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28 October 2014
Inside Out: Surprising Stories, Familiar Places

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   Inside Out - West: Monday February 20, 2006

Flat pack wheelchairs

Hut and man in wheelchair
Positive action - terrain friendly wheelchairs

Inside Out West tells the remarkable story of a man who has turned a personal tragedy into an international force for good.

David Constantine was on a holiday to Australia 23 years ago when he dived into water which was just three feet deep.

He would never walk again.

But rather than let the accident destroy him, David has devoted his life to helping other people with disabilities.

With two friends, he set up Motivation, a charity which works out of a modest office in Brockley near Bristol – changing the lives of people across the globe.

Their latest project is a revolutionary flat-pack wheelchair.

It’s cheap to make, easy to assemble and, crucially, fully adjustable for each individual.

It’s a chair designed for rugged third-world terrain – and is making a huge difference to the lives of disabled people.

Inside Out West travels with David to Sri Lanka to see a project there which is assembling and distributing the wheelchairs to local people.

We see how it’s giving people the freedom to get back to work and regain control of their lives.

Mobility in action

Vadivel Sinanandan is one such person.

Vadivel Sinanandan and wheelchair
Positive action - terrain friendly wheelchairs

He was left paralysed after falling out of a tree while cutting branches.

The accident left him stranded in a medical clinic – unable to get back home to see his family in a remote Sri Lankan village.

He’s one of an estimated 20 million people in low income countries who need a workable wheelchair.

The Motivation team makes sure he is fitted with one of the new flat-pack wheelchairs.

The wheelchair enables him to return home to his wife and children.

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The legendary DJ Derek

DJ Derek drinking a beer
Not the standard turntable spinner - DJ Derek

Derek Morris is a 64-year-old former accountant from Bristol with a penchant for cardigans and long subsidised bus journeys.

But Derek has an unlikely alter-ego.

He's become a cult hero in the world of Jamaican Reggae!

Music has always been a huge influence on his life.

In fact, he was on the brink of becoming a professional drummer but somehow accountancy got in the way and he joined Cadburys, where he worked until 1977.

But his love of music found an outlet at the Star and Garter pub in the St Pauls area, where he was invited to play his records for the largely black clientele.

Word quickly spread and as the years went by, Derek's reputation grew.

DJ in demand

DJ DEREK


Derek got into music in the 1950's as a washboard player in a skiffle band before taking up the drums.

He didn't like the "wishy washy rock 'n' roll" of the Fifties, so turned to the R&B sounds coming out of black America.

Worked as an accountant at Cadbury's chocolate factory, until he took the unusual step of becoming a DJ.

Heavily influenced by his 1950's Jamaican and British upbringing. He began to explore the "Sweet Memory Sounds" of ska and reggae.

DJ Derek's blend of reggae, dub and ska has made him an icon for several Jamaican producers and Massive Attack.

DJ Derek MCs in Jamaican patois.

Much of his vast record collection came from weekly shopping trips to a specialist importer of Jamaican music in London.

Eventually the records outgrew his flat, so Derek spent something like two and a half years recording 32,000 tracks onto hundreds of minidiscs.

Although Derek no longer plays at the Star and Garter, he's still very much in demand.

"Well I've got two, shortly to be three, residencies in London - that’s the Notting Hill Art Club on the first Tuesday of the month.

"And I work regularly in places like Newport, Totnes, Birmingham.

"And then when the festival season comes along I do Big Chill, the Shambala, Secret Garden – I think I did seven festivals last year."

Favourite tracks

This month Derek is bringing out a CD of some of his favourite tracks.

DJ Derek
Devil on the decks - DJ Derek is a cult hero

He says he's never had anything but encouragement from the black community in St Pauls.

"They’ve always said, 'go for it Derek, spread the music', and that’s been very heartening to me.

"I'm the happiest man I know – I wouldn’t change places with anyone else on earth."

Fans can find his CD, DJ Derek Presents Sweet Memory Sounds, on
Trojan Records from 20 February 2006.

The tracklisting includes artists such as Toots and The Maytals, Junior Murvin, Max Romeo and Gregory Isaacs.

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Hero or Deserter?

Edward St John Daniel
War hero - but Daniel forfeited his medal

We join Christopher and Timothy Daniel on their way to the National Maritime Museum.

They're retracing the story of their ancestor, Edward St John Daniel and the Victoria Cross he won and lost.

What they don't know is that Inside Out West has arranged a special surprise.

Locked away in a briefcase is the answer to a mystery which has puzzled the family for years.

Victoria Cross

Edward St John Daniel was born in Bristol in 1837.

In his childhood he would have looked out from his home overlooking the Avon Gorge and seen the ships going up and down the river.

He decided on a career in the Royal Navy and joined HMS Victory as a cadet just after his 14th birthday.

At the tender age of 17 he was awarded Britain's highest award for gallantry, the Victoria Cross, for his bravery in battle.

But disgrace was to follow and just four years later he was stripped of his medal for what was described simply as a "disgraceful offence".

He remains the only Royal Navy man and the only officer ever to forfeit a Victoria Cross.

His family believe his downfall was brought about by an inability to cope with the death of his Captain, to whom he was devoted.

Lost medal

The forfeited Victoria Cross eventually fell into private hands, but for many years the identity of its owner has been a secret.

Christopher and Timothy don't know what happened to it.

But Inside Out West has been doing some detective work and has tracked the medal down.

It's pulled out of a briefcase so Christopher and Timothy can see it.

They're amazed to be able to examine it close up.

The private owner of the medal hopes eventually to be able to place it in a public collection.

It's an amazing moment for the family - and it solves the mystery of the medal which was so dear to their family.

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