James Hunt

Colourful British Motor Racing legend James Hunt was Born 29 August 1947. He began his racing career in touring car racing, Hunt progressed into Formula Three where he attracted the attention of the Hesketh Racing team and was soon taken under their wing. Hunt’s often action-packed exploits on track earned him the nickname “Hunt the Shunt”. Hunt entered Formula One in 1973, driving a March 731 entered by the Hesketh Racing team.

He went on to win for Hesketh, driving their own Hesketh 308 car, in both World Championship and non-Championship races, before joining the McLaren team at the end of 1975. In his first year with McLaren, Hunt won the 1976 World Drivers’ Championship, and he remained with the team for a further two years, although with less success, before moving to the Wolf team in early 1979. Following a string of races in which he failed to finish, Hunt retired from driving halfway through the 1979 season.

After retiring from racing in 1979, Hunt became a media commentator and businessman, commenting on Grands Prix for the BBC. He was known for his knowledge, insights, dry sense of humour and his criticism of drivers who, he believed, were not trying hard enough, which in the process brought him a whole new fanbase. sadly though he tragically died 15 June 1993 after suffering a heart attack. He was inducted into the Motor Sport Hall of Fame on 29 January 2014.

Baron Richard Attenborough CBE

The Late, great actor, Producer, Director and entrepreneur Richard Samuel Attenborough, Baron Attenborough, CBE was Born 29 August 1923, Richard was the elder brother of David Attenborough, the naturalist and broadcaster, and the late John Attenborough, who was an executive at Alfa Romeo before his death in 2012.

Attenborough first appeared in shows at Leicester’s Little Theatre, Dover Street, prior to him going to RADA, where he is still Patron. Attenborough’s film career began in 1942 in an uncredited role as a deserting sailor in theNoël Coward/David Lean production In Which We Serve, a role which would help to type-cast him for many years as spivs or cowards in films like London Belongs to Me(1948), Morning Departure (1950) and his breakthrough role as a psychopathic young gangster in the film of Graham Greene’s novel Brighton Rock (1947), a part that he had previously played to great acclaim at the Garrick Theatre in 1942. In 1949 exhibitors voted him the 6th most popular British actor at the box office. Early in his stage career, Attenborough starred in the West End production of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, which went on to become the world’s longest-running stage production. Both he and his wife were among the original cast members of the production, which openedin 1952 at the Ambassadors Theatre and as of 2012 is still running at the St Martins Theatre.

Attenborough worked prolifically in British films for the next thirty years, including roles in The Great Escape as RAF Squadron Leader Roger Bartlett (“Big X”), Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964) and Guns at Batasi (1964), for which he won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor. In 1965 he played Lew Moran opposite James Stewart in The Flight of the Phoenix and in 1967 and 1968, he won Golden Globe Awards for The Sand Pebbles and Doctor Dolittle starring Rex Harrison. He played John Christie in 10 Rillington Place (1971) and the ruthless General Outram, in The Chess Players he also ppeared Otto Preminger’s version of The Human Factor (1979) and as John Hammond in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993) and the popular film’s sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997). He also starred in the remake of Miracle on 34th Street (1994) as Kris Kringle

In the 1950s, Attenborough formed the production company, Beaver Films, with Bryan Forbes and worked as producer on projects including The League of Gentlemen (1959), The Angry Silence (1960) and Whistle Down the Wind (1961).His feature film directorial debut was the all-star screen version of the hit musical Oh! What a Lovely War (1969) and his acting appearances became sporadic as he concentrated more on directing and producing. He later directed two epic period films: Young Winston (1972), based on the early life of Winston Churchill and A Bridge Too Far (1977), an all-star account of Operation Market Garden in World War II. He won the 1982 Academy Award for Best Director and as the film’s producer, the Academy Award for Best Picture for his historical epic, Gandhi and another Golden Globe, this time as Best Director, for the same film in 1983, a project he had been attempting to get made for 18 years. Attenborough also directed the screen version of the musical A Chorus Line (1985) and the anti-apartheid drama Cry Freedom (1987), based on the life and death of the prominent anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko and the experiences of Donald Woods. He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Director for both films.His most recent films as director and producer include Chaplin (1992) starring Robert Downey, Jr., as Charlie Chaplin and Shadowlands(1993), based on the relationship between C. S. Lewis and Joy Gresham, (the star of the latter was Anthony Hopkins, who had appeared in four previous films for Attenborough: Young Winston, A Bridge Too Far, Magic and Chaplin.

