signed up to test myself at this new walking lark that had started to take a grip of me. It was also a great opportunity to raise awareness of the magnificent work carried out by Maggie's Cancer Centres. Contact with the lovely Tessa had answered all my queries and I knew I’d made the right decision whilst I did a reading for the late Mujib and Malcolm at Stepney Football Clubs 20th year celebrations last Wednesday, just 48 hours before the night walk. Both these advocates of Stepney were lost to Cancer over the course of the last 12 calendar months.
During lunchtime I finished Friday prayers and took the routine two flights of stairs to my desk. I was astonished to find myself out of breath, a bit dizzy, with a slight chest wheeze and red eyes; all in the space of five minutes. Astonished, I took to Facebook and got some very handy tips from friends.
The gospel choir Singology did their thing and due to the large number of participants, the 2000 walkers were split into two starts with a half an hour in between. I had no intention of going second and I was off and away straight after a short introductory speech from Maggie's daughter Lily Jencks and the comical/ trendy American style energiser warm up.
The first stop was the London Eye, the tallest cantilevered observation wheel in the world, and one of London’s most iconic landmarks. Every walker was treated to a free rotation with 360 degree unique views across the city. I skipped it because I’m well ard!
I grabbed my first apple right after the stopover at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The Maggie's team had painstakingly threaded apples and hung them off trees at strategic locations over the course of the route including the Albert Bridge. It was an ingenious and highly creative idea and added an element if the surreal to the walk. I can never eat a red apple without my lips swelling and my eyes itching irritably. As my throat was dry I couldn’t resist plucking the first one. I plucked too hard and another fell to the pavement. I shrugged at two fellow walkers who immediately became my on walk companions. The apple was delicious, crunchy, cool, sweet – and surprisingly there was no reaction. As I picked up speed I devoured it in record time. I reminded myself of a vegetarian T Rex or a thrashing Great White Shark or even my little one at home– It was brutal.
King Charles Street and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office were next up and there lay await a Cultural treat: tea tasting by Fortnum & Mason and an inspiring reading from Josephine Hart's book, Catching Life by the Throat by Give a Book.
I took a quick glance around as I walked in and out, grimacing at William Hague's wincing mug shot – “enough to give jitters to the bravest of the brave”, I muttered to myself as I stepped back into the night. Some surprises are best left for Halloween.
After a few more miles of solid walking we stopped at Zaha Hadid's Roca London Gallery. The Gallery also hosts an active calendar of social and cultural events, exhibitions and installations focused around Roca’s values: design, innovation, wellness and sustainability. The cultural treat at Imperial Wharf included amongst other things a BDP light installation, Silent Movie and performance by H2 Dance.
After a quick call to the missus, updating my WhatsApp and Facebook and a few further miles of toil and sweat we took 120 seconds at Maggie's Centre, Charing Cross Hospital. The west London location had opened in April 2008 as the first Maggie’s Centre in England. The centre won a RIBA award for architectural excellence in 2008 and Lord Rogers and his team were awarded the Stirling Prize for the building in 2009. Cultural treats in store for crawlers were artists Robin Blackledge and Dominic Robson who bought the voices of Maggie's with their sound installation, Talking Tables. I was handed a dubious looking bottle filled with the brown stuff. I jumped a mile before realising it was only 500 ml of Curiosity Cola. Silly me! I had a quick chat with the nice volunteer ladies before setting off again.
"I just need some water mate," said a homeless guy when I pre-empted and told him I had no loose change. "You won't believe how hard it is to find water at night mate," he added. I thrust my water bottle at him and thanked the Lord above for my own good fortune. “Too many bounties, not enough gratitude,” I muttered to myself. The phenomenon of the late Junction Silent disco awaited crawlers at the Royal Geographical Society, a world centre for geography, expeditions and education. I realised I’d had no loo break and still didn't need one. We were also very fortunate with the weather and I never needed to zip up my coat throughout the route. I observed the nocturnal shenanigans in certain areas. Kensington was interesting, watching all the immaculately dressed Arabs come out in their shiny sports cars.
