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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Someone get him a dog tag... Hilarious collection of photos of soldiers seeing the funny side of life on the frontline

By John Stevens

Soldiers are known for their black humour on the frontline as they see the funny side of life in the face of adversity.

But these military personnel have taken things a step beyond in these hilarious images from the battlefield.

These photographs, released by slightlywarped.com, celebrate the best humour from our soldiers, airmen and sailors.

A man and his dog: This canine shows off his surveillance skills as he looks through a telescope next to an armed soldier

Call the cavalry: Soldier aims fire on the back of a tiny donkey

Diversion: Soldier stands behind this roadblock marked with some wishful thinking

Bombs away: Soldier hangs strapped to the wing of an aircraft pretending to be a missile

A Knight's Tale: Soldiers joust on bicycles in front of a crowd of military personnel enjoying the revelry

Undercover: A soldier's camouflage uniform hides him in a slightly more domestic situation than it was intended

Mousetrap: A soldier tests out this homemade giant vermin catcher with a bottle of beer at an army base

Woman behind the wheel: A female pilot hangs her handbag on the controls of this military aircraft

In this collection you will find some great images of the men and women in uniform managing to raise a smile, even when their lives are on the line.

There are the two airmen, dressed in full pilot’s uniform including helmets, racing down the runway with model airplanes strapped around their waists.

Then there is the female pilot flying a jet with her handbag dangling from the airplane’s controls.

Look out for the giant mousetrap that has been made back at base, which is being tested by a soldier with a beer bottle.

Technology: This spoof photo shows off the U.S. government's next generation stealth fighter

Taking a break: This pilot enjoys a magazine while seated in the back of a military fighter jet

Read for take off: Two airmen in full pilot uniform race down the runway with two model aircraft around their waists

Hitching a lift: This soldier tries to get a ride back home to Florida from the frontline

Disguise: This photo shows a Coca-Cola lorry hidden by army camouflage

Bow and arrow: This soldier uses his gun in a slightly less conventional way

Suicidal teens welcome! A spoof sign hangs in the window of an army recruitment centre

There is also soldier taking some time out from his duties in full camouflage gear who is disguised by the garish sofa he is lying on.

Another picture shows a Coca-Cola lorry also in full camouflage.

A soldier is also pictured standing at a desert roadblock painted with ‘Car bombs must exit’.


Don't worry, it just means he loves me: Polar bear trainer's jaw-dropping photos

By Daily Mail Reporter

Grizzly man Mark Abbot Dumas is the only man in the world who can touch a polar bear.

The fearless animal trainer even goes for dip in a swimming pool where he and 16-year-old polar bear Agee enjoy a watery cuddle together.

Back on dry land he wrestles with the 60-stone (800lb) beast in her enclosure and bravely lets Agee clamp her huge jaws around his head.

Mouthy: Agee clamps her jaws around Mark's neck in an amazing demonstration of just how much he trusts the huge bear

And when the wrestling has tired both the animal expert and huge Agee out, they both enjoy a nap together inside Agee's enclosure.

Mark, 60, and wife Dawn, 49, from Abbotsford, British Columbia (BC), Canada, train the polar bear - the world's largest land predator - to star in high-budget TV adverts.

She even appeared in movies like Alaska in 1995 when she was just a few weeks old.

With their incredibly intimate bond Agee even bear hugs owner Mark as she rears up on her hind legs to over seven feet.

Dream life: Mark nestles up to Agee and takes a nap

‘If anyone else tried this they would end up as Agee's dinner,’ said Mark.

‘The only people in the whole world she likes are me and my wife.

‘I have worked with bears in this way for over 40 years, so I can read Agee's body language and know how to behave safely around her.

‘Agee has rules and we are always working inside those.’

Snap happy: Mark takes a picture of his ginormous pal as they take a swim together

Mark and Dawn took Agee on when she was just eight weeks old.

With links to Hollywood through previous work with animals, Mark was approached by director Fraser Heston - the son of screen legend Charlton - 16 years ago.

Heston needed a polar bear cub for his forthcoming film Alaska and Mark found Agee - a surplus cub at Kolmarden Zoo, Sweden.

Mark and Dawn went through a lengthy application to show they had the facilities to care for her.

