Wednesday, 19 June 2019

My book of celebrities and their first records

My book of celebrities and their first records

A MAN has interviewed celebrities about coping with cancer after his mother died from the disease.

Tim Darvell, 53, has published a book for which he asked about 65 people about their life and career.

It is called The Record because he also asked them what the first record they bought was.

Mr Darvell’s mother, Jennifer, who died of bowel cancer in August 2016, aged 80, was born at the former Sun Inn in Northfield End, Henley.

She stayed there until she was two when her parents Bill and Marjorie Sweetzer, who were tenants, moved to a pub in Maidenhead.

Mr Darvell, who works for his family’s firm John Darvell Packaging in Medmenham, said: “My mum was diagnosed in 2012 and I wanted to give something back and that led me to fund-raising and writing about my experience and meeting people.

“That book was called Life and Times but during that time mum’s health started to decline and when she died in 2016 I thought there was another book in me.

 “Cancer is such a wide subject. If you did a book on the River Thames or bridges you’d be limiting your audience. Bowel cancer is Britain’s second biggest cancer killer.”

The book took him two-and-a-half years to produce.

Those who took part include rower Zac Purchase-Hill, author Deborah James, aka “Bowel Babe”, actress Susan George, broadcasters Gaby Roslin, Jim Rosenthal, Nick Robinson, Bill Turnbull, Siân Lloyd, Matt Allwright, Gail Porter, Gregg Wallace and Colin Murray, pop stars Billy Ocean and Kim Wilde and comedians David Baddiel, Lucy Porter and, er, Basil Brush.

Mr Darvell, who lives in Reading, said: “I am very much concentrating on the people themselves and their stories rather than my own.

“I met Basil Brush at the Theatre Royal Windsor and I found out that his creator died of bowel cancer.

“I met former football payer and manager Eddie Gray at the Leeds United ground and he was fascinating to talk to. He told me about when Brian Clough came in after Don Revie. He was a Revie man but he totally respected Clough.

“When I met Jim Rosenthal at a pub in Maidenhead he told me about the time he met Muhammad Ali and he gave me a photograph to use in the book, which was a real highlight.”

The celebrities had a wide range of musical tastes with Kim Wilde’s first record being Big Seven by Judge Dread. Colin Murray’s was Agadoo by Black Lace, Bill Turnbull’s was Revolver by the Beatles and Gaby Roslin’s was a Top of the Pops compilation from the Seventies.

Mr Darvell said: “There were all sorts of records — I think someone actually said Mr Blobby.”

He contacted his famous interviewees via their agents or social media and would keep messaging them until he got an answer either way.

Fewer than 20 people turned him down and he says those that agreed to help could not have been more

Mr Darvell is thrilled with the book, which is about 200 pages long with 80,000 words.

He added: “I am over the moon with it and I know that my mum would have loved it. One hundred per cent of the sales profits will be donated to Bowel Cancer UK.” 

The Record is available in hardback (£32.99), paperback (£12.99) and as an ebook (3.99) at

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