Memories of Live Aid 35 years on in Norfolk and Suffolk

The Live Aid concert at Wembley stadium Picture: PA.

The Live Aid concert at Wembley stadium Picture: PA.

It’s now 35 years since Live Aid took the world stage on July 13, 1985, but the memories are still vivid.

Nik Kershaw, who grew up in Ipswich, as he looked in 1985 Picture: PANik Kershaw, who grew up in Ipswich, as he looked in 1985 Picture: PA

The fundraising concert, organised by Sir Bob Geldof, captured the public imagination, raising awareness of the worst famine to hit Ethiopia in a century.

There has been discussion and controversy over the decades, with changing views over how just much difference it all really made to Africa.

Bob Geldof at Wembley Stadium during preparations for Live Aid Picture: AP Photo/David CaulkinBob Geldof at Wembley Stadium during preparations for Live Aid Picture: AP Photo/David Caulkin

But there is no doubt that many lives were saved as a result of the estimated £150million which was donated.

A global audience approaching two billion watched the simultaneous concerts in Wembley and Philadelphia via TV.

Freddie Mercury, lead singer with Queen, during the Live Aid concert Picture: PAFreddie Mercury, lead singer with Queen, during the Live Aid concert Picture: PA

Status Quo started things off with Rockin’ All Over the World, while Queen’s set was considered to be a highlight

Iconic stars like David Bowie, Paul McCartney, The Who, U2 and The Pretenders appeared at Wembley, while Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder and a reformed Led Zeppelin, with Phil Collins on drums, were among the line-up in the US.

Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, left, and Jimmy Page, reunited at Live Aid in Philadelphia Picture: AP Photo/Amy SancettaLed Zeppelin’s Robert Plant, left, and Jimmy Page, reunited at Live Aid in Philadelphia Picture: AP Photo/Amy Sancetta

Phil Collins actually appeared in both concerts, crossing the Atlantic on Concorde.

Nik Kershaw, who grew up in Ipswich, was on the Wembley bill. His 20-minute set included Wide Boy, Don Quixote, The Riddle and his most famous hit, Wouldn’t It Be Good – where Nik has admitted forgetting some of the words, although nobody else worried!

Tina Turner and Mick Jagger performing together at the Live Aid concert in Philadelphia Picture: AP Photo/Rusty KennedyTina Turner and Mick Jagger performing together at the Live Aid concert in Philadelphia Picture: AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy

His performance looks great in the clips on YouTube, but he later confessed just how nervous he felt.

“Terrified would sum it up quite nicely. I don’t remember much about it,” he has said.

People queued all night in Ipswich to buy their Live Aid ticket when the Gaumont Theatre opened Picture: ARCHANTPeople queued all night in Ipswich to buy their Live Aid ticket when the Gaumont Theatre opened Picture: ARCHANT

“I didn’t enjoy the performance which is a real shame. It’s all a bit of blur. I just wanted to get on and get it done really.”

Nik, a former pupil at Northgate, was approached by Geldof (not yet Sir Bob) and asked to take part when he was at an airport, flying to a pop festival in Germany.

All the bands on stage at the end of North Walsham Live Aid in January 1986 Picture: NWLAAll the bands on stage at the end of North Walsham Live Aid in January 1986 Picture: NWLA

“At the time, nobody knew where it was going to be. They were talking about Wembley, but everyone thought ‘Wembley Arena‘. Then it became Wembley Stadium, and then Philadelphia as well. It just got bigger and bigger and bigger.”

Suffolk musician and producer Thomas Dolby also took part, as one of the musicians appearing with David Bowie.

A poster for North Walsham Live Aid in January 1986 Picture: NWLAA poster for North Walsham Live Aid in January 1986 Picture: NWLA

He has told of his vivid memories of the event, saying: “I just remember staring at Bowie’s back in his light blue suit and beyond him thousands of fans. I didn’t have to look down, my fingers did the walking and I was channelling the teenage me playing Heroes in front of all of those people. It was amazing, a transcendent moment.”

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Queuing all night for tickets

While most people from our region were watching on TV, a lucky and determined few snapped up tickets for Wembley.

There were long queues outside venues which had allocations of tickets, with about 1,000 people camping out overnight outside the Gaumont (now the Regent) in Ipswich. They got soaked but were thrilled to grasp a precious ticket.

Memories of watching Live Aid on TV are also vivid for many who weren’t lucky enough to be there.

