Thursday 30 May 2013

Britain has been no country for the old men killed by the winter and cold, cold spring

Each winter, more old men and women in Britain die because of cold weather than in either Finland or Russia. This winter, the colder than average conditions have been caused by frequent easterly and northerly winds, bringing cold air to Britain and northern European regions. Earlier this month, snow hit Shropshire and Devon and Cornwall, while Wales saw widespread snow in March. So the indications are that this winter, which has dragged on so long and with such brutality, followed by coldest spring since 1962 and the fifth coldest since records began in 1910, will claim 30,000, mostly old lives, making it one of the biggest killers in the country. And still, no one seems unduly upset.

In answer to the question : Why has the winter killed so many old men and women ?

More than half the deaths are due to heart attacks, strokes and circulatory problems and a third from lung disease. Professor Sian Griffiths, President of the Faculty of Public Health, has said:
"A high proportion of preventable illness and deaths in Britain is caused by people living in damp and cold housing....people will die unnecessarily over this winter. This is a tragedy in terms of human life and also creates a huge and preventable strain on the National Health Service. Britain remains one of the worst countries in the world at coping with unseasonable low temperatures. Although the Government has shown commitment to tacking the problem, it has not given sufficient priority to such an important public health issue and its approach remains far too uncoordinated."

The old men and women who have died unecceasily this cold spring and winter were probably in households which were 'fuel poor 'and had to spend 10% of their income on maintaining a satisfactory indoor temperature. Old properties, absent or inefficient heating systems, the cost of heating, low income are all factors that contribute to their fuel poverty.

A few months ago, a group of students in Oslo in Norway produced a spoof video/lampoon inspired by 'Band Aid'. It showed a group of young Africans coming together to raise money for those of us freezing in the north. “A lot of people aren’t aware of what’s going on there right now,” says the African equivalent of Bob Geldof. “People don’t ignore starving people, so why should we ignore cold people? Frostbite kills too. Africa: we need to make a difference.” The song, 'Africa for Norway' , has been watched online two million times, making it one of Europe’s most popular political videos.
The aim was to send up the patronising, cliched way in which the West views Africa. Norway can afford to make the joke because there, unlike Britain, old people don’t die of the cold.

The reaction to the 2003 heatwave in Britain was extraordinary. It was blamed for 2,000 deaths and taken as a warning that Britain was horribly unprepared for the coming era of snowless winters and barbecue summers. The Government’s Chief Scientific Officer, Sir David King, later declared that climate change was : “more serious even than the threat of terrorism” in terms of the number of lives that could be lost. Such language is never used about the cold, which kills at least 10 times as many people every winter.
Since Sir David’s exhortations, some 250,000, mostly old Brits, have died from the cold, and 10,000 from the heat. It is horribly clear that we have been focusing on the wrong enemy. Instead of making sure energy was affordable, ministers have been trying to make it more expensive, with carbon price floors and emissions trading schemes. Fuel prices have doubled over seven years, forcing millions to choose between heat and food – and Government has found itself a major part of the problem.

My earlier post about the winter :

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Britain is no country for hundreds of thousands of old men in need of nourishment in their own homes

The word 'malnutrition' inevitably conjures up mental images of starving children in Africa, but it is also an issue much closer to home here in Britain, with an estimated 3 million people either, suffering from it, or at risk of becoming underfed. The resulting problems are believed to cost the public sector several billion pounds from, for example, avoidable hospital admissions and extra visits to the doctors for treatments for the range of illnesses malnutrition can cause.

Recent media coverage of malnutrition in Britain has focused on hospital staff not ensuring patients eat and drink properly but research by 'BAPEN', a charity that raises awareness of the problem, shows that 93% of the 1 million old men and women affected by malnutrition are in the community and just 5% in care homes and 2% in hospitals.

Finding ways to improve this situation formed the basis of a round table discussion recently held by the 'Guardian' newspaper in association with the medical nutrition company, 'Nutricia'. The debate was conducted under the 'Chatham House Rule', which allows comments to be reported without attribution to encourage a frank exchange of views and on that basis the following points were made by experts, that :

* "A lot of this is in people's homes and is thus hidden. We have to make it an issue that people talk about so that people know that other people struggle with it and make malnutrition something that people can talk about and not feel there's a stigma about it."

* "Older people's cupboards can contain only cat food, not food for the person who lives there. This is a massive issue now." 

* "We need to bust a myth: that it's normal to lose weight as you age." 

