Harper Lee

American novellist Harper Lee was born in Monroeville 28 April 1926. She was the youngest of the four children born to lawyer Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Finch Lee. She grew under the stresses of segregation and as a child shared summers with another aspiring writer, Truman Capote, who annually came to stay in the house next door to hers. She studied at the University of Alabama from 1945 to 1949 before moving to New York, where she began writing fiction in her spare time. Lee eventually signed with an agent in 1956. Capote later invited her to accompany him to Holcomb, Kansas, to help him research his groundbreaking 1966 crime book In Cold Blood.

Capote also inspired the figure of the young boy Dill in Harper Lee’s classic 1961 novel To Kill a Mockingbird, with his friend the first-person narrator Scout clearly modelled on the childhood Lee herself. Her father acted as the template for small town lawyer Atticus Finch who displays resolute courtroom dignity as he struggles to represent and save the life of a black resident named Robinson who is accused of raping a white woman by a racist mob. This provides the novel’s ethical backbone. To Kill a Mockingbird went on to become a national institution and the defining text on the racial troubles of the American Deep South, where Lee’s home state of Alabama, was the epicenter of many violent upheavals over civil rights. The publication of Mockingbird, had a profound effect on white residents of the state and the power of the novel was able to shift the ingrained assumptions of white Alabamans and took the politics of the civil rights era and made them human. She showed people that this was about their neighbors, their friends, someone they knew, not just about the issues.

In 2014 it was revealed that a second novel had been discovered which was published as Go Set a Watchman in July 2015. It was originally written in the mid-1950s and is set some twenty years after the events in To Kill a Mockingbird, and is written from the point of view of an adult Scout (Jean Louise) Finch who travels from New York to Maycomb, Alabama, to visit her father, Atticus Finch, And the title alludes to Scout’s view of her father, Atticus Finch, as the moral compass (“watchman”) of Maycomb. The novel sees Scout “forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father’s attitude toward society and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood. Go Set a Watchman has since become a global success winning many awards.

Sadly In recent years Lee’s health had declined and she lived for several years in a nursing home less than a mile from the house in which she had grown up in Monroeville, Alabama – the setting for the fictional Maycomb of her famous bestselling 1961book To Kill a Mockingbird, which became a best seller and sold more than 40 million copies around the world and earned her a Pulitzer prize. Lee was also awarded the presidential medal of freedom in 2007 by George Bush. She sadly died February 19 2016 at the age of 89 and will be sadly missed.

Workers Memorial Day/world Day for safety and health at work

imageWorkers’ Memorial Day, International Workers’ Memorial Day or International Commemoration Day (ICD) for Dead and Injured or Day of Mourning takes place annually around the world on April 28, an international day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work. Workers’ Memorial Day is an opportunity to highlight the preventable nature of most workplace incidents and ill health and to promote campaigns and union organisation in the fight for improvements in workplace safety. The slogan for the day is Remember the dead – Fight for the living. Although April 28 is used as the focal point for remembrance and a day of international solidarity, campaigning and other related activities continue throughout the year right around the world.

In 1970, the AFL-CIO declared April 28 “Workers’ Memorial Day” to honour the hundreds of thousands of working people killed and injured at work every year. Following the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act by the U.S. Congress in 1970, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was formed in 1971. In 1984, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) did the same in Canada. The Canadian Labour Congress declared an annual day of remembrance in 1985 on April 28, which is the anniversary of a comprehensive Workers’ Compensation Act (refer to the entry Workplace Safety & Insurance Board), passed in 1914. In 1991, the Canadian parliament passed an Act respecting a National Day of Mourning for persons killed or injured in the workplace, making April 28 an official Workers’ Mourning Day.

Many Workers’ Memorial Day events have been organised in North America, and worldwide. Since 1989, trade unions in North America, Asia, Europe and Africa organised events on April 28. The late Hazards Campaigner Tommy Harte brought Workers’ Memorial Day to the UK in 1992 as a day to ‘Remember the Dead: Fight for the Living’. In the UK the campaign for Workers’ Memorial Day has been championed by the Hazards Campaign and taken up by trade unions, adopted by Scotland’s TUC in 1993, followed by the TUC in 1999 and the Health and Safety Commission and Health and Safety Executive in 2000.