A homeless man literally wanted the shirt off my back as he and his companions had heard a rumour that the glow in the dark T shirt was the golden ticket to a full English at the Gherkin. I scoffed at the thought. The approach to the last apple tree saw another homeless looking man run up to greet me and relay glad tidings of the tasty and crunchy delight that lay in wait for me twenty metres or so ahead.
After passing the sight of the old Smithfield meat market an Innocent Smoothie awaited at Maggie's Bart's centre site. I embraced it like a long lost friend. Maggie's are planning to build a second Centre in London in the grounds of Barts Hospital in the City of London. Barts itself houses one of the most advanced cancer centres in Europe. Once open, the Centre will serve 1.5 million in North East London, an area with one of the lowest one-year cancer survival rates in the UK.
Stephen Holl is designing the Centre, and its opening is planned for 2016. We walked past the site where the Centre will be built. I downed my raspberry Innocent Smoothie in one.
A mile after that and I'd done it. Easy! Easy! came to mind. 30 St Mary Axe, affectionately known as the ‘Gherkin’ was where we celebrated crossing the finish line. Avoiding the bacon butties I made a beeline for the yoghurt to scoff down with a muffin. I updated my family by WhatsApp and my friends on Facebook. The cultural treat in store for finishers was a taxicab photobooth and Leon serving breakfast. Throughout the night, Creative Connection were scheduled to complete their graffiti mural of the event. There were masseurs on hand to tend to the needy. Many would stay and watch the sun rise over London.
To be honest I wasn’t too bothered about seeing London from the top of the Gherkin but since Moklis was running late in picking me up I thought I might as well. Climbing the stairs after the lift ride I made sure I was the first to step into the hall at the top of the Gherkin.
I've lost my photos since due to an IOS update malfunction so if anyone at Maggie's does have any of me at the various locations then please do get in touch and let me have them.
As I’ve boasted a zillion times, I think I did a real blistering pace from start to finish for Maggie's Culture Crawl 2013 - This was a memorable 15 mile night walk for Maggie's brilliant Cancer Centres. I savoured the creative aspects and this is one I'd happily do again.
Why Maggie’s Centres are so important?
Silently cutting the golden hours
A persons being it deflowers
Lurks quietly that deathly scavenger
And until that very day
When one leaves this worldly fray
They've had peace for a little while longer
© Emdad Rahman
Thursday, September 19, 2013
A presentation and dinner function was well attended and included special guests, Tower Hamlets Speaker Lesley Pavitt, Councillor Abdal Ullah, Zakir Khan from the Canary Wharf Group and Aroz Miah, Chair of the Bangladesh Football Association.
The evening was superbly hosted by Nadia Ali from the BBC Asian Network.
Amongst the senior prize winners were four of my under 12's and under 14's too, so a very chuffed coach here. Massive credit to Akik and Afazul for their unstinted work behind the scenes.
Malcolm Lane and Mujibur Rahman were tragically lost to Cancer and are no longer with us. Both stalwarts were remembered and honoured tonight.
On this note I want to mention that I'm taking part in the 15 mile Maggie's Culture Trek tomorrow night to raise awareness of the support provided by Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres. I hope all readers will wish me luck for the night journey in Central London which will take in the City's great landmarks.
Here's a tribute for the evening which I penned for Mujib and Malcolm.
A moment for Mujibur Rahman & Malcolm Lane
The day Malcolm and Mujib hopped aboard
Malcolm quietly inspired so many
Peerless guidance served with dignity
20th-21st September 2013
Venture out for a night of discovery, culture and surprise while raising money for Maggie's Cancer Centres
Venture out for a night of discovery, culture and surprise while raising money for Maggie's Cancer Centres.
A 15-mile night-time hike-come-adventure around London in partnership with Open House, Maggie's Culture Crawl is our new take on last year's Night Hike.
As you wind your way around the capital, you'll get exclusive access to wonderful buildings such as the EDF London Eye, the Gherkin and the Foreign Office and see spectacular performances from musicians, dancers and artists.There will also be some delicious food and tea along the way.
It'll be a night of many experiences, many stories and hopefully not too many blisters.
