Primera Air Takes Off

Media and Business were invited to the launch of Primera Air at Hyatt Regency in Westside BID (Business Improvement District). Jas Sansi landed in Birmingham’s entertainment district to learn more. 


Deputy Midlands Mayor Bob Sleigh, Cllr Brigid Jones, William Pearson and Anastasija Visnakova

Fly direct is the new mantra for air passengers who want non stop routes to far flung destinations. Following last week’s announcement of direct non stop flights between Birmingham Airport and Amritsar, BHX were in the city today to announce a new airline, Primera Air

Primera Air will introduce direct low cost services to New York, Toronto, Malaga, Barcelona, Palma and Crete from May 2018. Flights to North America start at £149 (one way including taxes), Malaga, Palma and Barcelona start at £35 and Crete from £54.


Justine Howl and Kevin Urquhart

In 2017, the West Midlands exported £6.2 Billion worth of goods to the USA and exported £779 Million to Canada, the highest of any region in the UK. 

For the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) and the British American Business Council (BABC), the timing of Primera Air’s arrival could not be better. 

Primera Air flights between Birmingham and North America start in May, one month ahead of the BABC hosting a major transatlantic conference (June 6th – to 8th 2018) across key venues in Birmingham City Centre including Birmingham Cathedral, Birmingham Town Hall and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. 


Paul Faulkner, Anastasija Visnakova, Steve Allen, Lauren Hunt and Steve Brittan

The Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and British American Business Council team were at the launch to welcome Primera Air to the West Midlands. The relationship has started on a high for Chairman of British American Business Council, Steve Allen who’s name was selected in the business card draw for a pair of flights to New York. 


Congratulations to Steve Allen, and to Primera Air, we would all like to echo the words of Deputy Midlands Mayor Cllr Bob Sleigh ‘Welcome to the West Midlands.’ 

Primera Air


British American Business Council Transatlantic Conference, Birmingham:

Westside BID Follow on Twitter @westsidebid 

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




Birmingham to Amritsar, India

Air India flights from Birmingham to Amritsar are finally here. Jas Sansi was at Birmingham Airport to enjoy the celebrations. He explains a little background on how this ten year campaign came to fruition.


Ten years ago, I was reading about the frustrations shared by the Punjabi community in Birmingham and the West Midlands. It concerned the lack of a direct flight from Birmingham Airport to India. 


Air India had recently pulled out of Birmingham and focused their attention on London Heathrow. Passengers from the Midlands who wished to travel to India had options but none were ideal. A number of services appeared over the years, they came, failed to satisfy customer expectations and disappeared. 


At the time, I had started to network intensively in Birmingham in order to support the photography company I had launched. The words ‘credit crunch’ had recently entered popular vocabulary. The world was reeling from the financial crisis of 2008. 


Prime Minister Gordon Brown organised an international summit in London where global leaders including US President Barack Obama gathered to formulate a solution. 


The UK was a strong partner in the EU. It was a long time ago. 


From networking, I met the leader of Birmingham City Council, Mike Whitby. We got on straight away, he was passionate about the city and saw its future in reaching out to places like the Middle East, India and the Far East. 


I explained the frustrations of a lack of a direct flight from Brum to India. It was something he was sympathetic with. 


It was Mike who organised a petition and its launch at Asha’s Restaurant in Birmingham who kindly sponsored the event. Mike Whitby gathered the press and business leaders from the region. It was a day I will always remember.


The petition was launched, it was distributed to local media such as Raj FM Radio Station. My mom, Gurdev Kaur, took it around to local Sikh Temples to collect signatures. I had no idea what we were doing. 


I wrote a number of articles which regional press picked up and ran. I appeared on Raj FM and explained what we were trying to achieve. And every few days, I would collect the signed petitions.


The petitions included names and addresses so were data rich. An Indian bank called me in and offered to support the campaign financially in return for the data gathered. I was uncomfortable with the ethics of this proposal. People had signed the petitions in good faith, not to have their personal details sold on. The campaign wasn’t an expensive one other than time. I declined the bank’s kind offer.


The signatures were collected, 25,000 in all. These were collated, packaged up and flown to India by local business man Peter Matthews who presented them to the Aviation Minister. 


As a result of the lobbying, Air India returned to Birmingham in 2013 four years after the campaign started. The service was Birmingham Airport to New Delhi. A connecting flight allowed passengers to continue their journey to Amritsar.