April 28 is recognised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) as International Workers’ Memorial Day. In 1996 the ICFTU commemorated Workers’ Memorial Day and began to set annual ‘themes’. For 2006 the ICFTU theme was Union workplaces: safer workplaces, focusing on a global ban on asbestos and increased awareness of HIV/AIDS. During 2001 the ILO, part of the United Nations, recognised Workers’ Memorial Day and declared it World Day for Safety and Health at Work and in 2002 the ILO announced that April 28 should be an official day in the United Nations system.

Workers’ Memorial Day is recognised as a national day in many countries including: Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Gibraltar, Ireland, Luxembourg, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, Taiwan, United States and the United Kingdom. Trade unions in other countries including Benin, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Malta, Nepal, New Zealand, Romania and Singapore seek government recognition for Workers Memorial Day.

Workers’ Memorial Day is now an international day of remembrance of workers killed in incidents at work, or by diseases caused by work, and annually on April 28, Workers’ Memorial Day events are held throughout the world. Some examples include active campaigning, and workplace awareness events. Public events include speeches, multi-faith religious services, laying wreaths, planting trees, unveiling monuments, balloon releases, raising public awareness of issues and laying out empty shoes to symbolise those who have died at work. World Day for Safety and Health at Work also takes place every 28 April to raise awareness of the consequences of work-related accidents and diseases; and to stress the importance of occupational safety and health (OSH) at work and provide support for the improvement of international working conditions and labour standards.

Ferruccio Lamborghini

Italian industrialist and Manufacturing magnate Ferruccio Elio Arturo Lamborghini was born on 28 April 1916, to grape farmers from the comune of Renazzo di Cento in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy. His mechanical know-how led him to enter the business of tractor manufacturing in 1948, when he founded Lamborghini Trattori, which quickly became an important manufacturer of agricultural equipment in the midst of Italy’s post-war economic reform. In 1963 Ferruccio Lamborghini founded Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini S.p.A. in 1963 in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy, with the objective of producing a refined grand touring car to compete with offerings from established marques such as Ferrari. The company’s first models were released in the mid-1960s and were noted for their refinement, power and comfort. Lamborghini gained wide acclaim in 1966 for the Miura sports coupé, which established rear mid-engine, rear wheel drive as the standard layout for high-performance cars of the era. Lamborghini grew rapidly during its first decade, but hard times befell the company when sales plunged in the wake of the 1973 worldwide financial downturn and the 1973 oil crisis. Lamborghini was subsequently sold to the Mimrams And The firm’s ownership changed three times after 1973 in the wake of the Oil Crisis and a Worldwide Finacial Downturn including a bankruptcy in 1978. the Mimrams finally sold Lamborghini to the Chrysler Corporation who took control in 1987. They replaced the Countach with the Diablo and discontinued the Jalpa and the LM002.

However Chrysler found themselvesUnable to operate Lamborghini profitably, so they sold Lamborghini to Malaysian investment group Mycom Setdco and Indonesian group V’Power Corporation in 1994. Sadly Lamborghini’s financial difficulties continued throughout the 1990s, until Mycom Setdco and V’Power sold Lamborghini to the AUDI AG subsidiary of Volkswagen Group on 27 July 1998. Audi’s ownership marked the beginning of a period of stability and increased productivity for Lamborghini. Sales increased nearly tenfold over the course of the 2000s, peaking with record sales in 2007 and 2008. Unfortunately The world financial crisis in the late 2000s negatively affected all luxury car makers worldwide, and caused Lamborghini’s sales to drop nearly 50 percent. Lamborghini’s Sant’Agata Bolognese production facility produces V12 engines and finished automobiles. Lamborghini’s current production vehicles are the V10-powered Gallardo and the V12-powered Aventador. Both production models are available in a variety of regular and limited-edition specifications as well as Roadster versions. Lamborghini also produce the Reventon and the Huracan, which is the replacement for the Gallardo plus a variety of Concept models.

In 1969 Lamborghini also founded a fourth company, Lamborghini Oleodinamica, but sold off many of his interests by the late 1970s and retired to an estate in Umbria, where he pursued winemaking. Lamborghini Sadly passed away on February 20, 1993 At 76 years, at Silvestrini Hospital in Perugia after suffering a heart attack fifteen days earlier. Lamborghini is buried at the Monumental Cemetery of the Certosa di Bologna monastery. Today all of Ferruccio Lamborghini’s companies continue to operate today in one form or another. His son, Tonino, designs a collection of clothing and accessories under the Tonino Lamborghini brand. Ferruccio’s daughter, Patrizia Lamborghini, runs the Lamborghini winery on his Umbria estate. A museum that honors Lamborghini’s legacy, the Centro Studi e Ricerche Ferruccio Lamborghini, also opened in 2001.