* "Older people losing weight are often assumed to be normal, so people don't look for the medical, social, environmental or psychological causes of that", which can include poverty, disability, loneliness and self-esteem issues.

So why are one million old men and women in Britain not eating properly ?
Well, medically, malnutrition can be either a cause or an effect of illness and those suffering from :

* cancer and taking certain cancer medications may lose their appetite.
* dementia may lose interest in food.
* not eating properly can become exhausted or even confused which raises their risk of having a fall or getting an infection and needing antibiotics.
* depression, perhaps exacerbated by social isolation with their family all living many miles away, may also be  under-eating.

Question : Who isn't willing to help with this problem ? 
*144 of the 152 local authorities in England which have not identified a 'strategic needs assessment' identifying lack of nutrition as a problem with one round table participant saying :
"That's staggering. Think of all the unhappiness and ill-health they could prevent, and all the money they could save, if they picked up malnutrition as an issue."
* politicians, both local and national, who have been frustratingly slow to take it seriously.

Question : Who is willing to help ?
Answer :
* The 'Malnutrition Task Force', set up in 2012, an independent group of experts from the fields of health, social care and dietary advice, aiming to  to prevent and address malnutrition among old men and women.

* 'Carers UK'  which published a report in 2012, entitled 'Malnutrition and Caring: The hidden cost for families' and highlighting how families caring for ill or disabled relatives are struggling to cope with the consequences of malnutrition, such as further deterioration of health.

* A joint initiative between 'Age UK', the 'Local Government Association' and 'National Health Service' working to improve older people's care in all settings.

* The round table discussion by the 'Guardian' and 'Nutricia' which suggested :
-  an advertising campaign to banish the myth of inevitable weight loss as people age and to ask "do you know what your loved one – or neighbour – is eating?".
- neighbours taking it in turn to cook for each other.
- greater use of voluntary organisations to visit isolated older people, check on their welfare and cook for them.
- hiring more specialist nutrition nurses and shifting resources from hospitals into community-based care.
- doctors conducingt annual assessments of the weight and body mass index of all over-65s, to identify malnourishment as early as possible.

So what are one million old men and women not getting ?  
England's 'Public Health Director of Health and Wellbeing', Professor Kevin Fenton, who has admitted that : "Malnutrition is a complex issue with a range of contributing factors" has the answer : "For a healthy diet people should eat plenty of starchy foods, fruit and vegetables, some milk, dairy, meat, fish and other non-dairy sources of protein and only small amounts of food high in fat and/or sugar."

My earlier posts about lonely old men in Britain :

Britain is no country for more and more lonely old men ;

Britain is a country in an epidemic of lonely old men :

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to an old comedy script writer called Eddie Braben who once made 20 million Britons laugh each week through Morecambe and Wise

 Comedy scriptwriter Eddie Braben, who has died aged 82, was best known for his 14-year association with the television comedians Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise and in so doing brought laughter into the lives and homes of 20 million of men women and children each week, in Britain, .in the 1970's. It was thanks to him that Wise started talking about the plays "what he had wrote – sometimes 26 in one day" with celebrities from other spheres ready and eager to take part.

What you possible didn't know about Eddie, that he :

* was born in Liverpool in 1930 and while still at school, loved writing jokes and dreaming that one day famous comedians would use them, sent bundles of them to stage and radio comedians and, at the age of 15 in 1945, one of them, Charlie Chester, bought one.

* his father, a butcher in St John's Market, invested in a fruit and vegetable stall for him to work at after he had left school and finished his national service in the Royal Air Force in the 1950s.

* hated crying his wares from the stall and was reduced to monosyllabic grunts when comedian Ken  Dodd ( right ) was appearing at the Empire Theatre in Liverpool and sent him a letter, met him and began to write for him.

* was 39 when his most famous collaboration, with Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise, began after the BBC's  Head of TV Light Entertainment, Bill Cotton, suggested they work together.

* burned the midnight oil, typing 30 pages of sketches and routines for the duo and when they met and read it, they laughed so much, Eric had to take his spectacles off to wipe his eyes before they declared they couldn't do the material until Cotton convinced them otherwise and their first Braben-written show went out in July 1969.

* set about reshaping the duo's on-screen personas, introducing more elements of their off-screen friendship into their act, exaggerated for comic effect, such as having them live together and even innocently sharing a bed in their BBC sketches.