Since the service resumed, it has been used by 600,000 passengers. This represents £330 Million of business our region reclaimed from London. Birmingham Airport has enjoyed record growth and the number of flights between the two countries has continued to grow. 


The most recent development was an agreement to fly direct from Birmingham to Amritsar.   This is a very welcome development given the 7 hours 30 minute journey between the two cities.


This service was launched on Tuesday 20th February 2018. I received an email from Birmingham Airport on Monday 19th to attend the ceremony. Thankfully my diary commitments for that day allowed me to attend.


It was a pleasure to see the campaign finally come to completion. Media coverage was very low key. Media were either not invited or they chose not to attend. I rang The Asian Today newspaper on the way to the airport and they knew nothing about it.


I always have my camera with me, I took a number of shots shown here. It was a great launch. Gurcharan Mall made it an event to be remembered as he filled the terminal at Birmingham Airport with the roar of his Dhol drum accompanied by his band. 


A diva was lit by Birmingham Edgbaston MP Preet Gill, accompanied by Air India personnel and Consul General of India for Birmingham, Dr Aman Puri. Amrick Ubhi represented Nishkam Centre and a number of business leaders attended to support the event. Mr William Pearson represented Birmingham Airport.


The incoming Air India flight was welcomed by this reception with all disembarking passengers presented with a red rose. A photo call was organised with the flags of both countries and a celebration cake was cut.


A great day for Birmingham, in a week where the city hosted a four day celebration for the Chinese New Year. Both India and China will be key to success in the UK as we approach the departure lounge of the EU. 


I would like to thank everyone who was instrumental in bringing about this direct flight. There are those who are high profile but equally there are those who toiled in the background without any expectation of thanks or recognition. 


I pay tribute above all to Bhai Sahib Ji Dr Mohinder Singh from Nishkam Centre who was a constant source of inspiration throughout the campaign. 


To everyone who played a part in delivering this result for our city region, I would like to put on record my deepest heartfelt thanks.


We achieve so much when we work together. 

Jas Sansi


Full set of images from the launch of Birmingham to Amritsar Air India Service:

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham, a trustee of LoveBrum and columnist for The Asian Today.

@jassansi 07930 837 505

Year of the Top Dog

Chinese New Year Celebrations in Birmingham are now a four day festival. Firecrackers, Lion Dancing and Drums extend a warm handshake to China signalling we are open for Business based on Friendship and Trust. Jas Sansi spent four days chasing the lions with his Nikon and notebook.


“In order to trade with a nation, there has to be trust. Trust is built by spending time with each other, celebrating each other’s festivals. There is no bigger Chinese festival than the Chinese New Year celebrations” James Wong, Chair of Birmingham Chinese New Year Committee explained how the UK and China can develop deeper relations in coming years. 


The Midlands is the only region in the UK enjoying a trade surplus with China. This is predominantly due to Jaguar Land Rover exporting brand Britain to the Far East. 


It is a success story we want to build on as we reach out to trade partners beyond the EU whilst redefining the relationship with our European friends and neighbours. Trade is not a zero sum game, growth benefits all parties. 


The Chinese New Year Celebrations have been part of Birmingham’s social calendar for almost two decades. The festivities held in the middle of February, have until now, focused on the Chinese Quarter of Birmingham known as Southside. 


A decision was taken to extend the party from one day to four days and to reach out to other parts of the city. The four days of events followed a fireworks celebration to welcome in the Year of the Dog on Thursday, the dancing lion dispatched to the financial district on Friday, the shopping district on Saturday and returned to the Chinese district on Sunday. 


This allowed the festival to gather momentum in the build up to the final day of activities on Sunday. It was pure genius with local media following the story, social media covering every drum beat and photographers and video capturing every step of the procession. 


The result; a record 30,000 visitors to Birmingham Southside on Sunday, a delegation from the Chinese Embassy in London, Birmingham Lord Mayor Cllr Anne Underwood and Midlands Mayor Andy Street standing alongside the Chinese New Year Committee to proclaim ‘we are open for friendship and we are open for business.’ 


The Lord Mayor and Embassy Delegation were invited to dot the Lion’s head, officially launching a full day of arts, culture and performances across the district including the Rosie Kay Dance Company, a string quartet from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Choy Lee Fut lion and dragon dance team.


