Henry Wong Harborne

Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity present Henry Wong Harborne with a Certificate of Appreciation to mark the restaurant raising £50,000 to date to support Fisher House UK. 

Jas Sansi was there to capture this incredible milestone.

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Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity (QEHBC) run Fisher House UK, offering support to patients as well as the UK’s Military patients.

Fisher House is a “home away from home” for military patients and their families on the site of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. Fisher House opened in 2013 and has since offered free accommodation for thousands of military patients and their families.

In Remembrance Week, where the country reflected on the sacrifices made by Military Personnel, it was heartening to see the team at Henry Wong Harborne receive a Certificate of Appreciation for the incredible work they do raising funds for this charity organisation.


The Certificate was presented to Marianne Liu and Ricky Wong by QEHBC’s CEO Mike Hammond to mark the restaurant reaching the milestone of raising £50,000 for the charity.

The presentation was made during last night’s fundraiser for Fisher House UK, where an additional £9,500 was raised.

Parm Rai, Director of Henry Wong Harborne sharing his thoughts said ‘Its a privilege to work with QEBH and Fisher House. It’s also very humbling and a great honour to receive such an accolade and certificate.’

Fisher House name each of their rooms with a Geographical location to reflect where their biggest donors are from, in addition to the Certificate of Appreciation, Mike Hammond also announced the naming of one of the rooms to ‘Harborne‘ to acknowledge the support from Henry Wong Harborne.

Last night’s fundraiser was sponsored by Hapusa Spirits who produce ‘Greater Than’ and ‘Apusha’ Gin, India’s first craft Gins. Their Mixologist Swani was on site alongside Daljit Jagait who spoke about the company’s move into Gin production in Goa, experimenting with all types of spices and using some of the finest botanicals in the world.

62 Daljit Jagait, Marianne Liu and Mike Hammond and Swani.JPG

Henry Wong Harborne are the first one to stock ‘Greater Than’ Gin and ‘Apusha.’

Congratulations to all the team at Henry Wong Harborne on this incredible milestone.

Full set of images at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jassansi/albums/72157711782616631

Henry Wong Harborne: http://henrywongharborne.co.uk

QEHB: http://www.hospitalcharity.org

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham @jassansi 07930 837 505, a trustee for LoveBrum and contributor to The Asian Today newspaper.

Birmingham Awards; Recognise, Reward and Roar.

Birmingham Awards return for the fifth year to stamp overdue praise on the city’s brightest and best.

Jas Sansi was there to capture the Award winners celebrating a sparkling night at the Library of Birmingham.



Heading across the city to photograph the Birmingham Awards, a young person asked me for directions to Opheem, the Indian restaurant owned by Aktar Islam. He was starting a shift there but must have taken a wrong turn. There are only eight Indian Restaurants in the world with a Michelin Star so no surprising it was hard to find.

I walked him to Summer Row to ensure he wasn’t late and risk what is undoubtedly a great opportunity for a young person making his way in the field of hospitality. At Summer Row, he regained his bearings and sped off to start his shift thanking me for directions. I watched him as he disappeared in the pouring rain, about the same age as my daughter, making her first steps in a big city.


The notion of Birmingham being home to a Michelin Star would have been scoffed at when I was his age, but now, we have five; Adams, Carters, Purnells, Simpsons as well as Opheem. It’s not the notion of culinary excellence that’s being scoffed now.

Brum has been on a remarkable journey over recent years. A journey, for which, the Birmingham Awards was established, by Ifraz Ahmed and Anita Chumber to recognise, reward and roar.

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Hosting the awards at the Library of Birmingham was a stroke of genius. The logistics of transforming the space from a learning environment to one holding an Awards Dinner are almost impossible to comprehend.


Access to create the magic was granted at 5pm. 500 guests were expected at 6:30pm. If you do the maths, you realise, the maths cannot be done. Unless of course you have people managing the ‘Get In’ to include Unique Venues Birmingham on site, Mahirs Experience on catering, Purple Square on the Audio Visuals, Vibrant Networks on the IT and Aston Performing Arts on the Entertainment. Above and beyond does not begin to describe what these teams achieved.


Doors opened on time for registration and a drinks reception hosted by Bottega Birmingham headed up by Evelyn Armstrong, pictured below with Shelia Kelly-Trow.



It was great to see familiar faces and new faces at the annual event. A recent statistic demonstrated Birmingham attracts a lot of on line attention, ranking very high in the number of social media posts about the city. However, when this figure is adjusted for population size, our position falls drastically. We need to bring more people into the conversation, and not rely on more conversation from the same people.