After being approved they transported the tiny cub - seen here at their old family home in Mission, BC, just after her arrival - to Canada.

Breather: Mark and Agee take some time out from training and relax on the grass

‘She lived inside our home for the first few weeks and we hand-reared her,’ said Mark.

‘Eventually a time came when she was so big we had to move her outside into her own enclosure.’

Now Agee spends her time living in her new enclosure on rented land near Mark and Dawn's home in Abbotsford, and on the road working on TV and film sets.

At home, Mark enjoys 'play time' with her.

‘Earlier in the morning she's more playful and relaxed and she lets me roll around with her.

‘We wrestle for fun and sometimes we fall asleep on her grassy lawn together. It's a great way to unwind after a bad day.

Cuddle: Mark turns the tables on Agee and gives her a bear hug

‘I feel pretty privileged to be able to nap with my head resting on a fully-grown polar bear.’

Later in the day - when they are preparing for filming - Mark 'works' her, training Agee for the requested script requirements.

Agee performs a variety of commands in exchange for her favourite treats - steak, cookies, salmon and chocolates.

On cue from Mark, she rears up on her hind legs and will even pretend she's roaring when instructed to 'smile'.

‘She doesn't actually roar but she makes the action,’ said animal handler Dawn. ‘Film crews will later add in the sound of the roar if that's what they need for their production.’

Agee will also lie down, crawl and sit up in returnfor reward foods.

Affection: Agee licks Mark's face as they play around on the grass

‘She loves her work,’ said Mark. ‘They are extremely intelligent animals and you can see she gets enjoyment out of being stimulated through her work.

‘She could never have lived wild so it's important to us that we keep her active and thinking.

‘That's why I like swimming with her and playing on the lawn.’

In the evenings Agee is fed on mountains of protein-rich salmon, chicken or other meats, along with carbohydrates she gets from high-quality dog food and vitamin supplements.

‘In the wild she would be eating seal but we can't buy that so we have to try and replicate a fat-rich diet,’ said Mark.

‘Because they scavenge in the summer - when they are off the sea ice and on dry land - they have very adaptable diets.

Amazingly, Agee seems to have favourites between men and women.

‘She gets very jealous of other women talking to Mark,’ said Dawn.

‘She's happy with me doing it but if any other women are around she gets very possessive of him.’


Mother-in-law from hell sends harsh lesson in manners to 'uncouth' bride-to-be in email which becomes worldwide sensation

-Carolyn Bourne told Heidi Withers she was 'an ideal candidate for Ladette to Lady television series'
-She calls bride-to-be she needs 'guidance from experts'

By Daily Mail Reporter

Mother-in-law from hell Carolyn Bourne, 60, sent the e-mail to Heidi Withers after she was less than impressed with her etiquette when she visited her Devon home in April

It can be notoriously difficult to win over the in-laws.

But Heidi Withers may have a tougher task than most after her future mother-in-law emailed her a vicious character assassination in which she attacked her for her ‘staggering uncouthness and lack of grace’.

Carolyn Bourne, a renowned breeder of pinks and dianthus flowers, told Miss Withers, 29, she should attend a finishing school in ‘utmost haste’ to get rid of her ‘bad manners’.

She went on to describe her as ‘an ideal candidate for the Ladette to Lady television series’.

The email was intended to be a private rant. But shocked Miss Withers, a PA for a London recruitment firm, sent it on to a select group of friends. Surprised and amused, the friends in turn forwarded the message on to their friends.

And by last night the email had been posted on numerous websites, with thousands writing comments about the ‘mother-in-law from hell’.

Mrs Bourne, the step-mother of Miss Withers’ fiancĂ© Freddie Bourne, sent the email after the young couple had spent a weekend at her £500,000 five-bedroom detached home on the picturesque outskirts of Dawlish, Devon.

Incensed by her future daughter-in-law’s behaviour, the 60-year-old wrote: ‘It is high time someone explained to you about good manners. Yours are obvious by their absence and I feel sorry for you.’

