Time for Swan But Not Forgotten to Take Off
Posted on the 29th Aug 2013 in the category sport

Well it has been two weeks since the Swan But Not Forgotten campaign flew into the nation's consiousness like one of Chalky's orphans showing off for the cameras.

The response has been overwhelming from so many people whether it be Perry Barricans devastated at Chalky's murder, celebrities offering support or businesses across the country getting in touch offering their services to the campaign.


Chalky's story has struck a chord up and down the country and with another swan tragically killed this week (down south, burnt in a hideous manner) the more coverage we can get for Swan But Not Forgotten the more chance swans are given the respect they deserve in 21st Century Great Britain.


I'm still waiting for Just Giving to get the page up and running so people can donate to Chalky's family and the Wychbold Swan Sanctuary when that goes live I can really push on with the PR.


And speaking of getting up and running, I've got to run 10km in 26 days, and if I'm honest my fitness campaign has not been perfect. The highlight being Hi-Tec Sports donating a brilliant pair of aqua blue and black Luna trainers to me so I can run in comfort and style.


All I need to get is some spandex running pants, a swan hat, a luminous hoodie and some shockproof earphones and I will be the epitome of “all the gear – no idea”.


However, I've ran twice around Sutton Park (first time in Converse pumps – agony, second time in my Hi-Tec - sublime) with a mate and might even take the plunge and join Birchfield Harriers beginners running club this week.


After all I really do not want to drop down dead on the streets of Halesowen, though that of course would sort out the following week's front page of the Halesowen News.


The Great Black Country Run is taking place on Sunday, September 22 – there is a 10km race and a 5km fun run – so get involved and register at www.bostinrun.com.


You don't have to raise cash in memory of Chalky but it should be a day to remember especially as European kickboxing champ and Swan But Not Forgotten supporter Simon Mr KO Akufo is starting the run.


The next few weeks are going to be hectic and intense for everyone at Swan But Not Forgotten. We could do with a staff of hundreds but there is only a few of us - we have to organise the launch of our logo and clothing line, sort out campaign song, write and direct our campaign video and put together all the logistics that will have to go into the gala event at the Crown and Cushion on Sunday, September 22.


So as you can imagine I am itching to get some serious coverage for Swan But Not Forgotten and ensure Chalky's life did not die in vain.


I was over the moon that our Scottish friends Tantallon Victoria and Maryhill Black Star's tribute to Chalky was covered in the media north of the border including The Glaswegian paper – a mighty fine organ if I've ever seen one.


So whether you're up the swanny or swanning around don't forget to watch this space!!!


Swanover and Out


Adam and Steve.

The Scots come through for Swan But Not Forgotten
Posted on the 12th Aug 2013 in the category sport

Well we are only a few days into the Swan But Not Forgotten campaign and the response has been incredible.

Chalky the swan must have made one hell of an impression during his short life judging by the support I have had.

The good people at The Friends of Perry Hall Park have been great and as soon as Wychbold Swan Rescue get verified with Just Giving then the fundraising can begin.

But there is so much more to the Swan But Not Forgotten campaign than the cold hard cash for the swans, there is raising awareness of both Chalky's life and the plight of swans across the country who are being savaged to death all too often by dangerous dogs.

The PR campaign is a post ironic conceptual media art piece in itself, I want 10 million people to know about Chalky through old and new media, that is my aim.

I cannot do it myself, but people are already giving their ideas and time to help Swan But Not Forgotten.

From retweeting #SwanOClock #SwanSongs to giving me ideas which companies to approach for merchandise to raffle so many great people are getting involved in their own way.

For instance Alderman Don Brown has said on Sunday, September 22 when I run the Great Black Country Run that The Crown and Cushion in Perry Barr will change its name to The Crown and Swan!

This weekend two Scottish football teams held a minute's silence for Chalky before their match in Glasgow.

This poignant show of support really humbled me. And I'd like to thank Davie Brown and Chris Ward for being the first teams in the world to hold a minute's silence for a mute swan, hopefully this will get some coverage up in Scotland, it should do as it is a cracking story.

As you can see below....