In the late 90’s he appeared as Sir William Cecil in the historical drama Elizabeth (1998), Jacob in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and as “The Narrator” in the film adaptation of Spike Milligan’s comedy book Puckoon (2002). He made his only appearance in a Shakespeare film when he played the British ambassador who announces that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead at the end of Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet (1996). Between 2006 and 2007 Attenborough spent time in Belfast, Northern Ireland, working on his last film Closing the Ring, a love story set in Belfast during the Second World War and starring Shirley MacLaine, Christopher Plummer and the late great Pete Postlethwaite .He is also he former President of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). He won two Academy Awards for Gandhi in 1983 and has also won four BAFTA Awards and three Golden Globe Awards. As an actor he is perhaps best known for his roles in Brighton Rock, The Great Escape, 10 Rillington Place, Miracle on 34th Street and Jurassic Park.

After 33 years of dedicated service as President of the Muscular Dystrophy campaign, Attenborough became the charity’s Honorary Life President in 2004 and they also, established the Richard Attenborough Fellowship Fund.Attenborough is also the patron of the United World Colleges movement and frequently visited the United World College of Southern Africa (UWCSA) Waterford Kamhlaba. With his wife, they founded the Richard and Sheila Attenborough Visual Arts Centre. He also founded the Jane Holland Creative Centre for Learning at Waterford Kamhlaba in Swaziland in memory of his daughter. He passionately believes in education. Waterford was one of his inspirations for directing Cry Freedom. He was elected to the post of Chancellor of the University of Sussex on 20 March 1998, replacing The Duke of Richmond and Gordon. He stood down as Chancellor of the university following Graduation in July 2008. He was also a lifelong supporter of Chelsea Football Club, And served as a director of the club from 1969–1982 and between 1993 and 2008 held the honorary position of Life Vice President. On 30 November 2008 he was honoured with the title of Life President at the club’s stadium, Stamford Bridge. He was also head of the consortium Dragon International Film Studios, which was constructing a film and television studio complex in Llanilid, Wales, nicknamed “Valleywood”.

He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) and a Knight Bachelor in 1976 and in 1993 he was made a life peer as Baron Attenborough, of Richmond upon Thames. In 1992 he had been offered a Peerage by Neil Kinnock, then head of the Labour Party, but refused it as he felt unable to commit to the time necessary. In 1983, Attenborough was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Nonviolence Peace Prize by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. In 1992 he was awarded the Shakespeare Prize for his life’s work by the Alfred Toepfer Foundation in Hamburg.On 13 July 2006, Attenborough, along with his brother David, were awarded the titles of Distinguished Honorary Fellows of the University of Leicester “in recognition of a record of continuing distinguished service to the university” on 20 November 2008, Attenborough was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Drama from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD) in Glasgow. He was also an Honorary Fellow of Bangor University for his contributions to film making.Pinewood Studios paid tribute to his body of work by naming a purpose-built film and television stage after him. The Richard Attenborough Stage has an area of 30,000 sq ft. In his absence due to illness, Lord Puttnam and Pinewood Chairman Lord Grade officially unveiled the stage on 23 April 2012.

Gary Gabelich

BlueflameAmerican motorsport driver and Land Speed Record Holder Gary Gabelich was born 29 August 1940. During the 1960’s Gary worked and drove a split window 1960 era VW kombi delivery van for Vermillion’s Drug store . He lived with his parents in the Bixby Knolls area of Long Beach, CA during this time. He later went to work for North American Aviation which became North American Rockwell after a 1967 merger with Rockwell-Standard. Gary started in the mail room and stayed for 9 years in various positions from staff assistant before becoming a part-time test subject for Project Apollo in the years 1968 & 1969. Gary served as an Apollo test astronaut in 1968-1969 as stated on the plaque his family dedicated to him in 2001.

Unlike the actual astronauts, he was not flying the capsules, but testing their long-term viability in weightless conditions, their tolerance and performance under conditions of extreme lateral forces and, though they seldom spoke of it on televised moon shots, the toilet facilities. Gabelich was Mercury Seven astronaut Wally Schirra’s exact size and he did a lot of space checkout for him and testing of capsules and equipment before they were man-rated for operational use. Project Mercury ended in the early 1960s and Wally Schirra went on to become commander of Apollo 7

Gabelich broke the Land Speed Record by achieving average speeds of 622.407 mph (1,001.667 km/h) over a flying mile and 630.388 mph (1,014.511 km/h) over a flying kilometer on 23 October 1970. The thrust used during this attempt was between 13,000 pounds (5,900 kilograms) and 15,000 pounds (6,800 kilograms). A top speed of approximately 650 mph (1,050 km/h) was momentarily attained during one run. However The FIA rules dictate that a land speed mark is recognized only after two runs through the FIA measured kilometer and mile courses. The two corresponding speeds are then averaged for the official time and speed. Additionally both runs must be made within one hour. Gabelich averaged 629.412 mph (1,013 km/h) on his first run and 631.367 mph (1,016 km/h) on his second run for an average speed of 630.388 mph (1,015 km/h) establishing a new kilometer FIA LSR. The mile FIA LSR was the first exceeding 1,000 km/h (621 mph) and remained unbeaten until 1983, when Richard Noble broke it driving Thrust 2. The faster kilometer FIA LSR remained unbroken for 27 years until ThrustSSC went supersonic in 1997.

