100 days in Cardiff – The hidden chapel of menswear

We Are Cardiff contributor Jeremy Rees is recording his days in and around Cardiff with 100 photographs of local points of interest. We’ll be publishing some of them here on We Are Cardiff – and make sure you tune in to Jeremy as he presents the Saturday Soulful Breakfast on Radio Cardiff!

The hidden chapel of menswear

hidden chapel of mens wear by jeremy rees

“I give you the curiosity of the Chapel in the middle of the House of Fraser (ex Howells) department store. Evidently when the shop wanted to expand sometime after the war, it simply built around the structure standing next to it – which happened to be the Bethany Chapel. There it remains – and if you stand in the shirts section and look up you can clearly see the whole front facade, still intact.” 


Thanks Jeremy! Catch you next time…

Cardiff’s volunteering dogs – meet Bob


Back in April 2012, we posted this great story from David Wills about volunteering for Civil Aid Voluntary Rescue Association (CAVRA) with his dog, Bob. We never posted all the photos from the photoshoot though … and there are some sweet ones. Check out Bob in his goggles, above!



“CAVRA was founded in 1998 at a time when flooding was overwhelming the emergency services in Cardiff and the Vale,” says Dave. “It is an entirely voluntary search and rescue organisation, and a registered charity. Our purpose is to provide back-up personnel and frontline assistance to the Emergency Services (Police, HM Coastguard etc) in a range of situations, including searches for missing persons, during times of adverse weather conditions, natural disaster or civil emergency. We are a lowland search and rescue unit specialising in flood and swift water rescue as well as recovery. At present CAVRA has around 30 volunteers. We are highly trained in First Aid and some of us have specialist skills in land search, All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) rescue, dog handling and water rescue. We also have a Rescue Boat on permanent standby in Cardiff Bay.”



About Bob – the rescue dog: “Bobby is my latest dog and the only dog I have trained in Search and Rescue. I rescued him myself from Croft Kennels in Bridgend. I was looking for a medium sized dog that I could train up as a Cadaver Dog. I ended up with a large boxer-cross who has an uncanny knack for finding the living! Boxers are not normally good search dogs but Bob is crossed with something (we don’t know what!), giving him some invaluable traits. Normally Search dogs are air sniffing tracker dogs trained to national standards.”




Civil Aid Voluntary Rescue Association (CAVRA) are always looking for volunteers. No experience necessary. You provide the time – they provide the training. http://www.cavra.org

David and Bob were photographed on the Cardiff Bay Barrage by Doug Nicholls.

100 days in Cardiff – Butetown streets

We Are Cardiff contributor Jeremy Rees is recording his days in and around Cardiff with 100 photographs of local points of interest. We’ll be publishing some of them here on We Are Cardiff – and make sure you tune in to Jeremy as he presents the Saturday Soulful Breakfast on Radio Cardiff!

My Butetown street

butetown by jeremy rees

“I’ve always had an interest in the history of where I’ve lived and I much prefer living in places that have a sense of connection with the past than a new development. The street I now live in was built as homes for seafarers and people who worked in the Docks, my house dates from 1896 and has survived two World Wars and the rampaging bulldozers of Cardiff Corporation in the 60s. But things are fast changing, a chapel dating from 1902 was demolished just a few months ago to make room for new flats at one end, and this week planning permission was granted for yet another one at the other end at the former seaman’s hospital. I know things do have to change, the population is fast growing and people need places to live, but I can’t help thinking we are losing more than just the buildings when the wrecking balls move in, we risk losing part of our identity too.”


Thanks Jeremy! Catch you next time…

100 days in Cardiff – the multi-cultural buildings of Wood Street

We Are Cardiff contributor Jeremy Rees is recording his days in and around Cardiff with 100 photographs of local points of interest. We’ll be publishing some of them here on We Are Cardiff – and make sure you tune in to Jeremy as he presents the Saturday Soulful Breakfast on Radio Cardiff!