In Southside, Hurst Street hosted the main stage, Arcadian the second stage and Birmingham Hippodrome opened its doors to a day of activities and recitals. 


Arts and Culture have a way of uniting a city in a unique way; witness our city centre on any given day and you will see it’s population going about it’s business in parallel dimensions. Some will be wearing earphones, oblivious to the sounds around them. Others texting whilst walking ignoring trip hazards in their pathway. Office workers grabbing a quick coffee, students rushing to classes, visitors exploring, deliveroo cyclists delivering, street wardens and traffic wardens keeping order. 


All in parallel universes seemingly oblivious to one another. Drop a public performance such as the Chinese Lion Dancing into these proceedings and watch a city district transform. Earphones are unplugged, texting stops, coffee remains unsipped. 


The citizens of parallel existence become a unified audience who find themselves participants in a public work of art. Some watch, others record the action on phones, few fail to be seduced by the drum beat that signals each move of the dancing lion. It’s impossible to ignore the clash of cymbals that support the drum beat. 


From pre school children delighted at the din to pensioners who’ve ‘never seen anything like it’ a city is bought together in a celebration of humanity. And that’s the buy in to a festival such as the Chinese New Year Celebrations, it’s not just about sending more Range Rovers to Shanghai and Cadbury’s Chocolate to Beijing. Its about a city coming together, recognising its differences but embracing it’s diversity. And leveraging  opportunity from this diversity for the universal benefit of all. 


Happy New Chinese Year everyone. 

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham, trustee of LoveBrum and columnist for The Asian Today.

@jassansi 07930 837 505

Images from the Birmingham Chinese New Year Four Day Festival:





BYPY, The Future looks Bright


Victoria Ball (Birmingham Future Chair), Sophie Carlile (BYPY Chair) and Michael Parker (BYPY 2017 Winner)

Last night, The Canal House in Birmingham Westside BID hosted the launch of  Birmingham Young Professional of the Year (BYPY) 2018. Victoria Ball and Sophie Carlile were joined by 2017 winner Michael Parker in encouraging the city’s 35 and under to step forward for nomination. 


Birmingham Young Professional of the Year is an annual celebration recognising the achievements of the city’s emerging talent. It is a thunderclap in evening dress, a night success is celebrated.


The contest to be crowned Birmingham Young Professional of the Year is open to all aged 35 and under who work in the city’s Professional Services. Applications are welcomed from individuals who have made strives, overcome adversity, stepped up to the mark and shone in their chosen field.  


There are six categories: 


HR, Recruitment & Training


Marketing & Communications

Property & Construction


Of the six category winners, one is invited back to the stage as overall winner. She or he will be the 19th Birmingham Young Professional of the Year. 


There are two additional awards on the night; Aspiring Talent (16-24 in education or training) and Inspiring Leader, a lifetime achievement award. 


It’s important an awards event like BYPY exists in Birmingham, the youngest city in Europe. 45.7% of the city is under the age of 30. 


BYPY is a celebration of potential. The awards are the flagship event for Birmingham Future and for those ptimistic about a future they want to shape. 


Save the date – Thursday 24th May 2018, Hall 3, ICC Birmingham. 


Follow on Twitter @bypy

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Images from BYPY 2017

Images from BYPY 2014

Images from BYPY 2013

Images from BYPY 2012:

Jas Sansi is  a freelance photographer based in Birmingham, a trustee of LoveBrum and columnist for The Asian Today.

@jassansi  07930 837 505

WOWs 2018

The WOWs (Wonders of Westside) awards salute the great work of individuals, teams and the Business Improvement District in making the district safe, welcoming and party central. Jas Sansi was there and he has the pictures to prove it. 


The WOWs has firmly established itself on Birmingham’s social calendar since its inception as the BOBs (Best of Broad Street) many moons ago. Those who work in the hospitality, food and drinks industry are at their busiest over Christmas and New Years, at a time when most people are on a break.


The WOWs is more than an awards ceremony, its an opportunity for the businesses in the BID to raise their glasses in an annual celebration of what they bring to the city, region and economy. And for that, we are immensely grateful. 


Westside BID incorporates the stretch of real estate along Broad Street, Brindleyplace and the Canals. The Wonders of Westside (WOWs) celebrated the best of Brum’s night time economy and beyond.


What a night; glamorous dresses, slick dinner suits, the world’s largest spirit producer as sponsor, internationally renowned DJ and pea shooters. Yes, the 2018 WOWs kicking off a fabulous year of awards in Birmingham did not disappoint. 