But as with last year, places are limited so sign up today.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Emdad Rahman: In the week that Stepney Football club celebrated a historic milestone, Tower Hamlets councils Speaker, Councillor Lesley Pavitt popped in to say hello and inspire the young people who had braved the September showers to take part in weekly training.
The Speaker said: "I'm very glad that you are all out here enjoying yourselves and improving your fitness. Young people from Tower Hamlets are too tough to puff and if you all continue to work hard at your game you will all do very well in life."
Weekly training takes place at Haileybury Youth Centre and Councillor Pavitt and the team finished training to join in with the activities taking place at the centres annual fun day. Activities included a bouncy castle, gladiator jousts, cake making, popcorn, book stalls and ice cream.
Hamza, Councillor Pavitt's fellow West Ham fan said: "I was allowed to hold the Speakers chain. It's quite heavy and I think it cost a lot of money. I'm really happy she joined us for football today and even happier that like me she is a ‘Happy Hammer’.
"The gladiator game was really good fun and I took part in everything today. Thank you Haileybury Youth Centre."
Stepney FC are currently celebrating their 20th birthday. The senior team are current Inner London Football League champions and the club is a front runner in grassroots community engagement.
Team members Akik Miah, Afazul Hoque and Tarique Ahmed were recent guests on BBC radio where they talked about the importance of running community fitness programmes and how important it is to encourage everyone to participate.
Monday, September 16, 2013
Four hundred as skipper for a great
Part in all goals by old boy Shelvey
Sturridge's four in a row create
A treble piece of history
Yet another gaffe from Jonjo
Moses silencing the Liberty
New boy with a stunning debut goal
Running down and parting the Swansea
I sat there nursing a common cold
Sterner stuff from Laudrup's crew
Jonjo's glancing flick strikes gold
And it's two two by Michu
(C) Emdad Rahman
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
The showcase football tournament played out the initial rounds on Sunday 1st Sept with 48 participating teams across three age categories: Under 16’s, Seniors and Veterans.
Teams from across London and the UK took part in one of the biggest one day football tournaments in the country with teams travelling from Luton, Milton Keynes, Basildon and a number of London Boroughs. SNT Cup 2011 was officially Supported by the FA.
A long summer day saw Chettle Rangers and Somers Town reaching the U16 final. London APSA and Tower Hamlets FC set themselves up for the senior final whilst Stepney Legends and London Tigers Vets beat off the competition to set up a glittering veterans final.
Cup final day started off with in controversy. Much to the disappointment of an expectant crowd, the U16 final was awarded to Somers Town after Chettle Rangers failed to turn up on time for kick off.
The Veterans final more than made up for the initial disappointing start. Stepney Veterans from Tower Hamlets went head to head with London Tigers from Westminster. A tense start meant both teams created little chances but it was London Tigers who settled quicker and a goal arrived just before half time courtesy of man of the match Edson Cata, who beat two defenders before slotting the ball under the keeper. Stepney came out attacking in the second half but failed to create clear goal attempts.
The inspired substitution onto the field of play of Akthar Hussain led to the left winger beating to men to the byline before whipping in. Cross for Stepney FC striker Chris Smith to slot home decisively.
The Tigers roared and it was that man Cata again who cheekily nicked the ball off a Stepney defender before beating the keeper to make it 2-1. Stepney pushed forward valiantly in search of an equaliser and gaping holes in the rearguard were cruelly exploited as Tigers Chief Executive Mesba Ahmed finished clinically on the break to make it 3-1.
Man of the match Edson Cata was awarded the Mujibur Rahman trophy - named after Stepney FC veteran Mujibur Rahman who lost a battle with cancer last year.
The Senior final brought together two powerful forces in regional football - London APSA and Tower Hamlets FC. Both teams are currently competing in the Essex Senior League and the game was always going to be a close contest with both line ups cancelling each other out in midfield. Limited chances were created in comparison to previous games. Midway through the second period a half cleared ball by a Tower Hamlets defender allowed the ASPA striker to drive a fierce shot which rebounded of the defender. The keeper was left with no chance as the ball hit the underside of the bar and went in. The jubilant APSA players celebrated with their fans as this proved to be the only goal of the game. APSA walked away with the SNT Cup and the £1,000 cheque.