The multi-cultural buildings of Wood Street

Photo by Jeremy Rees

“If you look closely you can see that these buildings in Wood Street Cardiff are unusual in that the stones used in their construction are a mix of various colours & textures. There are several examples of this in the city, but these are probably the most obvious, I love the story as to why this is. In the heyday of the coal industry millions of tons of the stuff was exported from Cardiff Docks to places all over the world. The ships that carried it needed to be weighed down to make the journey back, and so the same tonnage of stones from the country receiving the coal was dispatched back to the docks – where local builders could buy it very cheaply – hence so many of the old buildings in the City are constructed from a mix of stones from the four corners of the world.” 


Thanks Jeremy! Catch you next time…

100 days in Cardiff – The Stone Fox

We Are Cardiff contributor Jeremy Rees is recording his days in and around Cardiff with 100 photographs of local points of interest. We’ll be publishing some of them here on We Are Cardiff – and make sure you tune in to Jeremy as he presents the Saturday Soulful Breakfast on Radio Cardiff!

The Stone Fox

stone fox of bute park by jeremy rees

“The Stone Fox of Bute Park. At the heart of Cardiff is the castle – part medieval, part Gothic Victorian kitch. The park that surrounds it is beautiful, and peering over its wall is a wonderful collection of stone animals. This is my favourite – the crafty fox…” 

Thanks Jeremy! Catch you next time…

Reflections on Rhiwbina – Brian

Brian Dodd

Set below a picturesque back drop of the rolling hills of the Wenallt, with its patchwork of fields and woods, lies this pretty yet busy northern suburb of Cardiff. It still retains much of its original charm and the unspoilt nature of a bygone era. Furthermore, it’s my home, albeit my adopted home!

Approached from the south, the main road arches over the brow of the hill , underneath which passes the single line railway track that connects directly to the city centre. On first seeing the village ahead you might wonder where on earth you’d arrived. The ‘Gateway to India’ no less, stands invitingly on the first corner, the name of the oriental takeaway. Further along and opposite is the celebrated Juboraj restaurant with its varied and sumptuous curries all authentically and carefully prepared.

The ‘green house’, or more strictly the green-roofed bungalow, stands on the same site as the once well-loved and oft frequented newspaper and sweet shop, which also had a green painted roof. It was a favourite destination for school kids on the way home and wanting a cheap fix of confectionery. Its replacement is a chiropractice, and next to that an aromatherapy clinic for ‘treats’ of a different sort but very much in keeping with our modern holistic lifestyle.

At the crossroads with Pen-y-Dre you are greeted by the rather incongruous looking life-sized figures of Laurel and Hardy with animal models close by. You would be forgiven for thinking that they were advertising some sort of waxworks or museum. In fact, they stand outside the Virtual Service Centre for cars. Does that mean there really isn’t a garage there? Well yes and no! There is no garage on the premises. If your car needs servicing or repair it is collected, taken away, fixed and duly returned afterwards. How civilised!

On the corner of the increasingly busy junction with Beulah Road, stands Beulah United Reform Church dating back to 1890 and opposite that Beulah Assembly Rooms a popular venue for clubs, meetings and concerts. It would be easy to hasten past and hardly notice the secret garden to the rear, a quiet place to just sit and think or simply contemplate, just yards from the general buzz of village life.

There are plenty of places to browse, including trendy craft shops such as Cwtsh Bach with its handmade Bespoke curiosities, Cariad with all things Welsh and the Victoria Fearn Gallery with its array of interesting objects such fun pencils with character tops, pottery, artwork and wooden instruments. If you have a sweet tooth and keen eye you’ll soon come across the aptly named Sugar Mouse, with a selection of sweets and chocolates that have names more familiar to children of yesteryear but still able to entice children and their all too gullible and more than willing parents.