'Uncouth': Heidi Withers, left, on holiday here in the U.S. with her husband-to-be Freddie, forwarded the email sent to her by Carolyn Bourne

'Perfect candidate': Mrs Bourne compared her future daughter-in-law to the television programme Ladette to Lady

Mrs Bourne, who is married to Freddie’s 63-year-old father Edward, even said Miss Withers’ behaviour had left their pet dog Bomber ‘profoundly upset, depressed and anxious’.

Mrs Bourne, who runs Whetman Pinks, a sprawling plant nursery based around 30 industrial greenhouses in the grounds of her home, went on to list several examples of Miss Withers’ apparent lack of manners.

She accused her of poor table manners, insulting the family in public and failing to send a hand-written card to say thank you after her stay.

And she rounded off the email with a withering attack on the nature of the couple’s relationship.

‘One could be accused of thinking that Heidi Withers must be patting herself on the back for having caught a most eligible young man,’ she concluded. ‘I pity Freddie.’

Mrs Bourne also criticised Miss Withers’ parents for failing to save enough money for their daughter’s wedding.

Miss Withers’ mother Sylvia, a nurse, and father Alan live with their two Yorkshire terriers in a five-bedroom £450,000 detached cottage set in half an acre in the village of Aylton, near Ledbury in Herefordshire.

A neighbour said: ‘They are such a lovely family and Heidi is a brilliant girl. They really are the salt of the earth.

‘I don’t know why the lad’s step-mother is getting involved.’

Last night 29-year-old Freddie, who runs online bicycle shop Capital Cycles and lives in Putney, South-West London, declined to comment.

Mrs Bourne also refused to answer any questions as she attended a Horticultural Trades Association plant show at Stoneleigh Park, Coventry.

Her husband Edward said: ‘We are aware of what is being said. I know it is very boring, very repetitive and very dull but we will not be making any comment and neither will my wife.’

Miss Withers and Mr Bourne are not the first to suffer acute embarrassment because of out-of-control email round robins.

A derogatory email exchange between Harry Fildes, 25, and Sebastian Marsh, 24, about Mr Marsh’s ex-girlfriend spread rapidly in March after Mr Fildes accidentally sent a copy to the girl in question. Mr Marsh was later sacked by his company, Miller Insurance.

And Holly Leam-Taylor, a graduate trainee at consultants Deloitte, quit in December 2009 after sending an email discussing attractive male staff.more detail


Britain and the U.S. top league table of countries that would be worst affected by an asteroid strike

By Daniel Bates

If you live in Britain, the U.S. or China, start preparing now.

Scientists have drawn up a league table of the countries which will be worst affected in the event of an asteroid strike.

They have identified for the first time those which will suffer catastrophic loss of life or be so crippled it will be almost impossible for them to recover.

This image, taken by the Faulkes Telescope South, is a single 20-second exposure of 2011 MD as it zipped past Earth at a distance of 7,500 miles on Monday. Scientists have drawn up a league table of the countries which will be worst affected in the event of an asteroid strike

Developed countries make up the majority of those on the list, but China is there too because of the sheer number of people who would die.

Even smaller countries like Sweden are in grave danger because of the damage to their infrastructure.

The list has been compiled by researchers from the University of Southampton using software called called NEOimpactor, short for NASA's ‘NEO’ or Near Earth Object programme.

Overall the top ten countries most at risk are: China, Indonesia, India, Japan, the U.S, the Philippines, Italy, the U.K, Brazil and Nigeria.

Looking at population loss, the U.S, China, Indonesia, India and Japan are most in danger.

Those countries which face massive devastation to their infrastructure are Canada, the U.S, China, Japan and Sweden.

The threat of asteroids was illustrated on Monday when a rock as large as a small house soared within 7,500 miles of Earth.

Red-faced astronomers only discovered it a few days before and until then they thought it was a piece of space junk.

An asteroid crash into Earth in the film Deep Impact. Looking at population loss, the U.S, China, Indonesia, India and Japan are most in danger from a space rock

‘The threat of Earth being hit by an asteroid is increasingly being accepted as the single greatest natural disaster hazard faced by humanity,’ said Nick Bailey, of the University of Southampton, who developed the NEOimpactor software.

‘The consequences for human populations and infrastructure as a result of an impact are enormous.