Billy Graham was named man of the match for the Senior game. The award was named after Malcolm Lane who sadly passed away this year after losing a battle with Cancer. Malcolm was a friend of Stepney FC and worked for TATA Consultancy Services who carry out a range of work with young people from Stepney FC.
SNT founder and Inner London football League President Abdal Ullah, shortlisted for a prestigious Asian Football Awards that will take place at Wembley Stadium said: “I am delighted with the 11th SNT Cup. Once again the SNT Cup has attracted the best quality grassroots footballers in our community. I would also like to take this opportunity to firstly thank the organisers Stepney FC helped by Vallance FC who worked tirelessly over the 2 days to make this another successful tournament and also all the teams.
"The SNT Cup helps to build community cohesion and I would finally like to thank Channel 9 our Media partner and all our supporters and sponsors, without whom the event would not be possible."
Stepney FC (Tournament Organisers) Chairman Abdul Boshir said ‘"I would like to take this opportunity to firstly thank all the volunteers from Stepney FC who worked tirelessly over the 2 days to make this another successful tournament and also all the teams that took part.
"My congratulations to the winning teams and commiserations to the runners up and hopefully they will come back next year to go one better."
The last day of the glorious summer weather was an added bonus as visitors crammed in to Stepney Astroturf to enjoy a day of entertaining football. A Souk taking place in Stepney Park ensured a larger crowd were in attendance.
The secondary tournament final was played out between Weavers and Wapping. Weavers won 2-1.
The primary final saw ELM JMC 1 overpower Wapping 6-1 with star striker and man of the tournament Osama Amin scoring 5 dazzling goals.
Mustaq Ahmed, JMC Programme Manager said: "We take the concept of community very seriously and football is one way of encouraging positive interaction and development within an enjoyable environment. I have been very pleased at the levels of stamina, enjoyment and unity that I have seen here today.
"The weather has been tremendous and I would like to thank all my volunteers and the officials who volunteered their time to make this day a success. I hope everyone enjoyed a great day of football."
Sunday, September 01, 2013
A noteworthy anniversary
Current boss all out to restore
Hundred year homage to Shankly
Reds best start since nineteen ninety four
Caressing a close range header
Storming Sturridge on his birthday
Third win, and a third game winner
Agger stooped to lay it on a tray
Mr Burns again fails to claim
At Anfield he continues to plummet
Humbled by a high-tempo game
The mighty Reds sit proudly at the summit
© Emdad Rahman
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Ravel Morrison and Modibo Maiga were the scorers, with Manuel Jose netting for the visitors.
Joe Cole and Kevin Nolan started but Andy Carroll did not feature because of injury. New boy Razvan Rat made a second half appearance.
Emdad Rahman: English, Scottish, Arabs, Africans and Asians came together as the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham saw its first ever open air Eid prayers take place during the occasion of Eid Ul Fitr 2013.
The Riverside Muslim Association (RMA) organised the landmark and historic event to commemorate the end of Ramadan 2013. Eid prayers and the traditional Eid sermon took place on the outdoor football pitch which was hired out for two hours for the prayers. There were stalls with henna artists, cakes, foods and even a bouncy castle for children.
“Barking and Dagenham has been often unfairly tainted but we really are a friendly bunch of people,” said a local resident. “So long as we respect and get on with each other then we won’t be divided and our communities can live alongside each other in harmony. I think it’s great the way the community has organised this event and I wish everybody a happy Eid and a good weekend.”
Councillor Cameron Geddes attended the event. He said: "The Muslim people on Riverside need a community space of their own ideally. In the meantime I am so impressed that their boundless energy produced this Eid InThe Park event and I’m grateful to the Rivergate Centre for their help as well as the police and Muslim and non-Muslim friends who attended."
Khushnood is the Secretary of the RMA and she was one of the team of tireless volunteers who organised and managed Eid in the Park: “I am glad that the event has been enjoyed by the local community. RMA has been successful in uniting Muslims from diverse backgrounds. The positive comments and congratulations we are still receiving are proof of our efforts and has given us the motivation to do better and more activities in the local area.”