Sir Terry Pratchett OBE

English novelist Sir Terry Pratchett OBE, was born 28th April in 1948. He is best known for his frequently comical work in the fantasy genre In particular the popular and long-running Discworld series of comic fantasy novels. Pratchett’s first novel, The Carpet People, was published in 1971, and his first Discworld novel The Colour of Magic was published in 1983. Since then he has been very prolfc, writing on average, two books a year . After finishing the fourth Discworld novel, Mort, he decided to focus fully on hs novels and make his living through writing and published his fifth book Equal Rites soon after. Since then He has written many other discworld Novels including Monsterous Regiment, Hogfather, Small Gods, Soul Music, Interesting Times, The Truth, The Fifth Elephant, Maurice & his Educated Rodents, Carpe Jugulum, Wyrd Sisters, Making Money, Wintersmith, Thud!, Night Watch, Unseen Academicals and I shall Wear Midnight. His latest Discworld book, Snuff has become the third-fastest-selling novel since records began in the United Kingdom selling 55,000 copies in the first three days (and I bought one of them). The novels all had distinctive cover art by Josh Kirby and Since Kirby sadly passed away in October 2001, the covers have been designed by Paul Kidby.

Many of Pratchett’s books have also been adapted for Radio and Television, the BBC’s Woman’s Hour broadcast The Colour of Magic as a serial in six parts and Truckers was adapted as a stop motion animation series for Thames Television by Cosgrove Hall Films in 1992. Johnny and the Dead was also made into a TV serial for Children’s ITV on ITV, and in 1995. Wyrd Sisters and Soul Music were adapted as animated cartoon series by Cosgrove Hall for Channel 4 in 1996. In January 2006, BBC One also aired a three-part adaptation of Johnny and the Bomb. A two-part, feature-length version of Hogfather starring Michelle Dockery, David Jason and featuring the voices of Christopher Lee and Ian Richardson, was first aired on Sky One in the United Kingdom in December 2006, and on ION Television in the U.S. in 2007. A two-part, feature-length adaptation of The Colour of Magic and its sequel The Light Fantastic aired during Easter 2008 on Sky One. A third adaptation, Going Postal was aired at the end of May 2010. The Sky adaptations are notable also for the author’s presence in cameo roles.

imageHe remains a hugely popular author to this day and many of his books have occupied top places on the best-seller list. According to the Bookseller’s Pocket Yearbook from 2005, in 2003 Pratchett’s UK sales put him in 2nd place behind J. K. Rowling and in the paperback sales list Pratchett came 5th, behind James Patterson, Alexander McCall Smith, John Grisham and J. R. R. Tolkien). His sales in the UK alone are more than 2.5 million copies a year. In 1998 Pratchett was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) “for services to literature” . In addition, he was knighted in the 2009 New Year Honours. In 2001 he won the Carnegie Medal for his children’s novel The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents. In December 2007, Pratchett publicly announced that he was suffering from posterior cortical atrophy, a variation of Alzheimer’s disease and, subsequently, made a substantial public donation to the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, and filmed a programme chronicling his experiences with the disease for the BBC. Sadly though Sir Terry Pratchett OBE, passed away on Thursday, 12 March 2015 at the age of 66 after a lengthy battle with the disease at his home surrounded by his family and with his cat sleeping on his bed. His latest novel “The Shepherd’s Crown” was published posthumously in 2015.

Ian Rankin OBE DL

PProlific Scottish crime thriller writer Ian Rankin, OBE, DL was born 28th April 1960. His best known books are the Inspector Rebus novels, although He has also written several pieces of literary criticism. Rankin did not set out to be a crime writer. He thought his first novels Knots and Crosses and Hide and Seek were mainstream books, more in keeping with the Scottish traditions of Robert Louis Stevenson and even Muriel Spark . He was disconcerted by their classification as genre fiction. Scottish novelist Allan Massie, who tutored Rankin while Massie was writer-in-residence at the University of Edinburgh, reassured him by saying, who would want to be a dry academic writer when “they could be John Buchan?”