TWO Glasgow none league football teams were the first in the world to hold a minute's silence in memory of a mute swan.
Tantallon Victoria and Maryhill Black Star made their solemn declaration of support on Saturday at 10am at John Paul Academy, Summerston.
The two Strathclyde Saturday Morning Amateur Football league teams are taking part in the Swan But Not Forgotten campaign which was founded this month after a swan in Perry Barr, Birmingham was savagely killed by a dog.
The campaign is raising funds for the remaining mother and cygnets who face a tough battle to survive in the wild and the Wychbold Swan Rescue charity as raising awareness of the growing number of the birds being killed by dangerous dogs across the UK.
Tantallon Victoria chairman Davie Brown outlined why he sanctioned the minute's silence.
He said: "As a club we have very strong links with Birmingham and the Black Country, our away kit is the same as West Bromwich Albion's iconic yellow and green away colours.
"And through these links we heard about the tragic story of Chalky the swan who was savagely ripped about by a pitball and like everyone else was very sad about this especially when we found out it was so common.
"Then a friend down there started the Swan But Not Forgotten campaign and asked us if we could hold a minute's silence in honour of Chalky and just as important for all the swans getting killed every week."
He added: "Obviously we had to ask Maryhill Black Star if they would do it because it would look a bit daft if just one team held a silence but they are a great bunch of lads and agreed."
Chris Ward from Maryhill Black Star said: "My team are fantastic lads and they agreed straight away, we are a bit like Wimbledon's Crazy Gang but worse, so we jumped at the chance to be the first to observe a minute's silence for a swan."
The Swan But Not Forgotten campaign was founded by author, journalist and social justice campaigner Steve Zacharanda.
He said: "I thought if any football team would do a minute's silence for Chalky it would be the Tally Vic boys and I am humbled that they agreed but for the Maryhill Black Star boys to agree to was incredible.
"This minute's silence in Glasgow will kick off six weeks of events in memory of Chalky which will include everything from sponsored runs to post ironic conceptual art, as well as raising money we want to people smile and the patter between the clubs on Twitter has been priceless."
"I wanted to ask them to hold their fist up in a salute reminiscent of Tommy Smith's iconic 1968 Olympics but I think that might be pushing it too far."
He added: "And lets be honest the top tiers of football in England and Scotland seem to have minute's silences almost every week so for grass routes to do the same for a swan fits perfectly.
"I wanted this campaign to start in Scotland because of my granddad, he was a Scottish Communist miner with a deep love for animals, he would be proud his homeland is the place of the first minute's silence for a swan."

As you can see, this swan stuff is all gettin exciting, and if you have any swan related questions please email swannotforgotten@outlook.com and I'll do my best to get back to you promptly.

Anyway, keep it swanny.

Adam and Steve

Row down the River Tame in a dinghy- Why Not?
Posted on the 10th Aug 2013 in the category sport

I met this fellow in the Lord Clifden for the first time a few months back, then spotted him under a tree at the Handsworth Carnival and had a wonderful day with him and his uber-cool friend Sarah, they came the Crown and Cushion and loved it, he told me about his plan to row down the Tame so I wrote this for the Great Barr Observer - page 3! Hopefully he will get out at Perry Hall Park and have a minute's silence in memory of Chalky the slain swan.


A DAREDEVIL Pheasey artist is preparing to row down a stretch of the River Tame on a humble dingy.
Craig Pullen will take to the water on Saturday morning and will row from Sandwell Valley Park to the Seventh Trap in Perry Barr.
It has been a childhood dream for Craig, aged 38, to traverse the Tame, which used to be one of the dirtiest rivers in Europe.
He said: “People have asked why I am going down the river Tame in a dinghy and I can think of no better response than “because it's there”.”
“If the river Tame was in the middle of Devon then people would be raving about its beauty, but because it goes through the Black Country and Birmingham it never gets a mention.”
He added: “The stretch through Perry Hall Playing Fields is just lovely and I cannot wait to see it from the water.”
Craig has roped in lady friend Amy Smith, aged 33, from Perry Barr for the intrepid mission.
He said: “She has seen my dinghy and is still willing to go for it, it will be great to have a partner doing such an epic expedition.”
Craig, who is a conceptual artist and believes his river Tame jaunt is a piece of environmental art, is aware of the dangers.
He said: “I might wear a helmet then again I might not as I want people to recognise me when I am waving at them, but I am sure everything will be fine on the day.
“One worry we have is shooting past Perry Barr near the Seventh Trap, we do not end up Redditch because that would be a disaster in anyone's book.”
Craig is being backed in his mission by The Steve Zacharanda Radio Show on Scratch Radio – Birmingham City University's student and community radio station.
Adam Smith, also known as Steve Zacharanda, said: “I was amazed when I heard about Craig going down the Tame in a dinghy and I will be there at the finish line, it will be a great day for Pheasey and Perry Barr.”