The great and the good were there. I bumped into Anita Champaneri, the PR Supremo from Delicious PR and Gov Singh from sponsor ODC drinks. 


The Governor of Westside, Mike Olley welcomed everyone to the evening announcing LoveBrum as the chosen charity of the night.


I then dashed on to stage, unhooked my camera harness, camera and battery pack, basically a Nikon Strip tease and took a couple of minutes explaining LoveBrum.


LoveBrum is the charity for a better Birmingham, casting a spotlight on projects across all communities in the city region, and asking members, who pay £20 a year to join, to vote for the causes they want their money to go.  


The awards began with acknowledging those who work in the BID (Business Improvement District) including the City Pastors who are on hand to ensure those visiting the area have assistance if necessary. 

106 City Pastors - Pride In Work Award

The City Pastors introduce an element of calm in situations where previously uniformed officers would be the only port of call. The City Pastors demonstrated the power of faith later that evening winning two of the raffle prizes. 


Here’s a listing of all the winners at WOWs18. Congratulations to those who are waking up today with a trophy on their bedside tables. Well done to the organisers who smashed another event out of the stadium and on a night when New York hosted the Grammys, and Piers Morgan interviewed Trump, the WOWs trended nationally in 6th place. Great job team. 

Debbie Gooding – Outstanding Achievement Award

101 Debbie Gooding - Outstanding Achievement Award.JPG

WOWs18 salute the Westside BID Wardens 

111 The Wardens

Sergeant David Gregory and Zoe Bishop – Pride In Work Award

118 Sergeant David Gregory and Zoe Jo - Pride In Work Award

Sean Wright – Pride in Work Award

126 Sean Wright - Pride in Work Award

Amy Langham – Best Arts/Entertainment Manager Award

137 Amy Langham - Best Arts:Entertainment Manager Award

SACO Apartments won Best Hotel/Serviced Apartments

145 SACO Apartments - Best Hotel:Serviced Apartments

Hampton By Hilton were awarded Best Front Of House

151 Hampton By Hilton - Best Front Of House

Cafe Rouge in Brindleyplace picked up the first of two awards winning best Bistro/Cafe 

154 Café Rouge - Best Bistro:Café

Rosanna Meyer won Promotions Team Leader

159 Rosanna Meyer - Promotions Team Leader.JPG

Vinod Pandey & Rajendra Kandel from Varanasi shared the award for Best Chef – Fine Dining

163 Vinod Pandey & Rajendra Kandel Best Chef - Fine Dining

Best Pub at WOWs 2018 was The Brasshouse

227 Best Pub Brasshouse

Best Pub Manager was awarded to Pip White from O’Neills who as co-host should also have won a prize for best wind up of the night telling guests there was an envelope with £1000 taped to the bottom of a chair in the hall. 400 people stand up and invert their chairs to check. ‘Just kidding’ quips Pip. Hilarious. 


231 Best Pub Manager Award Pip White

Jurys Inn win Best Hotel Team

254 Jurys Inn for winning Best Hotel Team

Djazi Riouzi was awarded Best Chef, Casual at Del Villagio. Del Villagio were one of the star twitter users on the night. Give them a follow on @del_villaggio 

263 Djazi Riouzi Best Chef - Casual

New to Westside and winning Best Restaurant (casual) was The Canal House

274 The Canal House for winning Best Restaurant - Casual

Hyatt Regency General Manager is applauded by his team collecting the award for Best Hotel/Serviced Apartments, the first of three awards for the hotel which sees the return of their Sales & Marketing Director Joanne Brain this week.