As we know shopping can be thirsty, tiring work so where better to stop for coffee or light lunch than the Olive Branch, the church run cafe with its recent makeover and where there’s always a welcome, and a chance to buy books, cards and gifts. There are other places to eat and buy refreshments such as the Whittaker Lounge or on Beualah Road, Snails Delicatessan serving soups, coffees, cakes and ice creams. At the far end of the village is the one charity shop, Tenovus, though at first glance you might think it a niche high class clothing shop which befits its surroundings.

Take a small detour from the main street through a narrow side lane and you are suddenly transported to the original early 20th century Garden Village with its quaint array of white-bricked semis arranged as a square around a spacious lawned centrepiece. Built in the 1920s, as a more pleasant and healthy residence for the working class it retains the timeless quality, if not its purpose, that its founding fathers intended all those years ago.

Wander around, stroll along the Welsh named streets , walk by the gentle stream that meanders through or relax in the green open spaces and soon you will discover many more fascinating facts, facets and delightful nooks that attracts one to this enchanting, inspiring part of a beautiful city.


Brian Dodd is a retired primary school teacher having taught in Cardiff for almost 40 years. He moved from Bristol to Cardiff in 1973 and loves the city. He has lived in Rhiwbina with his wife and family for 17 years. His favourite spots in the village are the old buildings, the stream and the parks away from the main streets. He says the village from the railway bridge with the Wenallt backdrop is lovely anytime of the year, but more so in the spring …


100 days in Cardiff – the Queen Street Clock

We Are Cardiff contributor Jeremy Rees is recording his days in and around Cardiff with 100 photographs of local points of interest. We’ll be publishing some of them here on We Are Cardiff – and make sure you tune in to Jeremy as he presents the Saturday Soulful Breakfast on Radio Cardiff!

The Queen Street clock

south wales echo clock by jeremy rees

“Today I give you a clock in Queen Street, Cardiff. It commemorates the centenary of the local paper ‘The South Wales Echo’ in 1984. It got me to thinking about how much reading a newspaper used to be part of my life every day, but now I get my news online and buying a paper is a rarity. So much has changed since that clock was installed 30 years ago – I wonder how long it will be before that newspaper is consigned to history – and who will then pay the bill to have the clock mended when it brakes down or needs to be put forward….”

Thanks Jeremy! Catch you next time…

100 days in Cardiff – The Non Pareil Market

We Are Cardiff contributor Jeremy Rees is recording his days in and around Cardiff with 100 photographs of local points of interest. We’ll be publishing some of them here on We Are Cardiff – and make sure you tune in to Jeremy as he presents the Saturday Soulful Breakfast on Radio Cardiff!

The Non Pareil Market

non pareil market by jeremy rees

A mystery… Nearby where I live in Cardiff Bay (The Docks as it’s still known to many) there is a arch into a small housing development. Inlayed into the brickwork is a stone from a much earlier time bearing the words ‘Nonpareil Market 1889′. I pass by this arch often and wonder what the market sold and what happened to it. Oddly though, I can find no record of it either online or in the local history books – but it is clear that I’m not the first person to try to find out. All I can glean is that Nonpareil was the name of a sugar plantation in Guyana, South America – I know that many Guyanans settled in Tiger Bay and the Docks so that may be a clue, but as to where the stone came from and why it’s there, that’s still a mystery.”

Do you know about the origins of the Non Pareil Market sign? Leave us your comments below…

100 days in Cardiff – The Old Bank in Bute Street

We Are Cardiff contributor Jeremy Rees is recording his days in and around Cardiff with 100 photographs of local points of interest. We’ll be publishing some of them here on We Are Cardiff – and make sure you tune in to Jeremy as he presents the Saturday Soulful Breakfast on Radio Cardiff!