Swan But Not Forgotten - A Perry Barr Tragedy
Posted on the 8th Aug 2013 in the category sport

Last month a mate of mine was tragically killed.

Not just killed though, he was savaged to death by a trained killing machine. He had decades ahead of him and the poor fellow left behind a young family who now face a dog eat swan world without the their protector.

I spoke to Chalky about three times a week, well I called him Chalky for all I know he was called Colin, but he was mute so he never corrected me. He like many immigrants before him made his home in Perry Barr and like so many newcomers he settled in this great area and young and old enjoyed seeing him strut about in the moat of the old Perry Hall.

But one tragic day in July an incident so shocking that it will be a stain on this area for years to come happened. Some horrible human being, probably inked up and who probably thinks a cygnet is a ring, let his pitbull rip Chalky the swan apart, in front of his mrs and kids.
But the owner then did something worse than let his dog run wild, that might be forgiven, he left Chalky stricken and did not call the RSPCA which might have saved him.

Instead he was left to die and was found by One Stop Shopping Centre with terrible injuries and was too far gone to save. His traumatised family now face the wild on their own, and as swan's mate for life it is all the more sad.

This whole episode pissed me right off, I had a right cob on and it effected me in a way which even human deaths have not, perhaps because I remember Chalky's predessessor who was stoned to death by yobs in the same place within the last years. Imagine what Perry Barr's reputation is like in the animal kingdom now, we are probably seen as the human equivialent of a BNP stronghold.

But I and loads of Perry Barrians loved that swan. There was times I poured my heart out to him,  but he never judged me, just got on with feathering his nest, I'd go as far to say it was one of my most successful relationships with a bird.

So with Chalky on my mind I felt I needed to do something.  And then events, circumstances and the stars aligned to find me in the Crown and Cushion with a complete moment of clarity.  Why not run the Great Black Country Run in memory of Chalky and raise money for his widow and cygnets?

Now, if you know me, I am the last person who would anything remotely healthy for any reason. And the only time I ever run is for the bus. But everything just clicked, I've been writing about the GBCR for my paper the Halesowen News for months and people kept on urging me to run as the paper needs to be represented. And as the other half of the news team has just had a hip replacement the walls were closing in.

Added to the fact I saw a picture of me at the Handsworth Carnival  and i looked like a fat lookalike of myself I know I need to do something to get fit.  As I was told in a New Orleans 24 hour dive bar - I am killing myself slowly and enjoying it. I drink too much, I smoke too much and I count the pineapple on my pizza as one of my five a day. I am an archetypal hack, and hacks die earlier than journalists.

Within hours of announcing my plan on Facebook there was an avalanche of support, this swan thing stuck a chord, even the Lord Mayor of Birmingham Iron Mike Leddy told me he would support me, and that was the moment I knew I had to do it.

Friends even phoned to ask if I was serious because they care and dont want me dropping down dead of exhaustion figuring I was odds on to be the Andrew Marr of the Midlands media.  One even offered to run it with me (thanks Ben). And amazingly two Scottish football teams offered to observe a minute's silence before their game this weekend! So it is game on, no turning back. I've become one of those precious people who raise money for charity.

I've contacted The Friends of Perry Hall Park, who have transformed a forgotten urban park into something beautiful, and the said "thank you the wonderful gesture" which meant a lot. Half of the money raised will go directly to help Chalky's family, whether it be fences, food,  improved habitat or vet bills whatever can be done to help them survive an uphill struggle without dad. At the Friends request the other half will go to the Wychbold Swan Rescue centre who helped our swans and many more like them.

So the run is on Sunday, September 22 in Halesowen, join me if you want, but that of course is just half of the story.

Tomorrow I shall reveal the aims and objectives of the Swan But Not Forgotten campaign and have the all important justgiving site will be up and running.

Have a swanderful day

Adam, aka Steve


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