288 Mario Flanagan, Hyatt Regency, Best Hotel:Serviced Apartments Manager 

Here’s one with Mario who invited his team on stage to collect the award

290 Mario Flanagan, Hyatt Regency, Best Hotel:Serviced Apartments Manager

Thamir Abdul, Café Rouge, Best Manager – Bistro/Café

306 Thamir Abdul, Café Rouge, Best Manager - Bistro:Café

Relentless – Best Promotions Team

311 Relentless - Best Promotions Team

Jade Wilkes, Aria at Hyatt Regency for winning Best Manager – Restaurant

316 Jade Wilkes, Aria for winning Best Manager - Restaurant

Cineworld Broad Street Best Arts/Entertainment venue

322 Cineworld Broad Street Best Arts:Entertainment venue

Paul Millington – Contribution to Westside and Birmingham

328 Paul Millington - Contribution to Westside and Birmingham

Gin Vault win Best Bar at WOWs18

334 Gin Vault for winning Best Bar

Jas Binning for winning Best Bar Manager, Mooch Bar

341 Jas Binning for winning Best Bar Manager

Lewis Verne, Players Best Manager (Club) papped by his team

386 Lewis Verne, Players Best Manager - Club

And one of Lewis and the team from Players

392 Lewis Verne, Players Best Manager - Club

PRYZM win Best Club

400 PRYZM for winning Best Club

Best Bar Team, O Bar

405 Best Bar Team, O Bar

Sunny and Gov from ODC Drinks present the next set of awards


Popworld, Best Team – Club

428 Popworld, Best Team - Club

The ever popular Pushkar win Best Restaurant in the Fine Dining category

439 Pushkar, Best Restaurant - Fine Dining

Velvet Music Rooms & Sugar Suite, Best Door Team

453 Velvet Music Rooms & Sugar Suite, Best Door Team

Best Newcomer Felsons

461 Best Newcomer Felsons.JPG

Salman Rashid, Hyatt Regency for winning Outstanding Achievement makes it a hat trick for the Broad Street hotel 

467 Salman Rashid for winning Outstanding Achievement

Robert Lee, Lee Longlands wins The Outstanding Achievement Award

477 Robert Lee, Lee Longlands Outstanding Achievement.JPG

Jo at Reflex wins Best New Manager Award

498 Jo, Reflex Best New Manager Award

Barajees win Best Value at WOWs18 

502 Barajees, Best Value.JPG

Zara’s Best Interior Character

515 Zara_s Best Interior Character

Rosie’s win Best Transformation

530 Rosie_s for winning Best Transformation

That’s it for another year at the WOWs. Thank you to all sponsors without who, events like this just wouldn’t be possible. 

A huge thank you on behalf of the Trustees, Ambassadors and LoveBrum community for supporting the charity for a better Birmingham on the night. £888 was raised and will go towards helping projects across the city region making a real difference to Brum. 


Full set of images can be seen at:

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham, a Trustee of LoveBrum and columnist for The Asian Today newspaper.

@jassansi 07930 837 505

A Place in the Midlands

An open blog from Jas Sansi to Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock on why Birmingham is perfect for Channel 4.


Matt Hancock MP at The Library of Birmingham during Party Conference 2016. Picture: Jas Sansi

Dear Mr Hancock 

The drama of Channel 4 relocating relocating relocating can be summarised like this; the Government is adamant Channel 4 leaves London. West Midlands Mayor Andy Street is very keen for Birmingham to be the broadcaster’s new home.  Many people from the creative industries and beyond are supporting Mayor Street’s campaign under the hashtag #WMGeneration. The decision has yet to be finalised.

Ever since the release of ‘Look Back in Anger’ by John Osborne in 1956, it has been clear, the future of Art and Culture can not depend on the middle classes alone. The ticket stubs and bums on seats may be dominated by the relatively affluent but stories, in the form of art, find their greatest authors from the working class.  

A bold statement, but those lucky enough to be born into comfortable, stable and wealthy homes are sheltered from many of life’s cruel and harsh realities. Though fortunate in so many respects, privilege isolates from an acute understanding, the struggle many face. 

London has become a hornet of excess and magnet for the global rich. For those, who’s calling in life is the Creative Arts, England’s capital is unaffordable for all but the wealthiest. The future of ideas, creativity and culture cannot depend on the capital. 

It is for this reason, Channel 4 should welcome the Government’s demand for a future outside of the capital and embrace the opportunities of moving to a young, diverse city like Birmingham. 

A city like Birmingham is saturated with untold stories. A million citizens is a million stories, many of which are denied a platform for expression. It is these blank canvases that offer an infinite supply for film makers, story tellers, authors and animators who produce content for Channel 4. 

Birmingham and the West Midlands is a fertile womb of ideas ready to be harvested by a media infrastructure. Looking beyond the city limits, its central location in the UK, makes it accessible to many millions of other voices and their stories. 

The near impossible cost of London as a home to young creative minds will shut off the tap to film makers very soon. If the only stories pitched to studio heads are sourced from those who can afford to live in London, future audiences will drift away. If stories are not inclusive, they cease to be stories, simply narratives of a small privileged world. 