Twitter user Susan, who now lives in Yaxham but then lived in London’s Docklands, said: “We had been married for two months and spent the weekend in our new garden singing along with all the neighbours.”

Andy Crouch from Norwich said: “I was working for Holburn Tyres and we watched it on the TV at the depot then I watched the rest at The Pickwick pub. I remember the Who’s set – the signal went.”

How one Norfolk town staged its own Live Aid – and it’s still going strong

Many people were inspired to arrange their own fundraisers in the wake of Live Aid, but North Walsham went further.

A group of music lovers in the town got together in 1985 to arrange their own concert, with 10 bands playing for free, which they christened North Walsham Live Aid.

They aimed to raise £8,000 to buy two Bedford trucks, fill them with aid and send them to Eritrea. In the end they raised more than £10,000 via the concert and an auction.

NWLA was later started up again following the tsunami in 2004, and went on to become an annual event, although sadly this year’s had to be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Barry Holden, one of the organisers, said: “I watched the Wembley concert on TV, like everyone else did, and it was the first of the really big fundraising festivals. Everybody got behind it.

“We decided it would be great to do something locally. A lot of people said: ‘you can’t do something like that here’, but we did, and it was an amazing night.”

That first concert was held on January 4, 1986, with a line-up of local artists including Guns For Hire, Lost Garden Band, Murphy Bros./Pinto Reunion, Rebel Truce, Stormtrooper, Street Life, Stripes, Underground Zero and Yare Beats.

Bob Geldof sent the organisers a letter to congratulate them and say their event was the most successful spin-off in the country.

“We got a nice letter from Bob. We had sent the information to him to say what we were doing, but we were really surprised when he wrote to us himself,” Barry recalled.

The organisers went on to organise local participation in the Run the World appeal, and since January 2005 they have held an annual North Walsham Live Aid concert, helping many different charities over the years. As well as the concert, each year there is an auction of unique memorabilia.

Like so many other events, this year’s concert has had to be cancelled, but Barry said they are hoping to make it bigger and better than ever in April next year, in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust.

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Families call for justice in workplace death law change bid

© DC ThomsonFamilies call for justice in workplace death law change bid
Louise Taggart’s brother Michael Adamson died in an Industrial accident in 2005.

Radical reforms which could see businesses charged with culpable homicide for workplace deaths have been spearheaded by a Fife MSP.

Families who feel justice has not been served for the deaths of loved ones have backed a new Bill proposed by Clare Baker, Labour MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife.

Ms Baker hopes her Culpable Homicide (Scotland) Bill will change the law to ensure where loss of life is caused by recklessness or gross negligence, a suitable conviction can take place.

Currently failure to comply with health and safety legislation can result in a criminal prosecution of both organisations and individual employees, directors, officers and managers.

The maximum penalty is an unlimited fine and some limited circumstances sentences of imprisonment can be imposed on individuals.

However, failures to successfully prosecute businesses in the past have led to claims the law is inadequate and workplace deaths are not punished as severely as other forms of homicide.

No business in Scotland has ever been prosecuted for culpable homicide.

The drive comes after statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed the number of Scottish workplace deaths rose from 17 in 2017/18 to 29 in 2018/19, and that Scotland has had the highest number of workplace deaths across UK over the past decade.

Since 2014, Fife has been home to six deaths alone which had to be fully investigated by the HSE, with four in Angus, three in Perth and Kinross and one in Dundee, and reports have been sent to the procurator fiscal in all cases.

However, Mrs Baker says there is a real rationale for change in that many families frequently feel justice is not properly being served.

Mrs Baker’s Bill would create two kinds of culpable homicide that means senior managers or company directors could be convicted of the offence if that person is held responsible for causing a death recklessly, or by gross negligence.

“Two hundred and thirty-one people have died in workplace accidents in Scotland over the past decade,” she said.

“That is 231 workers who didn’t return home to their families at the end of a shift- families whose lives have been changed forever.

“It is simply unacceptable to have workers dying as a result of negligence or recklessness by employers and this has to change.

“The law as it stands is not fit for purpose in cases where an employer or company needs to be held legally responsible for causing death.

“The law of culpable homicide needs to apply equally to all and provide a clear set of rules defining when individuals or organisations commit this offence.

“This Bill would do that and ensure involuntary deaths can be investigated under the same law regardless of where they happen.”

Families call for justice in workplace death law change bid© DC Thomson
Claire Baker MSP has introduced the Bill at Holyrood.