‘Nearly one hundred years ago a remote region near the Tunguska River witnessed the largest asteroid impact event in living memory when a relatively small object (approximately 50 meters in diameter) exploded in mid-air.

‘While it only flattened unpopulated forest, had it exploded over London it could have devastated everything within the M25.

‘Our results highlight those countries that face the greatest risk from this most global of natural hazards and thus indicate which nations need to be involved in mitigating the threat.’

According to DailyGalaxy.com it will take an asteroid bigger than 12miles in diameter to destroy all plant and animal life.

Such an asteroid is thought to have been responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs 65million years ago - a rock up to 10miles in diameter hit Earth at 25,000 an hour with a force of 100 megatons, the equivalent of one Hiroshima bomb for everyone on the planet.

Earth has avoided such an event since in part because of Jupiter’s gravitational field which limits our exposure to space rocks.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The incredible X-ray that showed how cat named Hope survives being blasted by THIRTY airgun pellets


The incredible X-ray that showed how cat named Hope survives being blasted by THIRTY airgun pellets  1
Evidence: The vet's X-ray shows Hope's body filled with the bullets

A cat called Hope has miraculously survived being blasted by around 30 airgun pellets, during a wave of senseless shootings across the UK.

The RSPCA has launched a hunt for the evil shooter and has released X-rays of some of the pellets inside Hope's body.

Hope's owner found her bleeding and near to death in Great Walsingham, Norfolk, and at first it was thought she'd been attacked by a dog because her body was ripped and torn.

But when she was transferred to the All Creature Healthcare centre in Norwich, X-rays showed that she had been peppered by around 30 shotgun pellets.

They were mostly in the back of her body but four were lodged in her head.

The incredible X-ray that showed how cat named Hope survives being blasted by THIRTY airgun pellets  2
Miracle survivor: Hope the cat was shot with 20 metal pellets from an airgun but thankfully survived

Vets' staff managed to remove about 10 pellets but some were left in case worse damage was caused removing them.

Hope is also suffering from a fractured toe as a result of the shooting.

The five-year-old moggy is recovering from her ordeal and is being treated at the Paws Centre in Norwich, which is run by the RSPCA Norwich and Mid Norfolk branch.

Her owner could not afford the veterinary treatment and she has been signed over to the care of the RSPCA.

‘Modern air guns have immense power and the pellets are not being embedded on the surface of the cat, as I used to regularly deal with, but are now passing through the body and smashing bones to smithereens.'

source: dailymail

'Come with me, I've got more money': England star Jack Wilshere's nightclub boast 'sparked fight that led to girl's broken elbow'


England star Jack Wilshere's nightclub boast 'sparked fight that led to girl's broken elbow'  1

Jack Wilshere boasted of his wealth and then made a crude sexual insult, a jury heard

England star Jack Wilshere caused a nightclub fight in which a girl broke her arm by chatting her up with the line 'Come with us, we've got more money', a court heard.

The Arsenal midfielder boasted of his wealth in front of her boyfriend, and then made a crude sexual insult about her, a jury heard.

But after starting the trouble with his 'unimpressive behaviour', Wilshere then backed down as his friends and hers fought, the prosecution said.

England star Jack Wilshere's nightclub boast 'sparked fight that led to girl's broken elbow'  2

The men began fighting after Jack Wilshere apparently insulted a girl who had rejected his advances

She ended up falling to the ground and breaking her elbow.

Prosecutor Warwick Tatford said of Wilshere: 'One of the sad ironies is that although he starts it all off, he doesn't get involved in the violence itself.'

The Arsenal midfielder - who earns £50,000-a-week - allegedly made the comment to Kimberley Plested as she was out celebrating her 21st birthday at the trendy Kensington nightclub Amika in London in August last year.

Miss Plested turned him down as she was out with her boyfriend but things turned nasty as the two groups left the club when Wilshere, 19, made a crude sexual comment about 'sloppy seconds,' jurors heard.

England star Jack Wilshere's nightclub boast 'sparked fight that led to girl's broken elbow'  3

Prosecution said after starting the trouble with his 'unimpressive behaviour', Wilshere then backed down

Wilshere, who is expecting his first child with girlfriend Lauren Neal, 22, in August, is seen on CCTV grabbing one of Miss Plested's male friends by the lapels and shaking him, triggering a fight.