This was the first Eid prayer attended by the women and some spoke about the joy of being able to participate on such a monumental occasion. One of the young people attending Eid in the Park said: "We never had such an enjoyable Eid before, we made so many new friends."
Her friend added: "I’m looking forward to next Eid."
Imam Imran said: “It has been a glorious day in terms of celebrating this day of Eid after a whole month of fasting. The weather has been brilliant and we have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback. I would like to thank Councillor Cameron Geddes who gave up time from his very busy day to attend our event and meet and greet the worshippers. His visit was very special for us indeed. We would also like to thank the Police officers who popped in and mingled with the crowds, non Muslim friends and the businesses City Realtor, mr Printers, Rayflex, Silvaspoon takeaway, Euro Foods, Gossip Textiles, Nax, Comfort wholesalers and Yunus from Leicester who provided us with the financial support to make this event a success.
“Last but not least, I would like to thank the volunteers from the bottom of my heart. They have been working day and night for the last three weeks in order to make this event a reality and I’m so proud with how this has all come together so successfully.”
The Riverside Muslim Association was formed on 20th March 2013 at the Rivergate Centre and the aims of the organisation are to help make the presence of Muslims more visible in the Barking Reach area and to celebrate the positive contributions that Muslims make in wider society.
The event was organised by the community and run by volunteers with very generous financial support from City Realtor, mr Printers, Rayflex, Silvaspoon takeaway, Euro Foods, Gossip Textiles, Nax, Comfort wholesalers and Yunus from Leicester.
Tuesday, August 06, 2013
I didn't know Lee personally but reading all the tribute messages today was enough to tell me what a popular guy he was. It's so tragic he's lost his life at such a young age.
Condolences to his loved ones.
Monday, August 05, 2013
Copies were sold at Anfield prior to the Steven Gerrard testimonial and will be in Dublin prior to the Celtic friendly.
My Steven Gerrard piece is in there too. You can subscribe to RED ALL OVER THE LAND at the website www.redallovertheland.com.
Friday, August 02, 2013
Curriculum for Cohesion (CfC) is a collaboration between academics, teachers and employers that develops humanities education to improve the lives of young people in the 21st century. CfC submitted a detailed response which can be accessed via their website page.
On 8 July the DfE published a second draft of the National Curriculum, for consultation responses with a deadline of 8 August. The revised History curriculum is a considerable improvement on the February draft. It is less prescriptive and more age-appropriate. Crucially from the CfC viewpoint it is more culturally inclusive including statutory mention of some history of Islamic civilisation. It is clear that some attention has been paid to the submission and others making the same points as CfC.
As explained on the CfC page this new draft still needs some further improvement. More thought still needs to be go into how the national British history relates to the world history and how to create a ‘broader, truer history for all.’ Specifically CfC recommend:
At Key Stage 1. The list of individuals recommended for children to learn about is still too parochial and not representative of humanity’s different types of achievement. CfC suggest the inclusion of the pairing of the pioneers of medical science, Avicenna and Louis Pasteur.
At Key Stage 2. CfC suggest that Cordoba, c. AD800-1200 is added to Baghdad as an exemplar of early Islamic civilisation.
At Key Stage 3. In order to bring out the force of ‘interconnections’ in the unit title, CfC suggest that the Ottoman Empire, 1490-1922 be added as a world history option. Study of the Ottoman Empire is highly relevant to the study of Britain and Europe in both the early modern and modern periods.
The CfC home page lists a glittering array of people supporting CfC, and other pages detail the academic team, patrons and partner institutions.
Readers are encouraged to respond to the DfE by 8 August as CfC believe it is very important to have as many voices as possible making these points.
It was a cold November evening in 2010 and my friends and I had made the journey up to Anfield to catch a glimpse of Roy Hodgson’s new look Liverpool.
SSC Napoli, founded in 1904 by English sailor William Poths and his confrère Hector M. Bayon were in town. The current England manager was settling into the Anfield hot seat after taking over the helm from Rafael Benitez before the start of the new season. One of Hodgson’s first tasks during his short reign was to meet his irreplaceable captain and persuade him to commit himself to the red shirt for the rest of his Anfield career. There were muted calls from some corners that the newly turned thirty year old was approaching his twilight and maybe it wouldn’t be a bad decision to flog the Red talisman to a rival at a decent price.