Six Tayside and Fife deaths – two in Fife, two in Angus and two in Perth and Kinross – were reported to the HSE alone in 2018/19.

Only one company in Scotland has ever been charged with the crime of culpable homicide – Transco for the deaths of four people in a gas explosion in Larkhall in 1999 – but that charge was subsequently dismissed by the Appeal Court as being irrelevant in law.

Transco was prosecuted for the alternative statutory offence of contravening the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and the court imposed a fine of £15 million.

But Mrs Baker hopes the proposal will improve employer accountability to reduce the number of workplace deaths.

Unions have thrown their support behind the plans.

Mike Kirby, Scottish secretary of UNISON Scotland, said: “We believe victims must see justice served.

“We believe the offence and potential penalties must serve as a real deterrence.

“We accordingly believe that the highest and most severe penalties must be available in appropriate cases. That must include custodial sentences.

“To ensure the consistent application of the law that we believe must be at the heart of this legislation we believe custodial sentences should be available not only in circumstances where the offence is committed by an individual but also in appropriate circumstances where an organisation is convicted.”

The HSE says any decisions to prosecute are made by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), but warned any changes to the law could place “significant” demands on its frontline resources.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) similarly expressed concerns about the impact the changes might have on “court time and relative court programming, associated staff and accommodation resources, and costs involved in relevant IT changes” but is watching the Bill with interest.

Police Scotland said it would not comment on bills going through the Scottish Parliament.

Family of man killed in Dundee fully supportive of proposed bill 

Families call for justice in workplace death law change bid© Supplied
Michael Adamson .

The sister of a man electrocuted at work in Dundee 15 years ago says a change in the law is needed to help grieving families secure closure.

Louise Taggart’s brother Michael Adamson was just 26 when he was killed on August 4, 2005, while working on a JJB Sports store in the City of Discovery.

Mitie Engineering Services (Edinburgh) was fined £300,000 after the electrician’s death, but Louise, who is now a member of Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) and a trustee of Scottish Hazards, a health and safety charity which looks to prevent workplace injuries, said the company’s conviction under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 was not “anywhere approaching justice” for the family.

“I expect you might receive objections from some quarters that these proposals are an unnecessary “burden on business”,” she said.

“But grandparents who are told by their granddaughter that all she wants from Santa is a big long ladder so that daddy can climb down from the sky, they bear the real burden.

“The mother who heads to court for the final day of her son’s employer’s prosecution with locks of his hair from the day he was born and the day he died, she bears the real burden.

“I urge those who will talk about burdens to think again, because it is we FACK families who have borne – and who will forever continue to bear – the burden of poor health and safety regulation and enforcement.

“Above all we want culpable homicide legislation that serves as a deterrent.

“Understand that there are very rarely “accidents at work”, because an accident waiting to happen is no accident.”

Families call for justice in workplace death law change bid© Supplied
Louise and Michael as kids.

Louise recalled how the advocate acting for the company in court described it as the “invisible man” sitting in the dock.

“The invisible man had been convicted of the health and safety failures that led to his death,” she added.

“But the invisible man did not take the decisions that resulted in Michael’s death, real-life individuals did.

“And far too frequently this is the case: a family bereaved by work is left to feel that we have failed our lost loved ones, because the justice system has failed us.

“For the victim’s family, where death occurs because of the reckless or grossly negligent conduct of a company, a prosecution under the Health and Safety at Work Act does not reflect the magnitude of the failures.

“They will only see justice being served if the company, and where appropriate its managers and directors, are prosecuted of a crime with the appropriate moral stigma and level of censure.”

Tragic bridge worker’s family “shocked and disappointed” by FAI outcome

Families call for justice in workplace death law change bid

A sheriff’s ruling that a worker’s death on the Queensferry Crossing was a “tragic accident” has not been accepted by his family.

John Cousin, 62, from Hexham in Northumberland, died on April 28, 2016, after being struck by a crane boom extension weighing 550kg while working as a foreman under the umbrella of Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC).

However, the outcome of the fatal accident inquiry into his death at Stirling Sheriff Court was unsatisfactory for his family.

Families call for justice in workplace death law change bid© Supplied
John Cousin.

His wife Gladys, daughter Sam and son Jon, who sat through harrowing evidence, said they had been left “very shocked and disappointed” at the sheriff’s findings.