The Old Bank in Bute Street

The Old Bank by Jeremy Rees

“The grand sandstone building at the centre of today’s picture is The Old Bank in Bute Street, Cardiff. In the heyday of the docks and the coal industry it was a bustling financial centre where the worlds 1st million pound cheque was cashed. These days the building is home to many small organisations including too that I volunteer for myself – REF and ACE Cardiff – so I spend quite a bit of time for one thing or another. I was there today with the VCS Stall at a community event. The grand hall is magnificent – but today, boy was it cold!”


Thanks Jeremy! Catch you next time…

Cardiff Alms – Jodie


The Cabin

Roald Dahl referred to the sweet shop in Boy as ‘the very centre of our lives. To us, it was what a bar is to a drunk or a church is to a Bishop.’ And I would hasten to agree.

What The Cabin brought us, with her little round windows and moss-green roof tiles, was a haven. She was the communal grandmother, the saccharine reward to keep me still in church that became a Sunday ritual.

With my pocket money burning a hole through my ladybird purse, I would count out penny sweets into the paper bag, pondering over my selection. Kola Kubes, Millions, Sherbet Lemons, Milk Bottles, Flying Saucers, Lemon Bonbons; all were scrutinised and mulled over. Not just anyone got in.

Once, the man behind the counter informed me, to my horror, that I was one penny short. He winked at me and told me not to tell anyone, handing over the corrupted bag with its nefarious stash. I reached up and took it, awe-struck. I couldn’t believe he’d put his neck on the line just for me. There and then I made a solemn oath that to my dying day, I would not reveal this treacherous debt. As soon as I got home, I hid the incriminating sweet bag in the back of Noel, my zip up monkey, and took from it furtively.

She’s a chiropractic clinic now, the Cabin. They tore out her wooden shelves, shelves which used to hold jar upon jar of tooth-rotting bribes and sticky enticers, to make room for treatment couches. They lino’d over the wood and white-washed her walls. Now people go there to get their backs cracked and joints adjusted.

It just doesn’t seem as fun.

May she rest in peace.

The Monico

We are gathered here today in remembrance of a lady dear to all our hearts, who has now been demolished and turned into luxury flats.

I remember when it happened. After years of darkness she sat blinking in the sun, her back wall ripped out, exposing row up row of faded red seats. Through the lesion I could see her sleepy projector window clouded with glaucoma, and her set of centre steps which now just led to nothing.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t done with any kind of decorum. It was as if someone had bent her over, lifted up her brown and yellow skirt and showed her big granny knickers to the world.
And that was that, the heavy velvet curtains drawn on the days of Saturday cinema, the screechy Wurlitzer organ and the parade of birthday children. The credits had rolled on the excitement of seeing the stern-faced, Mr Monico in the foyer and the nomination of who was going to ring up the answer machine to get the timetable.

Her carpets were sticky with generations of ‘not to be sold separately’ cans of coke, kernel-heavy popcorn and overpriced Revels. “Keep the floor neat beneath your feet”, she’d say, “Refreshments are available in the lobby,” and then serenade us with the ‘Pearl and Dean’ theme tune.

She was a place of playdates, first dates and Beauty and the Beast. Not to mention burgeoning romances and first-time teenage fumblings. I distinctly remember a man smoking in there once, big puffs billowing up through the projector beam. My mum was too polite to say anything.

Mr Monico came through my brother’s till in Tesco a few years after, and he was surprised to learn that his name wasn’t Mr Monico at all, it was in fact, Mr Bull. He looked genuinely upset when he later informed me of this.

And so, with a heavy heart, we say goodbye to this Disney sympathiser, Titanic trader and Star Wars supplier.

We’ll miss you.

The Bandstand

A friend to the people of Cardiff and to Bon Jovi, the Bandstand was a man to be trusted and depended upon. He the meeting place for countless people over numerous generations. I myself used to wait for friends with him, in the days before mobile phones, when we just made solid plans. I also spent most of an afternoon with him once, queueing to meet the Super Furry Animals in Virgin Megastore. There was an awkward picture of me in the Echo the next day, clutching my newly signed copy of ‘Rings Around the World’ and looking like, as I did for about a year, the oldest one from Hanson.