Hodgson, like everyone in football knew Gerrard’s presence was crucial for the rebuilding plans at Liverpool and that night served a stark and timely reminder. Liverpool hosted a Napoli side boasting the golden trio of Edinson Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Marek Hamsik. The brawny yet dexterous Lavezzi was at the centre of all Napoli’s attacking forays and proving to be a real nuisance. On 28minutes the coastal city clubs front runner changed tack – switched his assist role to latch onto Cavani’s header and slam an assured opener past Pepe Reina.
With several squad players being given an outing the home side looked edgy and uneasy in possession for the rest of the first half. The club captain warmed up at half time engulfed by the biggest cheer of the night and took the field for the second half. Gerrard grabbed the game by the scruff, gave it a vigorous shrug and was simply too hot to handle as he lifted the roof with a staggering fifteen minute hat trick against the "Ciucciarelli."
A sign of what awaited Napoli came on 52 minutes as a rebound off goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis was blazed over. Returning ex Liverpool full back Andrea Dossena cemented a rapturous applause from the home faithful as his back pass botch-up led to a sprint for the ball between Gerrard and De Sanctis. Gerrard reached home base quickest and his outstretched studs knocked the ball past hulking De Sanctis and into the net. The Anfield skipper summed it perfectly: “When you’re in that position against a giant of a goalkeeper you’ve just got to go in and hope for the best. There was no class involved, just determination and desire. I don’t think the keeper fancied it.”
Next up was the Referee Fredy Fautrel of France, who intervened on 87 minutes, penalising Salvatore Aronica for a foul on Glen Johnson. Gerrard was clinical as Liverpool went ahead 2-1. The game not over yet and to stamp his superior authority, the England skipper struck home his fourth career hat trick two minutes later, bolting away to again sting the "Partenopei" with a nifty finish over the abandoned De Sanctis.Once again Gerrard had pulled off one of the great individual football performances, rising to the occasion to deliver yet another performance of pure poetry.
John W Henry was attending his first game at Anfield and an earlier despondent shake of the head had transformed to euphoria and exultation by the end of the ninety minutes. Steven Gerrard may have accumulated moments of magic by the bagful but it is giant performances like this in mostly average Liverpool teams that have singled him out as one the greatest midfielders of his generation and one Anfield legend who is certain to edge King Kenny to the title of the clubs greatest ever player.Here’s something I wrote on the journey back down to London after the game.
Gerrard 3-1 Napoli
Lower centenary on row nineteen
Seat 0215 in the Anfield crowd
Making my Reds euro debut
I sat upright and so very proud
Andis hoped I liked Liverpool City
Yasmin saw me on the TV
Linny, Darren and Natha there too
And Lissa sat just ahead of me
Joyous chorus of the Kop cut short
By Lavezzi “the chubby one”
Screaming Ultras down the Anfield Road end
S.S.C Napoli were having all the fun
Sky blue bragging rights erupted
Not quite Roy’s original match plan
Still a little bit of fan handbags
“All stay close,” yelled Bootle Jan
“Attack, attack, attack,” roared the Kop
Stevie's warm up triggered an earthquake
Beating De Sanctis in a 50-50
Anfield called out the impending jailbreak
Ex Red Dossena blasted
“Get up ya quilt,” screamed the chap next to me
Poulsen and Milan were sturdy
Thrust from Meireles and Jonjo Shelvey
Upended Johnson’s dazzle thwarted
Aronica with the smoking gun
Gerrard with a meticulous spot kick
Reds go ahead two to one
Lucas the playmaker supreme
After Ngog agog with that miss
Gerrard rubber stamps the hat trick
Dinked sublimely over De Sanctis
If there ever was a one man team
It’s the head boy of the Kop yard
The best ever seen at Anfield
Salute the marauding Steven Gerrard
UEFA Europa League
Written on the journey home - 04.11.10
© Emdad Rahman