In 1969 Gabelich established a quarter mile Drag boat record of 200.44 mph (323 km/h) This is not the same as the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) Water Speed Record (WSR) in which Donald Campbell broke 200 mph (322 km/h) on 23 July 1955 in the Bluebird K7. Sadly Gabelich was seriously injured in the crash of an experimental 4 wheel drive Funny Car in 1972 that careered out of control at 180 mph (290 km/h) during a quarter mile run almost severing his left forearm and broke his left leg so severely that more than a year later he still wore a cast. This incident ended his racing career and he never raced again, concentrating instead on a new supersonic vehicle.

In the early 1980s he established the “Rocketman Corporation” with Tom Daniel. The objective was to design and build a vehicle capable of reaching speeds in the 800 mph (1,287 km/h) range. This conceptual vehicle was named “American Way” but the project was cut short by his untimely death in January 1984 in a motorcycle crash.Gary Gabelich was part of the cast in the 1977 movie “Joyride to nowhere” and he made a documentary,”One Second from Eternity: The History of the Land Speed Record” in 1971. Gary and his family appeared on the Family Feud with Richard Dawson, where he presented the key to the city of Long Beach, California. to Mr Dawson. In 2008 Gary was inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame in front of the Convention Center on Pine Avenue. He was represented at the ceremony by his wife Rae, a Long Beach City Councilwoman who retired in 2012 after 8 years service. On 23 October 1970 Gary Gabelich set the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Land Speed Record (LSR) with the rocket car Blue Flame on October 23, 1970, on a dry lake bed at Bonneville Salt Flats near Wendover, Utah. Blue Flame, was fueled with natural gas and when driven by Gary Gabelich it achieved the world land speed record on Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah on October 23, 1970. The vehicle set the FIA world record for the flying mile at 622.407 mph (1,001.667 km/h) and the flying kilometer at 630.388 mph (1,014.511 km/h).

Alex Griffin (Ned’s AtomicDustbin)

Alex Griffin the Bass Player with Ned’s Atomic Dustbin was born 29 August 1971. Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, were formed in 1988 by lead singer John Penney while he was still at sixth form college in November 1987. The band took their name from an episode of The Goon Show. The band were unusual for using two bass players in their lineup: Alex Griffin played melody lines high up on one bass, and Mat Cheslin played the regular bass lines on the other. This gave the band a tense and highly driven sub-hardcore sound featuring distorted effects-laden guitar and energetic drums. The band was formed while at sixth form college and they recorded their first album while some of the members were still teenagers. This led to a strong teenage fanbase with a reputation for enjoying crowd surfing and moshing at their gigs. The band were also noted (and occasionally ridiculed) for their early image which consisted of uniformly crimped hair and a predilection for sporting shorts and band/skateboard T-shirt

In the early 1990s they had several hit singles, including “Happy”, “Kill Your Television” and “Not Sleeping Around”. Together they released three successful albums (God Fodder, Are You Normal? and Brainbloodvolume).The Neds” (as their fans referred to them) were also well known for their own distinctive T-shirt designs, reportedly producing over 86 different designs within three years (1987–1990). Alex left when The band split up in 1995 after record company problems

However Penney formed a new band, Groundswell, initially with former Ned’s Atomic Dustbin guitarist Rat. The band released a few singles, and played some successful shows, but did not have much commercial success. After Groundswell split he completed a degree course, and now works as Media officer for Wolverhampton Civic Hall, while lecturing part-time and writing a weekly column titled ‘Up Penneyscope’ for local newspaper The Express & Star.In 2000 he reformed Ned’s Atomic Dustbin (with an altered line up including Andy King (bass) and Martin Warlow (guitar) for occasional gigs. The band completed a five date tour in 2004, and Penney continued to play occasional gigs with the band.Ned’s Atomic Dusbin reformed with original line-up for a re:united gig at the London Astoria in December 2008 and then a home gig in Wolverhampton. Penney recently contributed vocals to a song by Wolverhampton rock musician and free software advocate, Jono Bacon and still lives within walking distance of the Swan Hotel in Stourbridge.

NED’S ATOMIC DUSTBIN LIVE AT BRIXTON ACADEMY http://m.youtube.com/watch?&v=dLr6F_XzO-w