“I’ll see you there at eleven”, we’d say, carefully timing our phone call to try to avoid the embarrassment of having to speak to one of our friend’s parents. I’d only had the five minute window of when my mum chucked my brother off the dial-up so I could use the phone. “You should get outside more”, she’d tell him, brushing back her perm and adjusting her massive glasses. So, bang on eleven we’d turn up in our peasant tops and Gwen Stefani bindis, skirting the Goths which congregated on him to smoke.

He supplied a familiar facade, a destination to aim for. He was reliable and stalwart, a permanent fixture. And then one day, he was gone. It happened so fast it was over before I’d even acknowledged it.

They paved over his uprooted foundations and twisted his ribs up through the concrete to make bike racks.

People walk over his grave every day and have no idea he was ever there.

Rhiwbina Infants
I am happy to see so many of her friends here today, and I’m sure many of you will remember her with the same fondness and affection as I do.

She had been my first teacher. She had stuck star stickers on my recorder and taught me how to write my name. She was there the time I forgot my vest and had to do PE with my dress tucked into my knickers, and when Sophie peed herself during assembly and I had to keep shuffling further and further back to escape the spread.

She had sympathised with me when I was sick all over her parquet floor (in my black and white stripy jumper) and the time I was caught drawing pencil stars on the desk (wearing the cursed flowery dress which I refused to wear ever again). I was made to wipe them off with the entire class stood around the table watching, my face hot and red.

“You missed a bit,” said Chloe, which was ludicrous, as she had drawn just as many stars as me. In fact, she had drawn the first. It was that moment that I realised that there was no justice in the world.

It was a sad time, the night she burnt down. I was there myself, watching her impromptu pyre from the fence, bundled up in my snowflake dressing gown and wellies. I remember feeling the heat on my face and the cold autumn air on my back, like ice cream and warm chocolate sauce.
We stood in silence, the whole street, the dead air punctured by a steady crackle and the occasional muffled crunch. Her immolation was hard to watch. I thought of all the ‘mummy and daddy’ crayon drawings and the painted hand prints that were now reduced to just spiralling embers.

But she lives on through us. I have many fond memories of her, which I’m sure you all do too. She was a teacher to us all.


It is with great sadness that I stand in front of you to remember the life of Zeus. He was a brother, a father and a friend, not to mention a matchmaker and a pretty damn good dancer.
For me, he bridged the gap between childhood and adolescence, a neon lantern in the dark no-man’s land of the first few years of high school. Through his under-sixteen nights he taught me about boys, about wearing heels and the importance of keeping your head up during a foam party.

We’d queue round the block for an hour or so, girls on one side, boys on the other. The doormen would check our pockets for cigarettes and our bags for booze. I never tried to sneak anything in, I was far too much of a goody two shoes. One time, the woman on the door gave me an odd look when she reached into the pockets of my denim jacket and found them packed to the brim with sanitary towels. My mum said I only needed to take one, two at the most, but I always was paranoid about stuff like that.

Once inside, we’d totter up the stairs in our super cool wedged sandals and pedal pushers and immediately cluster in a corner. We couldn’t believe what some of the girls were wearing.

After scoping it out a bit, and getting the obligatory group photo taken (that’s three pounds each, you can pick it up on the way out), we’d make our way over to the dance floor. He’d always play the 90s favourite, ‘Livin’ la Vida Loca’, which was always, always followed up with ‘Mambo Number Five’. We’d always dance in a circle, not daring to put our handbags down after our parent’s stern warnings: there could be kids from Cantonian here.

Although someone now stands where he once stood, he’ll always be special to us. He was the platform for our first foray into adulthood, showed us what it was going to be like from there on in, taught us what it was to be big.

And for that, I thank him.