* played a key part in the duo's success throughout the 70s, with their BBC 'Christmas Specials', in particular, becoming 'must-see' festive event and later said : "The real pressure came when I was sat in front of that typewriter with all those blank pages and there was a deadline and there was nothing happening. That's when you realised there were 20 million or 25 million people looking over your shoulder – all saying 'Make me laugh'."

* in 1972, gained a Special Bafta Award for his 'outstanding contribution to television', but in the same year  suffered a nervous breakdown, brought about by overwork and over-worrying about it, recovered and went on to write for many other shows with high ratings in the 1970s, for David Frost, Ronnie Corbett, Little and Large, Les Dawson and Jim Davidson.

* when Morecambe and Wise went to ITV in 1978, was unable to join them, for contractual reasons, until 1980, then wrote for 'Mike Yarwood in Persons' in 1982 and continued his work for tv until the age of 67 and 'Ant and Dec Unzipped' in 1997.

* in 2001, collaborated on the 'Olivier Award' winning, 'The Play What I Wrote', a tribute to the relationship between Morecambe, Wise and himself and published his autobiography,'The Book What I Wrote',  in 2004.

* was interviewed by Miranda Hart this year :

So, middle aged Brits who laughed at Eddie's scripts when young and old ones like me who laughed when middle aged say : "Thanks Eddie, for bringing a little sunshine into our lives."

Sunday 26 May 2013

Britain is no country for old men who suffer the violence meted out against them because they are old men

July 2012
Have-a-go hero becomes victim of mindless thuggery: Battered face of pensioner, 82, who chased off burglars after being beaten up in his home
  • Joseph Carter confronted attackers and was repeatedly punched in the head.
  • Pensioner chased intruders for 300ft and was later found on roadside.
  • Bravely releases photos of bloodied face and hands in bid to trace thugs.

    November 2012
    Joseph Griffiths stabbing death: Man remanded over murder
    * Joseph Griffiths, 73, was found stabbed at his home in Hazlebury Road, Fulham, on Saturday morning.
    * A man charged with the murder of a pensioner who was found dead at his home in west London has been remanded in custody.

    May 2013
    Grandfather, 75, 'tried to fight off killer' before being stabbed to death outside his home on return from mosque's evening prayers

    • Officers called by ambulance service to Small Heath, Birmingham.
    • Pensioner taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
    • Victim was father-of-seven Muhammed Saleem Chaudhry.
    • Respected member of community was taking just short walk home.
    • Nephew tells how he found his uncle lying in a pool of blood.
    • Grieving daughter says: 'Everyone, old and young, knew him.'
    • Shazia Khansays he was stabbed four times in the back.
    April 2013
    Couple jailed for beating pensioner in car light row

  • * A teenage couple who beat up a "defenceless 78-year-old man” for pointing out that they were driving with their headlights off have been jailed.
  • * Mr Connan had been standing at a bus stop when he noticed Graney was driving without headlights and indicated that he should turn them on.
  • * Fenton then said to him “are you going to let him get away with that?” before the pair stopped the car, got out and punched and kicked Mr Connan.
  • * The pair, who a judge said had shown “not the slightest bit of remorse” throughout their trial, then drove off leaving him bleeding on the floor.


  • Saturday 25 May 2013

    Britain is no country for old soldiers who want to keep their old moustaches in modern hospitals

    An article in the 'Daily Mail' today was entitled :

    Hospital staff forcibly shave off 70-year-old moustache from sergeant major, 86, and say he is 'lucky to be receiving care'

    It told the story of 86 year old ex soldier and grenadier guardsman, Ken Perkin, who :
    * had injured himself in a fall in the annexe where he lives at his son’s house in Worcester Park, south-west London in February and was taken first to St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south-west London, before being transferred to Kingston two weeks later and spent five weeks there because of hospital infections he acquired.
    * claims a  nurse pointed at his moustache which he'd had for 70 years and said, "We’ll have that off while we’re doing it" to which he replied : " No you’re not, I’ve had that since the War and I want to keep it. "
    * had the nurse go ahead, saying: "We’ll make you look about 17 again."
    * was told, after his son raised his concerns with the ward matron : "You are lucky we are still caring for you after your son complained about us."
    *  has now begun to regrow the moustache that he has worn with pride since he was called up aged 18 durung the Second World War in 1944.
    Social services told his son the nurse was South American and hadn’t understood she was not meant to shave him completely.
    A spokesman for Kingston Hospital said investigations established that the incident had been "an innocent and unfortunate mistake" by a nurse. " The nurse wanted to tidy and clean him up and did not shave his moustache off intentionally,’ she added. ‘We are all truly sorry for any distress this has caused Mr Perkin."
    The sad thing is that the indignity with which Ken was treated does not surprise me.