Birmingham Awards 2019 was hosted by Heart FM’s Ed James who did a fabulous job as always in bringing the whole evening together. The Drive Time presenter tweeted ‘The great and good were out in force to collaborate, support and elevate this amazing city of ours.’


Special thanks to headline sponsor Bobby Singh from Love Your Postcode who has redefined the concept of branding in becoming one of the most recognised individuals in the region. Bobby Singh hasn’t just disrupted, he has shaken the foundations and blown the ceiling off Property and Real Estate Management.


Keynote Speaker was Midlands Metro Mayor Andy Street. Mayor Andy Street has fuelled the success our region has enjoyed over recent years whilst adopting a unifying tone at a time of national division.

It was great to hear from Andy who addressed the floor and disagreed with the belief most people consider Manchester the second city, he suggested London was now the second city with Brum firmly at the top.


Thank you to Birmingham Awards for supporting LoveBrum on the evening. LoveBrum is the charity for an even better Birmingham, supporting local projects bringing real change to our city. 


Great to hear from LoveBrum Chair Tim Andrews and CEO Paul Mitchell.


Congratulations to all finalists around whom the entire evening was shaped. Let’s take a look at the winners:

Arts & Culture Award: Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) 

263 Arts and Culture Award - MAC

Social Enterprise of the Year – Evolve Birmingham

274 Social Enterprise of the Year - Evolve Birmingham

Contribution to Education Award – Sarah Mulin (Priory School)

282 Contribution to Education Award - Sarah Mulin (Priory School)

Young Achiever of the Year – Anna Assinder

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Bar or Pub of the Year – Hotel du Vin Birmingham

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Business of the Year – Unique IQ ltd

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Sporting Initative of the Year – WBC Womens Boxing Club

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Community Initiative or Charity of the Year – Birmingham St Marys Hospice

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Restaurant of the Year – Chung Ying Cantonese

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Small Business of the Year – Trimz and Tantrumz Childrens Salon

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Professional of the Year – Stephanie Taylor

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Venue of the Year – Aston Villa Holte Suite

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Business Man of the Year – Stacey Barnfield

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Business Woman of the Year – Natalie Taylor-Herrick

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Judges Award – Hailey Hanson

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Networker of the Year – Adam Andrew Hayes

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Excellence in Media – Balvinder Sidhu (ITV)

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Best Shopping Experience – Touchwood

567 Best Shopping Experience - Touchwood

Independent Retailer of the Year – Chouchoute Chocolaterie

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Best Use of Social Media or Marketing – Birmingham Hippodrome

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Brummie of the Year – Anita Bhalla OBE

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Lifetime Achievement – Jaki Graham (Award collected by Jaki’s daughter Natalie)

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Looking forward to seeing you all again at Birmingham Awards 2020. Birmingham is a remarkable city and this is absolutely our time in the spotlight. Great work everyone in delivering another fabulous night in Brum.

Full set of images: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jassansi/albums/72157711708092378

Birmingham Awards: https://www.birminghamawards.co.uk

LoveBrum: http://lovebrum.org.uk

Love Your Postcode: http://loveyourpostcode.com

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham, a trustee for LoveBrum and contributor to The Asian Today newspaper.

@jassansi 07930 837 505


Does Liverpool Depend on The Beatles too much?

The Guide Liverpool posed this question on Twitter and I’ve been giving it a lot of thought over the past 24 hours.

I couldn’t compress my answer into a 280 character tweet. 

10 The Beatles

Cities are hubs where ideas are born. Collaboration by proximity to others allow these ideas to develop.

Cities are brick, steel and glass sculptures shaped around the humans who inhabit them. Hard spaces softened by nature that allow a metropolis to breathe.

From these urban environments, individuals spring who absorb their surroundings, through sight, sound, touch and taste. The interpretation of experience returns to society, shaping peers and future generations. As human beings, we have never stopped drawing on cave walls.

Liverpool gave birth to four individuals who came together and created from blank paper, ink and chords something that resonated with the entire planet. Their art, crafted from post war Liverpool spoke to the world and the world listened.

Their contribution to humanity is incredible. It’s a legacy that has carried the city’s name to every corner of the world. Does Liverpool depend on The Beatles too much? This is a very difficult question.

I read recently, one in nine pounds spent in Liverpool is directly linked to the city’s association with the Beatles brand. This statistic alone suggests Liverpool is heavily dependent  on the Fab Four’s legacy.

Liverpool has positioned itself as a cultural destination, welcoming visitors from around the world. Tourism is the world’s biggest employer and every destination needs a unique identity in order to attract those visitors.