Jodie Kay Ashdown was born in Rhiwbina in the golden days of 1985, but now walks her dog on the streets of Llandaff North. She places myself firmly in the ‘Cardiff born, Cardiff bred’ category. To top it off, she’s now studying an English and Creative Writing degree at Cardiff Met and plans to complete a Masters there after that. She spent just under four years travelling around the world experiencing such delights as snake feasting, being bitten by a monkey and contracting acute giardiasis. But no matter how far she travels, she always ends up back here, and it’s always a pleasure to come home. In Cardiff, you’ll usually find her in one of the proper pubs around Womanby Street, with a gin and tonic and probably a good book. 

She was photographed at Trout Books by Adam Chard


Snapped Up Market – Furry Little Creatures at the Printhaus

Contributing writer Jodie Ashdown popped along to the Snapped Up Market at the Printhaus to have a go at some activities. Here’s what she got up to!

Printhaus Snapped Up Market

Sitting just off the main street, nestled in between closed hairdressers and Sunday drinkers is a special little place. A place that throws open its doors to the public so that they can print, shop, sew, hammer and drink craft beer to their heart’s content.

And this place is called the Snapped-Up Market.

Occurring quarterly, the Snapped-Up Market is a hands-on experience with activities suitable for adults and children and an overarching theme unique to that particular market. This time the market, which took place on the 6 April 2014, was focused around the theme ‘Furry Little Creatures’. Previous themes have included ‘Heroes & Comix’ and ‘Circus’.

Taking place in the Printhaus workshop on Llandaff Road, the market is a chance for local artists, artisans and generally artistic people to come along and show their wares, as well as giving us less-creative folk the chance to try our hand at making something awesome.

Printhaus Snapped Up Market

Printhaus Snapped Up Market

We are Cardiff headed down on the day to try out a few of the crafts and sample one, maybe two, of the beers.

Snapped Up Market

The atmosphere is immediately uplifting, even in the dreary rainfall of a cloudy April Sunday. Everyone is friendly and relaxed, not just the stallholders and artists but also the customers who meander, coffee in hand, through the workshop under crisscrossed bunting surrounded by original art. The graffiti artwork adorning the outer walls is an accurate indication of the creative hub inside. We decided to have a go at a few of the activities on offer.

First up was Alys from www.thepocketpirate.com. Aside from selling, among other things, handmade cushions, fabric purses and bags, Alys provides you with the opportunity to make a leather purse. The procedure is pretty simple: you choose your leather, cut, mark, stick, sew, chat and then you’re done. A simple but effective project, all for £7.

Jodie at the Printhaus

Next was Lydia who will guide you through making your own silver ring. It’s a satisfying process involving a hammer, acid and a blow torch. For obvious reasons, you have to be over 16 years old but it’s a pretty unique way of hammering out your frustrations and turning them into something beautiful. Lydia also has an array of silver jewellery on sale at the market and also does bespoke designs. Here’s her website: www.niziblian.com.


The printing part of the market came next. The Printhaus ( www.theprinthaus.org ) have a good stock of printing equipment which the team (Nigel, Tom, Jude and Rob) bought after some pretty solid fundraising, which can be used to put designs on all manner of things including t-shirts, tote bags and tea towels. They run courses on site and there’s an option to become a member, meaning that after training and induction you can use the facilities whenever you want for a small fee. They’re a not-for-profit organisation who want to help bridge the gap between school or college to starting a business by providing an art space and all the necessary equipment.


I began my printing escapades with Helen of www.nellystreasures.com who took me through putting a design onto a tea towel. Helen also had a clothing rail and other pretty special knitted items for sale as well as being a dab hand at screen printing. Next to Helen is the kids table where the little ‘uns can get in on the action, I don’t know what they were doing but it definitely sounded like fun.

Snapped Up Market teatowel

Furnished with my special new tea towel, I headed over to the Print Haus guys to pick out a design for my t-shirt and tote bag. The guys will guide you through everything, even the oddly satisfying act of seeing your newly printed t-shirt drop all nice and warm out of the end of the tunnel dryer, it’s slightly akin to freshly baked bread. T-shirts are just £10 including printing and the tote bags are £5.