    Friday 24 May 2013

    Bitain is still a country for and says "Happy Birthday" to a very old Glaswegian actor, comedian and impressionist called Stanley Baxter

    I remember Stanley in one of his tv sketches, many years ago, in which he played the character of a little girl looking up the soap bubbles on his mother's hands, in a take off of the 'fairy liquid' washing up detergent and saying " Bubbles Mummy", only to receive a smack across the face from the hand.

    What you possibly didn't know about Stanley, who is 87 years old today is that he  :

    * was born in Glasgow, the son of an insurance manager and learned to make kids laugh at school so he wouldn't get beaten up and before that, his earliest memory was walking with his father in their street, Glasgow’s Fergus Drive, and singing "There was a wee man who lived in the moon..."

    * found his father did everything he could to discourage him from making a career in show business but  his mother, Bessie, who "desperately wanted to be an actress", lived her unfulfilled ambition vicariously through him and dragged him from one church hall to another to entertain audiences. 

    * said that : "aged seven, I was impersonating Harry Lauder and Mae West without knowing who they were, I copied my mother’s impressions and she also gave me stage directions."

    * was 13 when the Second World War broke out in 1939 and when Clydebank was blitzed by German bombs, went to a little holiday flat in Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae, with his mother and was educated at the only school on the island and "had a very happy year and a half. I rode my bike all the time: they didn't ask you to do any homework." 

    * back in Glasgow, was seen in a church hall doing doing impersonations, by a producer for the BBC's Scottish 'Children's Hour' and signed up for 100 broadcasts standing on a box to reach the microphone and earning a guinea a show in which he "would perform in little adventure stories. We'd get in an old boat and it would drift out to sea just as the episode was coming to an end." 

    * left school and studied music at the Scottish Royal Academy of Music, followed by a spell in the Army for National Service in the Far East , where he was posted to the 'Entertainment Unit' and he compered and produced shows, in huts, tents and anywhere else that could be used as a theatre working alongside comedy actor Kenneth Williams, film director John Schlesinger and dramatist Peter Nichols, who used the experience as the basis for his play 'Privates on Parade'.

    * left the Army and worked at Glasgow’s 'Citizens Theatre' and in its presentation at the Edinburgh Festival, 'The Thrie Estaites', which was "a wonderful experience," and "Tyrone Guthrie was the producer and was one of the few people who ever brought light, movement, and good entertainment to Edinburgh's dour Assembly Hall, where their other annual function concerned the very serious Convention of the Moderators of the Church of Scotland."

    * moved to London to work in tv in 1959 and starred in 'The Stanley Baxter Show' from 1963 to 1971 on BBC One and his 'Stanley Baxter Picture Show' from 1972 to 1975 on ITV.

    * performed in the original production of Joe Orton's, then controversial farce, 'What The Butler Saw' at the Queen's Theatre in 1969 and in the West End with Sir Ralph Richardson, Coral Browne and Hayward Morse.

    * in Bing Crosby's 'Christmas Special ' a few weeks before his death in 1977,  played multiple roles, including a butler, cook, Charles Dickens and in one skit, opposite a cracking-up Bing, the ghost of Bob Hope's court jester ancestor.

    * in his sketches for  'Parliamo Glasgow', conceived as being written by a fictitious scholar visiting Glasgow, took the patois of the city and developed it to comic effect with, for example, a local market, asked : "Zarra marra onna barra, Clara?", which he then translated as : "Is that a marrow on your barrow, Clara?".

    The Nation Speaks in 1973 :

    As the Queen :

    As various characters :

    Teach yourself to speak Scottish :

    * was rated as the 'greatest pantomime dame' of the century in Scotland,  a master of the double entendre and the quick, stunning costume-change and played his last Mother Goose, at the King's Theatre, Glasgow, at the age of 65 in 1991.

    * in 1994 he returned to radio, taking the role of Noel Cowad in the BBC World Service 'Play of the Week', 'Marvellous Party' he also read 'Whisky Galore' and 'Jimmy Swan - The Joy Traveller' for BBC Radio, providing the voices of all the characters.

    * after a lengthy spell in self-imposed retirement, at the age of  78, in 2004, featured in a series of three half-hour radio sitcoms for BBC Radio 4, entitled 'Stanley Baxter and Friends'.