This isn’t the politics of envy, rather the harsh realities of a country where a North South divide has morphed into London and the rest. 

Many will be surprised to learn Channel 4 is overseen by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. It is funded by tax payers. A channel funded by the people, needs to exist among those people. 

To guarantee its future relevance, Channel 4 must understand London is no longer Britain, London stories rarely British stories. If Channel 4 wants to be a privately funded London channel serving the viewing habits of the capital’s citizens, it would be advised to remain where they are. But it is unfair for them to rely on the generosity of the UK. 

If Channel 4 is to reflect the stories of all the UK, they can only do so by moving to a city like Birmingham. This isn’t just a geographical shift, it’s a shift in the broadcaster’s mindset.  

The story of British media will acknowledge the move of Channel 4 to Birmingham as an intelligent decision. A decision that re-energised the broadcaster and sharpened it’s cutting edge output. 

Arguments around London being only 48 minutes from Birmingham with the advent of HS2 are accurate but do an injustice to our beloved city. They seek to reassure Channel 4 executives, such a move is not as seismic as it appears. The move will be the most seismic the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have ever made. 

Mr Hancock, as a new Secretary of State, the decision to relocate Channel 4 in Birmingham will be remembered in history as a bold but ultimately wise one. Be brave. Come to Brum. 


Jas Sansi 


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

@jassansi 07930 837 505

Cyrille Regis


I noticed Cyrille Regis trending on social media this morning. I assumed an announcement about a statue being raised in his honour or confirmation of a Knighthood. I never dared to think it would be news of his untimely death. 

Radio 4 and 5 Live weren’t broadcasting the story so perhaps it wasn’t true. An error maybe, but with each passing hour, as news rippled out, it became clear the worst possible news was true. 

It’s dreadful to wake up to this, Cyrille’s family will be distraught and numb. I’m sitting here thinking about him, and thinking about them. 


I drove my son, a Baggies fan, to school and sharing the news with him, we sat in silence for the entire journey. I’m usually nagging him to work hard, to spend less time on-line and more time in his books. It was hard to fight back tears. They came later, when I was alone.

Cyrille Regis was a beacon of light and a hero to many of us. Imagine how few local heroes, a working class kid growing up in West Brom could have in the 1970s and 80s? If you were lucky enough to not come from a broken home, you could count those heroes on one hand; parents, a teacher, a relative and footballer Cyrille Regis.  

1 The 1979 West Bromwich Albion Team.JPG

We were exposed to casual racism on television across all three channels. Political correctness was not yet a thing. Thankfully racism wasn’t rife in the streets and back alleys of West Bromwich where we played.

2 Cyrille Regis (WBA), Frank Skinner and Brendon Batson (WBA)

Every hue of skin colour lived in a community where we learned together in the local school and played footie in the local park. No one was rich, we just didn’t know we were poor. 

Cyrille Regis was a beacon of light and a hero to many of us.

And we had Cyrille Regis. West Bromwich Albion’s enigmatic and elegant young striker. He gave our town a voice. And with him, that voice roared across the entire country. He put us on the map. He gave us everything to be proud of. He was our brother, our hero, our icon. He was our friend. 


I bumped into him many times in recent years at events. I always shook his hand, I always called him Mr Regis. I photographed him many times, I once asked him to sign a program which he happily did. I never had the guts to ask him for a photograph of us together. Who was I to stand next to him? I don’t regret this, seeing him and exchanging pleasantries was more than enough. 

Cyrille Regis, Lord Mayor and Tom Ross.JPG

They say its never a good idea to meet your heroes, they may let you down in person. Cyrille Regis never once let me down. He became more of a hero each time I met him. I didn’t want to embarrass him by telling him that, he always came across as so humble, so normal, I imagined it would make him feel uncomfortable. 

I photographed Cyrille Regis’s grand daughter, Jayda Regis last month at the announcement of Birmingham winning the Commonwealth Games bid. His legacy will forever run through the blood of this region; in personal memories, in WBA history and in his family. 

4 Darren Cooper (Sandwell Council), Cyrille Regis (WBA), Frank Skinner and Brendon Batson (WBA) and Tom Watson MP

I thank God for sending Cyrille Regis MBE to us and I pray for his family and friends at this most difficult time. 

Thank you Mr Regis, for everything. 


Jas Sansi