Snapped Up Market

And there were other activities I didn’t even get round to, not to mention the many stalls and craft tables set up. It is a creative and friendly environment with a real sense of community with an admirable ethos; provide an accessible and open environment in which anyone can learn everything about printing and create one off designs. And not only that, the opportunity is offered to become a member and then display your wares at the Snapped-Up Market. The project is a breath of fresh air from the big brand, high street take over and is one which definitely deserves to be supported.


Run by locals, for locals, supporting locals and good fun for kids and adults. It’s a sweet initiative and something which Cardiff could really do with more of.

The next market is on 6 July – keep an eye on the Printhaus Facebook page for updates – and the theme is Wrestling. I’ll see you there.

Printhaus outside

Printhaus Snapped Up Market

For more information about The Printhaus and all the excellent things they do there…

The Printhaus website

Printhaus Facebook

Snapped Up Market Facebook page – next event 6 July for a wrestling-themed day!


“This year my dad is 25-years epilepsy free – and running his first marathon” – Jane

This week, Jane Cook shares the story of her remarkable, epilepsy-defeating, marathon-running dad Bruce. Read on!

Bruce Cook


My dad is 58 years old and in November last year, he announced that he wanted to run the London marathon in 2014. We all thought he was talking rubbish and didn’t really listen, until he came down the stairs to announce that he had been offered a place in the Marathon on behalf of a Children’s disability charity. Suddenly we realised he was actually serious.

My dad has lived in Cardiff all of his life. When he was a kid, he was racing homemade go-karts on Roath Court Road with a bunch of other boys his age. Trying to show off to his Grandma, he came shooting down the road at speed when one of the other boys pushed their kart in to his path. The karts collided with such force that my dad flew in to the air, and as he came down, he hit his head on the concrete pavement. Three weeks later, he started having epileptic seizures.

For years, my dad tried different medication to control his epilepsy, but nothing worked. He couldn’t get a driving license because he never knew when an attack might come on. Once, he even ended up having an attack and losing control whilst on his bike, and he crashed through the front door of a corner shop on Treharris Street. He managed to roll all the way up to the counter in the midst of a blackout before crashing a heap on the floor. On another occasion, he fell off a train platform in Cornwall and had to be pulled off the tracks.

When I was about three years old, my dad became one of the first people in the world to have a groundbreaking type of treatment. First, doctors cut a circular hole in his skull. Then they fixed electrodes to his brain that would monitor its activity (I am using layman’s terms). Then everyone waited.

A week later, my dad had another seizure, and as a result, the doctors were able to pinpoint the exact area of his brain that was damaged. They set to work in removing the damaged tissue, which amounted to be the size of a human fist. Afterwards, they replaced the piece of skull, and sewed it all back up. For the next few months and years, it was a waiting game – not only to see whether the operation had been a success, but also to make sure that nothing else had been damaged in the process.

Fast forward 25 years, and the date of the London Marathon is just one day off being the 25th anniversary of my dad’s operation – and marks 25 years of my dad being epilepsy-free. Despite the fact that my dad started his marathon training by going for a jog in a pair of jeans and his work shoes, last weekend he (quite unbelievably) completed his first 20-miler. His route takes him all over Cardiff – usually from our house in Penylan, via Lisvane and over to Cefn Onn Country Park, then back home via a couple of laps of Roath Park Lake.

The money raised by my dad will be donated to a charity called Phab which encourages equality and integration for disabled and able bodied children. If you would like to help him reach his fundraising target of £1,600, you can donate via his fundraising page.



Jane Cook is the proud daughter of Bruce Cook, who will be running his first London Marathon this year. Help him raise money for his chosen charity Phab by donating to his fundraising page. The family currently live in Penylan.