“John was a highly skilled engineer and spent 40 years working around the world on large civil engineering projects so it is very hard to comprehend how this could have happened and simply how it has come to be that John is no longer with us,” the family said in a statement.

The inquiry heard that the 18-ton Giraf Track crane in question, which had been leased to FCBC by crane company GGR Group, was out of action at the time due to a burst hose that was leaking hydraulic oil.

The accident happened after GGR fitter Stewart Clark had been brought out to the bridge to help fix the machine and was working on it alongside Mr Cousin, the FAI heard.

Sheriff William Gilchrist ruled that the accident was caused by Mr Cousin removing a central pin which was holding a fly jib on to the boom arm of the crane, causing the jib to fall to the ground, striking him on the head and body.

The sheriff recommended consideration be given to having warning labels attached to pivot pins on cranes, “advising operators not to remove the pin without first having confirmed that the fly jib is secured by another pin”.

In a written determination, he said: “I can understand why Mr Cousin’s family might believe that he would not have removed the central pin on his own initiative.

“I can therefore understand why they might be critical of Stewart Clark’s competence and the training provided to him by his employers. However, on balance, I am not persuaded that he instigated or acquiesced in the removal of the pin.

“Accordingly, the criticisms of his training, while justified, cannot give rise to a finding of a defect in a system of work because any such defect would not have contributed to the cause of the accident.”

‘Our loved ones should not be memories’ – Victim’s family backing Bill

Families call for justice in workplace death law change bid© Supplied
Graham Meldrum.

The partner of a lorry driver who was crushed to death in Glasgow feels a fatal accident inquiry into his death failed to identify who was to blame.

Graham Meldrum, 40, died after being struck by a faulty tail lift on his truck while unloading at an Allied Bakery plant in the city in July 2005.

The fatal accident inquiry at Glasgow Sheriff Court heard Mr Meldrum, who was an agency driver for TNT, had only received about two hours training, and was also told that the tail lift mechanism of his lorry was defective.

Sheriff Sean Murphy QC said better training and vehicle maintenance could have prevented his death.

But while ABF Grain Products Limted was fined £19,500 and TNT Logistics fined £14,000 for three breaches and one breach respectively of health and safety legislation, Mr Meldrum’s family felt the outcome left more questions than answers.

His partner Karen Thomson said: “The sheriff said he was limited by Parliament in the level of fines he could impose for the offences to which both companies pleaded guilty.

“I am sure they would not have been as willing to enter a plea of guilty had the charge been culpable homicide.

“In our experience we may have had some answers, but Graham has not had justice, I have suffered the same injustice, Graham’s and my parents died having been denied justice and still to this day it would appear to be impossible to hold companies to account for acts of homicide in the workplace.

Karen said she was supporting Ms Baker’s proposals in another attempt to secure justice for Graham, and for all other families who have suffered the same “torment and injustice” as she has.

“We should not have to visit the site where Graham died, to pin flowers to the railings and fasten tributes to a tree,” she said.

“Our loved ones should not be memories, they should be living and breathing alongside us, living life to the full. Instead, Graham was denied his future.”

Health and Safety Executive probed six local workplace deaths last year

All six of the workplace-related fatalities in Tayside and Fife in 2018/19 are being probed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Most have been subject to fatal accident inquiries which have – so far at least – not led to any criminal proceedings.

Investigations are ongoing into the death of 29-year-old Gary Campbell, who died at Forfar’s Orchardbank Business Park on March 15 this year after an accident involving an oil tanker.

The HSE have specified the cause of death in the latter as the deceased being “trapped by something collapsing”, although it remains to be seen if any potential prosecution is forthcoming.

A report was submitted by Police Scotland to the procurator fiscal.

Elsewhere in Angus, Andrew Rose, 41, died after a fall from height while working in Brechin on June 8,2018.

In Perthshire, self-employed painter Martin Buchan, 37, died after his 10-metre-long metal ladder touched 11,000 volt overhead power lines at East Leys Lodge in Errol on April 2, 2018, while 54-year-old Graham Shaw died after a forklift accident on a farm near Coupar Angus on April 29, 2018.

In Fife, self-employed Alexander Wood, 65, died after being pulled from the water at Burntisland harbour on August 4, 2018, having been struck by an object while working in the Forth, and the HSE are similarly involved in the probe surrounding the death of 98-year-old Elizabeth Williamson at a care home in Cupar in March this year.

Families call for justice in workplace death law change bid

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