As a city, it has much to offer. Liverpool heritage did not begin or end with John, Paul, George and Ringo, but their contribution is too big to ignore. The question is how does Liverpool strike the right balance when a specific contribution is so far off the scale?

It has to be done with pride, respect and a feeling that as a city region, Liverpool produced The Beatles long before George Martin did, and whatever created such a collaboration, can do so again.

The geography of Liverpool’s waterfront presents a city that looks out to the world. It was one The Beatles conquered with their music. Just as the waterfront allows a vista onto the world, The Beatles allows the city to look inwards to itself.

Liverpool shaped those four young men, and the question of depending too much on them is like asking if a parent relies too much on their child. The two are intertwined and joined in eternity. There can never be too much dependance.

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham. A trustee for LoveBrum and contributor to The Asian Today newspaper. 

@jassansi 07930 837 505




Midlands Women in Tech Awards 2019

Jas Sansi attends the first ever Awards Ceremony celebrating Midlands Women in Technology. 

Here’s his take on why these awards are vital in helping steer the aspiration of greater diversity in Tech. 


Last night the inaugural Midlands Women in Technology Awards showcased some of the region’s brightest stars in Tech.

009 Julie Mortimer, Lucy Powell, Gabrielle Barthelemy and Jo Perrins

Keynote speaker Jacqueline de Rojas expressed her joy in seeing an awards event celebrating the contribution of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) outside of London.

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This was an important event to host, showcase and talk about. The lack of gender diversity in technology exposes vulnerability in this sector for our region.


Technology is shaping our lives in ways we could not envisage in the past. It is vital, in order to be at the cutting edge, to attract, retrain and foster the greatest talent available.


It’s vital women in technology are recognised and their achievements showcased in order to inspire those who want to succeed in the industry. If young girls read about and see other females achieving success in technology, it can only be beneficial in helping achieve their aspirations.


I envisage these awards growing year on year. Technology is moving at the speed of light, its bewildering for those of us entrenched in analogue lifestyles. In Manchester this week, I struggled to hail a cab, every one that passed operated under the umbrella of a tech start up operation bookable via an app.

021 Catherine Gibb, Laurie Phillips, Claire Carthy, Patricia McIntosh and Fay Gleeson.JPG

Earlier this week, I tweeted about the Laundromat at my daughter’s University Halls where the washing machine has an app built in which notifies her when the washing cycle is complete.

069 Preeya Verma, Olga Ciastko, Lynda Gillson and Gemma Cottrell.JPGThis was read by 14,000 people and attracted 95 likes. Technology and the Internet of Things will increasingly design our lifestyles and life choices. It’s something we either embrace, in the way Women in Tech Awards do or we risk being left behind, on the side of the road hailing a cab that no longer exists.

Congratulations to all finalists at Midlands Women in Tech Awards 2019. Here’s a list of the night’s winners:


Start Up Founder Award – Sonu Bubna (Shopper.com)

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Apprentice Award – Shannon Lynch (JLR)

054 Apprentice Award - Shannon Lynch (JLR).JPG


Rising Star Award – Emily Lawton (REPL Group)

057 Rising Star Award - Emily Lawton (REPL Group)


Academic Award – Paula Mendes (University of Birmingham)

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Tech for Good Award – Cate Rae (Widgit Software)

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Innovator Award – Melissa Snover (Nourish3d)

083 Innovator Award - Melissa Snover (Nourish3d).JPG


Best Digital Lead Award – Pat Crossley-Smith (Methods)

084 Best Digital Lead Award - Pat Crossley-Smith (Methods).JPG


Shining Star Award – Amandip Jheeta (TATA Consultancy)

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Lifetime Achievement Award – Mary Lee Berners-Lee

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See the full set of images here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jassansi/albums/72157711187148668


Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham, Diversity Trustee for LoveBrum and contributor to The Asian Today newspaper.

@jassansi 07930 837 505


Commonwealth Games 2022 Celebrates the Region

Jas Sansi joins the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce for their annual Patron’s Dinner.

Keynote speaker James Walsh, Head of Legacy & Engagement at Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 shares insight of what we can expect in three years. 


In a huge year for English Cricket, Hotel du Vin are about to hit a quarter of a century. The Birmingham hotel welcomed guests for the ABCC event where President Qasim Majid thanked Patrons for their continuing support in a year where membership grew 13%.


The makeup of membership is changing with increasing numbers of Digital Companies as well as those operating in Agriculture joining the organisation.


Ticket sales for the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce annual awards have now gone live. I’m looking forward to 7th December 2019 where the winners will be announced at the Motorcycle Museum in Solihull.