    *  has written a number of books based on the language of Glasgow, as developed in his 'Parliamo Glasgow' sketch and on the humour of the city , 'Bedside Book of Glasgow Humour ', 'Parliamo Glasgow Omnibus '',Let's Parliamo Glasgow Again - Merrorapattur' and 'Stanley Baxter's Suburban Shocker : Featuring Rosemary Morningside and the Garrulous Glaswegian Mr. Ballhead'.

    * in a Christmas 2008 Special for ITV, used a mix of archived and new material, with celebrity comedians commenting on Baxter's influence on their lives and careers.

    Stanley, your humour is timeless. Britain says : "Thanks for the many laughs over many years."

    Tuesday 21 May 2013

    Britain is no country for old men with dementia without support and in the dark about what is happening to them.

    Dementia, an incurable brain condition,  is a problem which mainly afflicts old men and women and Jeremy Hunt, the Government Health Secretary, has said that the National Health Service has shockingly low dementia diagnosis rates, with 350,000 of the estimated 670,000 people with dementia unknowingly living with the condition. Given the fact that there are more old men than old women in Britain, that means that there are about 150,000 old men who don't know that they have the condition and therefore are not seeking help to alleviate the symptoms..

    Last year he said :
     "As with cancer in the past, too many health and care professionals are not aware of the symptoms. Some even believe that without effective cure there's no point putting people through the anxiety of a memory test, even though drugs can help stave off the condition for several years. It is this grim fatalism that we need to shake off not just within our health service but across society as a whole."

    Prime Minister, David Cameron, has said :

    "Dementia is a devastating disease – not just for sufferers but for their families and friends too.and as more people live longer, it is fast becoming one of the biggest social and healthcare challenges we face. Families, communities, health systems and their budgets will increasingly be strained as the number affected increases and so we need to do all we can to improve how we research, diagnose and treat the disease. That's why we're using our G8 to bring together health ministers, clinical researchers and healthcare companies. If the brightest minds are working together on this then we've got a greater chance of improving treatments and finding scientific breakthroughs. I've said before that we need an all-out fight-back against dementia that cuts across society. Now we need to cut across borders and spearhead an international approach that could really make a difference."

    So old men and women of Britain, take heart for :

    * targets are to be set to diagnose another 160,000 of you with the condition.
    * the 'postcode lottery' of diagnosis, which has resulted in doctors in some parts of the country where you live accepting less than a third of you with the condition as being in need of support. is to end.
    * the annual funding of dementia research will be increased to around £66 million.
    * with experts predicting that by 2021, 1 million of you will be living with dementia, politicians eager for your votes are on your case.

    Jeremy Hughes, the Chief Executive of the Alzheimer's Society, welcomed the Government's announcement and said :
    "There is surely no other condition where we would tolerate people living without treatments, without support and in the dark about what is happening to them. This is exactly what is faced by the 54% of people with dementia who never receive a diagnosis. This ambition from the National Health Service to significantly improve diagnosis rates in two years demonstrates real leadership. It is a key step in improving the lives of people with dementia."

    So, a summit on dementia will be held in London in September, bringing together health and science ministers, senior industry figures and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
    to spearhead an international approach designed to help old men and women with dementia around the globe.

    Peter and Sheila's story :

    Monday 20 May 2013

    Britain, once a country where an old politician called Geoffrey Howe spoke of 'broken cricket bats' and now one where a very old one speaks of 'broken levers'

    Geoffrey Howe is an 86 year old politician with a long pedigree in the job and the 'gravitas' which goes with it, who in the 1980's held the greatest offices of state as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Foreign Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister in the Government of Margaret Thatcher. It was, however, the style of his resignation from her government in 1990, when he was 64, that he is best remembered.
    Geoffrey's resignation was based on his disagreement with the way in which Mrs Thatcher His resignation was based on his disagreement with the way Mrs Thatcher was handling Britain's relations with the European Community and in his famous resignation speech in the House of Commons on 13 November, he attacked her for running increasingly serious risks for the future of the country and criticised her for undermining the policies on European Monetary Union  proposed by her own Chancellor and Governor of the Bank of England. He offered a striking cricket simile for British negotiations on EMU in Europe when he said :
     "It is rather like sending your opening batsmen to the crease, only for them to find, as the first balls are being bowled, that their bats have been broken before the game by the team captain". He called on others to "consider their own response to the tragic conflict of loyalties with which I have myself wrestled for perhaps too long". : click above the clock on the bottom bar.
    His speech was widely seen as the key catalyst for the leadership challenge of Michael Heseltine a few days later, as well as Mrs Thatcher's subsequent resignation as Prime Minister and party leader on 22 November 1990, after failing to win a vote in the first ballot by a sufficient margin to prevent a second ballot.
    Now, 23 years later and once again over the issue of Britain's relations with Europe, speaking of Prime Minister, David Cameron, he said in an article published yesterday in the 'Observer' newspaper :