Among his best known novels are The Flood, Knots and Crosses, Watchman, Westwind, Hide and Seek, Tooth and Nail, Strip Jack, Witch Hunt, Bleeding Hearts, Mortal Causes, Blood Hunt, Let it Bleed, Black and Blue, The Hanging Garden, Dead Souls, Set in Darkness, The Falls, Resurrection Man, Beggars Banquet, A Question of Blood, Flesh Market Close, Exit Music, A Cool Head and Doors Open.

Rankin’s Inspector Rebus novels are set mainly in Edinburgh and are considered major contributions to the Tartan Noir genre. Ten of the novels have also been adapted for a television series on ITV, starring John Hannah as Rebus in Series 1 & 2, with Ken Stott taking on the role for Series 3-5. In 2009, Rankin also recently donated the short story “Fieldwork” to Oxfam’s Ox-Tales project, four collections of UK stories written by 38 authors and Rankin’s story was published in the Earth collection. Rankin’s latest novel include Standing in Another Man’s Grave( 18th Inspector Rebus & 3rd Malcolm Fox novel), Saints of the Shadow Bible (19th Inspector Rebus & 4th Malcolm Fox novel), Dark Road Stage play, The Beat Goes On: The Complete Rebus Stories Short stories And Even Dogs in the Wild (the 20th Inspector Rebus & 5th Malcolm Fox novel).

Fred Dibnah MBE

Charismatic Engineer, Steeplejack and British television personality Fred Dibnah was Born 28th April 1938. As a child, Dibnah was fascinated by the steam engines which powered the many textile mills in his home town of Bolton and developed a keen interest in mechanical engineering, Steam Engines and chimneys and the men who worked on them. He began his working life as a joiner, before becoming a steeplejack. From age 22, he served for two years in the armed forces, as part of his national service. Once demobilised, he returned to steeplejacking but met with limited success until he was asked to repair Bolton’s parish church. The resulting publicity provided a welcome boost to his business, ensuring he was almost never out of work.

Dibnah’s interest in steam power stemmed from his childhood observations of the steam locomotives on the nearby railway line, and his visits to his father’s workplace—a bleach works in Bolton—where he was fascinated by the steam engines used to drive the line shafting. He later became a steam enthusiast, befriending many of the engine drivers and firemen who worked on the nearby railway. As a teenager he met a driver who invited him onto the footplate of his locomotive and who asked him to keep the boiler supplied with fuel. Dibnah became so enamoured with steam engines that he eventually looked for one he could buy. He learnt of a steamroller kept in a barn near Warrington and which the owners had bought from Flintshire County Council. He had the boiler pressure-tested and, despite it being in poor condition, bought it for £175. He towed it to a friend’s house, spent a fortnight making various repairs and drove it to his mother’s house in Bolton.

After he married and bought his own property on Radcliffe new Road, he cut an access road to the garden of his new house and moved the steamroller there. Restoring the engine took many years, as Dibnah had to create his own replacement parts, using Victorian engineering techniques and equipment he built in his garden. The boiler was in poor condition and needed serious work, but Dibnah used local knowledge and was eventually able to build a new boiler. Once restored, he used the 1910 Aveling & Porter steamroller together with a living van he bought and restored, to take his family around the local steam fairs In 1978, while making repairs to Bolton Town Hall, Dibnah was filmed by a regional BBC news crew. The BBC then commissioned an award-winning documentary, which followed the rough-hewn steeplejack as he worked on chimneys, interacted with his family and talked about his favourite hobby—steam.

He made many more Television programmes about Steam Engines & Locomotives and In 1998, he presented a programme on Britain’s industrial history and went on to present a number of fascinating series, largely concerned with the Industrial Revolution and its mechanical and architectural legacy. In mid-2000, Dibnah was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Technology for his achievement in engineering by Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, and on 19 July 2004 he was made an honorary Doctor of the University by the University of Birmingham. He was also awarded an MBE for services to heritage and broadcasting. He said “I’m looking forward to meeting the Queen but I shall probably have to get a new cap. And I’d like to meet Prince Charles because we share the same views about modern architecture.”On 7 July 2004, Dibnah went to Buckingham Palace to receive his award from the Queen.

Sadly Fred’s health was failing at this point although filming continued at various locations around the country, with sons Jack and Roger, who had become essential members of the tour, providing much-needed support for their father. By the end of July, the crew had filmed only 34 days with Dibnah, out of a planned 60. It was becoming more difficult by the day for Dibnah to fulfil his filming duties and the crew decided to cut short the schedule and he died shortly after on 7 November 2004 and is sadly missed. He is survived by his five children from three marriages.