There are two new categories; Best Venue and Family Business of the Year. Nominations close on 27th September 2019, so if you know organisations and companies that deserve recognition, reach out to ABCC Director Anjum Khan at A.Khan@birmingham-chamber.com


Keynote speaker James Walsh who has recently joined Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 shared some fascinating insight into what will be the biggest sporting event ever held in the region.


2022 will be the first Commonwealth Games to have more medal awards for women than men. The introduction of Women’s Cricket tipped the balance.


The Commonwealth Games 2022 will inject over a Billion Pounds into the region with a three to one return on investment.


There are a total of 19 sports in a spectacle that will showcase not only Birmingham but the entire region with events being held in Solihull, Sandwell, Coventry, Cannock Chase and Leamington Spa. Cycling will be held at Lee Valley Velopark in London.


Alexander Stadium is in the process of being transformed into a 30,000 seat arena for the duration of the games. This will be reduced to 18,000 following the Games.


The Queen’s Baton Relay will visit all of the Commonwealth Countries before returning back to the UK.


I was pleased to hear how the games will benefit not only Brum but the wider region allowing a celebration of the Midlands.

Huge thanks to Hotel du Vin and Malmaison for hosting the event. The refurbishment has transformed the popular hotel on Church Street ahead of the brand’s 25th Anniversary. Definitely a medal winner for Brum.


Thank you to James Walsh for bringing guests up to date on 2022.

Massive thank you to the Patrons who ensure the ABCC continues to fly the flag for the region’s businesses. See you on 7th December.

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham @jassansi 07930 837 505



Birmingham Conference and Event Venues

Having photographed Conferences across the UK and Europe for over a decade, Jas Sansi looks at the best venues in his home city of Birmingham.

A summary of the best venues and what makes them stand out.

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As we enter the Conference and Awards Season, I’ve listed a number of the outstanding venues here in Brum.

Birmingham is ideally placed at the very heart of the UK to be considered your first choice for hosting an event. 90% of the the entire country’s population is less than four hours away.

However, it isn’t geography that makes Brum the number one choice for business and leisure, its the people. I’ve enjoyed working in all of these venues and it’s always the teams who ensure the smooth delivery of events that make a difference.

Whether you’re flying in, driving or letting the train take the strain, you will receive a very warm Birmingham welcome. Let me know if I need to include any others.

IET Austin Court  @IETvenues  ietvenues.co.uk


Great location on the canals of Birmingham. Close to the bars and restaurants of Brindleyplace, as well as the city’s entertainment quarter, Westside BID.
IET Austin Court is like a Tardis, it looks small on the outside, but expands exponentially inside. A unique venue in historic buildings, it was also the place Theresa May learned she had become Prime Minister in 2016.
Bill Clinton enjoyed a pint in the Malthouse Pub next door during the G8 summit. There’s a photograph of him on the wall. The glass he drank out of was smashed by the President’s security detail to prevent his fingerprints being extracted.

ICC @ICC_Birmingham theicc.co.uk 

This is Birmingham’s flagship Conference Venue. The ICC enjoy the scale and flexibility to host World Class Conferences. The in-house Catering Team, Amadeus, delivered the catering for London 2012. Usain Bolt’s 100 Meters at the Games in 9.63 seconds was fuelled by these guys.
Location is superb, there is a bridge linking the ICC to the Hyatt Regency next door. The bridge is bullet proof as it was used by Bill Clinton at G8.
The recent addition of a water feature outside the ICC demonstrates the on going investment in Brum as a destination city for business and leisure.
Inside, the ICC has recently enjoyed a complete refurbishment. The building is a bridge between the Business District of Colmore BID and the Entertainment District of Westside BID.

Resorts World @RW_Birmingham resortsworldbirmingham.co.uk
Resorts World.jpg
Part of the NEC Group and the newest Conference space in Brum. This sits on the NEC Campus lake and enjoys unparalleled transport links. You can get here by car, train, bus, or plane. The only way you can’t get to Resorts World is by water but that doesn’t stop the International Boat Show.
Resorts World is also home to Genting Hotel, and close to Birmingham Metropole and Crowne Plaza so delegates can attend and stay over without having to make the ten minute train journey to Birmingham city centre. Which would be a shame, as there is a lot to enjoy.

Edgbaston @Edgbaston edgbaston.com

Edgbaston Stadium.jpg
Affectionately known as the Fortress where England had never lost a game ahead of the Ashes in 2019, this iconic venue has fabulous conference facilities in the leafy suburb of Edgbaston.
The closest hotel is Edgbaston Park Hotel, Marriott Five Ways and Radisson Blu, but there are plans for a Hampton by Hilton to be built next door.
Lots of parking on site, 15 minute walk from the city centre and a busy bus route so easy to get to.