    'Sadly, by making it clear in January that he opposes the current terms of UK membership of the European Union, the Prime Minister has opened a Pandora's box politically and seems to be losing control of his party in the process...

    Archimedes said: "Give me a place on which to stand and lever long enough, and I will move the world." British foreign policy should be about maximising and exploiting the levers we possess – whether through Europe, the transatlantic relationship or the Commonwealth – not breaking them or throwing them away.

    In this context, I have yet to meet any significant western political figure from beyond our shores who can understand why Britain would even contemplate leaving the European Union which is now a key point of leverage for this country in the modern world.'
    Geoffrey's full article :

    One letter to the newspaper read :
    'To destroy one Tory PM, Mr Howe, may be regarded as a misfortune; to destroy two looks like carelessness'.

    Sunday 19 May 2013

    Britain is still a place for and says "Happy Birthday" to an old rocker and philanthropist called Pete Townshend

    Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend, who is known principally as the guitarist and songwriter for 'The Who' with a career which spans more than forty years, is 68 today.

    What you possibly didn't know about Pete, that he :

    * was born in Chiswick, London into a musical family, his father a professional saxophonist in 'The Sqaudronaires' (right) and mother a singer and was drawn to rock and roll as a boy and saw Elvis in 'Rock Around the Clock' repeatedly at the age of 11.

    * got his first guitar when he was 12 and was influenced by Link Ray, John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley and Hank Marvin until he heard "heard rhythm & blues and it was all over."

    * said : " The first record I remember was 'Green Onions' by Booker T. I never listened that much to Muddy Waters or people like that. It was Steve Cropper (right) who really turned me on to aggressive guitar playing."

    * left school Acton County Grammar School at the age of 16 and enrolled at Ealing Art College with a view to becoming a graphic artist and at 17 with school fiend , John Entwistle formed 'The Confederates', a Dixieland duet and played banjo with John on horns.

    * moved on to 'The Detours', a skiffle/rock and roll band fronted by Roger Daltrey another former schoolmate and in 1964 renamed themselves 'The Who' and had drummer Keith Moon join them. 

    * wrote a series of successful singles for the band, including "I Can't Explain',
    at the age of 20 in 1965 and 'My Generation' : , 
    at 21 in 1966, 'Substitute' at 22
    in 1967 : 'I'm a Boy' : and 'Pictures of Lily' at 24 in 1969
    and 'Pinball Wizard' :

    * became known for his eccentric stage style during the band's early days, often interrupting concerts with lengthy introductions of songs and with a signature move in which he would swing his right arm against the guitar strings in a style reminiscent of the vanes of a windmill and became one of the first musicians known for smashing guitars on stage and would repeatedly throw them into his amplifiers and speaker cabinets.

    In the intervening 40 years :

    * created the rock operas 'Tommy' and Quadropenia' and saw 'The Who' continue to thrive, despite the drug related deaths of Keith in 1978 and John in 2002.

    * suffers from partial deafness and tinnitus believed to be the result of extensive exposure to loud music including the concert at the Charlton Athletic Football Club,London, in 1976 listed as the 'Loudest Concert Ever' where the volume level was measured at 126 decibels 32 metres from the stage.

    * has been involved with various charities and other philanthropic efforts both as a solo artist and with 'The Who and organised his 1974 benefit show to raise funds for the 'Camden Square Community Play Center.'

    * had donated money through his services to :
    - drug rehabiltation programmes

    - children with autism and mental retardation through the 'Music Therapy Foundation'
    - the Californian 'Bridge School Benefit' for children with severe speech and physical impairments
    - the Chicago 'Maryville Academy Children's Charity'
     - the British Teenage Cancer Trust
    - Amnesty International

    * in 2011 launched with Roger 'The Daltrey/Townshend Teen and Young Adult Cancer Program' at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Centre in Los Angeles to be funded by The Who's charity, 'The Who Cares Trust'.