This year has been an incredible year for sport and I was fortunate enough to be at Euro 2012 and the London Olympics. It hasn’t been as dangerous as last year with trips to Libya and Egypt but has been equally as enjoyable. Here are my favourite pictures of the year and some other random stories…
KATY PERRY: I can now say that I had five minutes in a hotel room with Katy Perry even if it was only to take her photograph! A PR girl working for Katy literally timed it on a stop watch as I took my pictures, although it was more like three minutes after Katy clicked her fingers half way through and a team of hair and make-up girls ran in the room. I managed to get a few nice pictures and Katy was really great – I’m now a big fan!
90 year old Sidney Blackmore from the 2nd Battalion Parachute regiment
SIDNEY BLACKMORE: I photographed 90 year old Second World War soldier Sidney Blackmore on his return to Arnhem, Holland for the first time since he parachuted on to the ‘bridge too far’ in Arnhem and fought the Germans on the bridge in 1944. He was an inspiring man who told me he has been living with a constant reminder of his heroics for 65 years – a piece of shrapnel from a German tank blast is still stuck in his head.
- Footballer Fabrice Muamba with his fiancé Shauna Magunda after he suffered heart failure
FABRICE MUAMBA: As news broke of Fabrice Muamba’s heart attack on the pitch in the FA Cup match against Tottenham I was sent to the hospital where he was being treated and spent many days outside of it waiting to get a photograph of him leaving. As soon as Fabrice was released from hospital I got to photograph him and his fiance Shauna Magunda in a hotel in London.They’re a lovely couple and it was great to see Fabrice kicking a ball for the first time since his heart stopped for over an hour.
Former Chelsea manager Avram Grant visits the gas chamber at Auschwitz
AVRAM GRANT: I went out to Poland to meet Avram Grant and the Football focus team at the Auschwitz concentration camp. It was my first experience of Auschwitz and Avram was keen to show me around. Avram lost 15 members of his family at the Nazi camp and he was very emotional throughout.
Model Tali Lennox in Sierra Leone for Christian Aid
SIERRA LEONE: My only job for Christian Aid this year was an amazing one – one week in beautiful Sierra Leone with Annie Lennox’s model daughter Tali. Sierra Leone is the most amazing country I’ve visited in Africa. The 10-year civil war has left families and communities without the tools they need to grow food and lift themselves out of poverty so our trip was to get the great work that Christian Aid do in the newspapers.
A fisherman in the small fishing village of Mo Albert in Sierra Leone
A woman has breast implants at a Harley Street clinic
COSMETIC SURGERY: This job was probably the most interesting one of the year and thankfully the patient was more than happy to be photographed. Surgeon Mr Azhar Aslam performed a breast implant operation at the Linia Harley Street surgery, and I photographed every moment from the second she walked through the door to when she left. Weirdly the first thing I felt like doing when I left was having some lunch!
England player Joleon Lescott scores against France at the Euro's
EURO 2012: This was the job I was looking forward to the most in the year but England let me down and I had to come home early! I was based in the beautiful Polish city of Krakow throughout and flew out to all of England’s matches in the Ukraine until we were knocked out by the Italians. Now I’m hoping I get to cover the World Cup in Rio!
English football fans out numbered by the Swedes
England players as they lose a penalty shoot out to Italy at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev
The Sun's Pakistan corruption exclusive
PAKISTAN PASSPORT EXCLUSIVE: I’ve put this story in this year because my job isn’t always about taking pictures. I spent two weeks in Lahore, Pakistan with reporter Stephen Moyes and a undercover reporter and together, with the help of some hidden camera equipment helped to expose corruption with the main Passport office in Lahore and corruption within the Pakistan Olympic team. This became headline news across Pakistan for weeks after and hundreds of officials were arrested.
Mo Farah wins gold for team GB in the 5000m
LONDON OLYMPICS: This was an incredible job and I’m so proud that I was a part of it. Photographing Usain Bolt and Mo Farah were the best moments for me and the atmosphere in the Olympic Stadium was electric. London was buzzing and I loved every minute of it.
Usain Bolt helps Jamaica win the 100m relay final
GB Gold medal winners Anna Watkins and Katherine Granger
British Terror suspect Jermaine Grant leaves the Mombasa Law courts in Kenya
TERROR SUSPECT: I had two trips to Mombasa in Kenya this year covering the trial of the British Terror suspect Jermaine Grant. Muslim convert Grant was picked up by Kenyan anti-terror officers after plotting to bomb Western tourist targets in Mombasa. It’s the easiest court job I’ve ever done as the prison officers parade him to the court for you and and then you can photograph him in the dock.
English Defence Leader Tommy Robinson in his local pub
EDL LEADER TOMMY ROBINSON: I was well aware of the EDL leader when I was asked to do some portraits of him in Luton. As we walked through Luton town centre everyone knew him and some were very abusive. Tommy showed me his local pub which was boarded up after the windows were allegedly smashed by a Muslim gang and we did the pictures in there.
An Israeli soldier with rockets that have been fired in to the country from Gaza
ISRAEL/ GAZA CONFLICT: Having photographed the last war in 2009 I was keen to get back to Israel as fighting broke out between the two countries again. I landed to news that a ceasefire had been announced, so I had one day of running in to bomb shelters to avoid rocket attacks in the South of Israel before the first quiet night the country had for weeks.
Olympic star Mo Farah at home in Portland, Oregon with his wife Tania, his stepdaughter Rihanna and twins Amani (left) and Aisha
AT HOME WITH MO: I was delighted to photograph Great Britain’s double gold winning athlete Mo Farah at home in Portland, Oregon with his family. Reporter Nick Francis and I spent three hours with the family although at least 20 minutes of that was on FIFA as I beat him 3-1 before he got competitive and demanded a rematch, which he won!
Four year old, Rio Woolf runs for the first time with the help of his new prosthetic leg
BLADE BOY RIO: This was my last job of the year and it was amazing to meet with this inspiration - four year old, Rio Woolf. Rio’s right leg was amputated at 14 months after he was born with a rare condition called Tibial Aplasia. I photographed him running on his prosthetic leg for the first time and his proud parents couldn’t believe how fast he was. The biggest star of the year and hopefully a future Paralympian!