Villa Park @AVFCOfficial www.avfc.co.uk/conferences-and-events
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Birmingham’s only Premiership football team are based at Villa Park. The venue has invested heavily in producing an excellent space for Conferences and Events.
It’s a ten minute drive from the city centre, lots of parking on site and a very popular choice.
Catering is provided by Compass, who are the world’s biggest catering organisation.

This is a unique venue of choice.
A drinks reception your guests will never forget can be organised in Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery’s Roundroom.
It’s just one of several spaces available to hire in a venue that is in the top 100 most visited Museums in the world.

Town Hall @THSHBirmingham thsh.co.uk

Birmingham Town Hall Interior.jpg
A Grade One listed building that has welcomed Charles Dickens, Buddy Holly and The Beatles has helped shape this venue into arguably the most iconic in Brum.
A twenty seven million pound transformation has resulted in a space that is as stunning on the inside as outside.
There’ll be a Metro Tram stop right outside next year and its a three minute walk to New Street Station.

University of Birmingham @unibirmingham birmingham.ac.uk
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The Great Hall is a remarkable banqueting space at the heart of the University’s Edgbaston campus.
The University is a seven minute cab ride from Birmingham City centre and is served well by bus and train transport links.
Edgbaston Park Hotel allows delegates to stay over. The University has invested heavily in recent years including a new 50 Metre swimming pool.

Hyatt @HyattBham birmingham.regency.hyatt.com

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The Conference and Banqueting rooms are on the Mezzanine floor of Hyatt Regency Birmingham.
All of the services you would expect from a world class brand, the space is both versatile and incredible. A huge refurbishment has bought this venue up to the highest standards.

Hotel du Vin @HdV_Birmingham hotelduvin.com

This is a very popular events space in Birmingham’s Business District.
The atrium’s roof is retractable, and is surrounded by a number of different rooms available for hire.
You have to see the refurbished bedrooms to believe them.

Malmaison @BirminghamMal malmaison.com
Currently celebrating its 25th Anniversary, Malmaison are proud to do things differently.
Did you know Malmaison Oxford used to be a prison, and the Edinburgh branch was originally a brothel. The Birmingham one doesn’t have such an interesting past, it used to be a Royal Mail sorting office.
The team at Malmaison will support you in delivering an excellent event.  The hotel is situated in The Mailbox and walking distance to everywhere.

Library of Birmingham @LibraryofBham birmingham.gov.uk/libraries
The biggest Library in Europe, the Library of Birmingham opened in 2013 and has wowed visitors ever since.
The balcony overlooking Centenary Square is one of several spaces available to hire and can be used to host the ultimate barbecue.

This is the closest hotel to New Street Station and has recently been transformed with a huge investment program.
There are 14 refurbishments meeting rooms and suites. Situated in the heart of the shopping district, this remains a very popular choice.

This is a just a few of the many spaces available for Conference and Events hire, let me know which ones I’ve missed out.
Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer specialising in Conference and Awards photography.
@jassansi 07930 837 505

Blow the Whistle


As a West Brom fan, I’m no stranger to enduring poor starts to a season. Post match analysis rarely sheds light on poor performance; the team has yet to gel, a new coach trying to establish the strengths of the squad, lack of funds to bring in new players etc etc

The Conservative’s display following Summer break has been a shocker. Team Johnstone have become the Bury FC of Politics; every Common’s vote lost, non existent EU negotiations unveiled, 21 MPs expelled, another deflected, the Prime Minister’s brother resigns his Ministerial post to spend less time with his family, prominent MPs announce their departure at the imminenet General Election. The catalogue of despair goes on.

I woke up to read Caroline Spelman MP is stepping down. Not an hour goes by without breaking news about the new Prime Minister. Boris Johnston has more dirty laundry than a muddy November fixture at Accrington Stanley and it is being washed publicly across all new channels.

the Prime Minister’s brother resigns his Ministerial post to spend less time with his family

The Vice President of America flew in yesterday to add his ten pence to the laughing clown machine. He said ‘…the minute the UK is out, America is in.’ I imagine Matt Hancock putting the final touches to the NHS For Sale board.

Fifteen of our twenty Premiership Clubs are owned by overseas investors. The damage Brexit has inflicted on the value of the Pound has seen the UK become the ultimate January Sale. Never have we needed more, to take back control. 

In football, the table never lies, Boris Johnson is languishing at the bottom with no wins to his name. He has clearly lost the dressing room. Are we about to witness a shocking relegation?


Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham (about two miles from the Hawthorns) @jassansi 07930 837 505