The footballer then distances himself from the violence while the rest of his friends get in a fist-fight with two of Miss Plested's male friends.

Miss Plested's boyfriend Dan Farnon, 22, ended up with a cut to his eye after being punched by one of Wilshere's friends, Isleworth Crown Court heard.

Miss Plested suffered a broken and dislocated elbow after falling over during the fracas outside in the early hours of August 29 last year, jurors were told.

Mr Tatford said: 'Mr Wilshere is the person who gets in first in this incident.
'He said 'why don't you come with us - we've got more money'.

England star Jack Wilshere's nightclub boast 'sparked fight that led to girl's broken elbow'  4

Even at the age of 19, Jack Wilshere is already regarded as a future star of international football

'Wilshere seems to be the one chatting up Kimberley Plested in the nightclub, then boasting about having more money.

'She fobbed him off and said she'd got a boyfriend, thank you very much.

The court heard Miss Plested's group later left the club and were outside waiting for their stretch Hummer limo, which she had hired to take her to the club from her home in Surrey, to pick them up.

But a fight broke out when they encountered Wilshere and his friends again.

Mr Tatford said: 'They came outside to wait for their stretch limo to take them home and encountered that group who had been trying to chat up Kim Plested and that's when it all started, with another unpleasant and rude remark.

source: dailymail

Sorry Madam, I didn't hear you ring the bell! Woman gets head stuck in bus doors


Ouch: The woman's head is trapped as the bus doors slam shut on her neck

This unlucky woman had a bus ride she'll never forget after getting her neck trapped in the closing doors.

The unfortunate passenger was taking a trip in the town of Maanshan, in China's Anhui Province, when the impatient driver closed the doors while her head was still poking out.

She was left wincing in pain while the driver, who was oblivious to the situation, set off for the next stop.

This still beats going on the Northern Line: Bemused passengers watch on as the woman winces in pain

Luckily her fellow passengers noticed her plight and shouted at the him to stop and open the doors, which he eventually did.

Once free the embarrassed woman climbed off the bus and quickly walked away, rubbing her neck, without making a complaint.

Freed: After the bus driver opened the doors she walked off rubbing her sore neck without making so much as a complaint

source: dailymail

A guy and his gorilla: Huge beast treated like one of the family by zoo owner

By Emily Allen

Big love: Pierre Thivillon, owner of the zoo of Saint-Martin-la-Plaine, gets a kiss from adopted gorilla Digit

To describe your child as a gorilla is a bit rude to say the least.

But for French zoologists Pierre and Elaine Thivillon, who own a zoo in Saint-Martin la-Plaine near Lyon, this is exactly what their 'little one' is.

They have fostered a gorilla called Digit who was rejected by her mother and they now treat her as their own.

Right at home: Pierre and Elaine Thivillon pose with Digit at their bedroom window

In these adorable pictures she is pictured spending time with her 'parents' and even giving her 'father' a loving peck on the lips.

She is clearly very comfortable in their company and despite her enormous size and strength, the couple obviously have not the slightest fear of her.

The unusual addition to their family was born at the zoo in 1998, but her mother did not know how to breastfeed her.

The couple stepped in to bottle feed her but her health took a turn for the worse and she underwent two life-saving operations.

Digit, who weighs 80 kilos, could live for up to 50 years.

Time for a chat: A male gorilla at the zoo called Euro looks longingly at Mr Thivillon

Chilling: Mr Thivillon and Digit appear to be deep in conversation. The Thivillons adopted the gorilla when her mother was unable to feed her


Prince Charles bucks recession by spending more on staff and travel than last year... as his income from taxpayer rises 18%

-Charles's tax bill soars by £900,000 to £4,398,000
-Spending on travel up 56% to £1,080,000
-Camilla and Charles travel 34,000 miles on official trips

By Rebecca English

His future subjects may be tightening their belts, but when it comes to austerity Prince Charles appears to be setting a less than perfect example.

The Prince of Wales’s income rose to £19.7million last year, an above-inflation increase of 4.9 per cent in a year when the salaries of his staff were frozen.

In addition, Charles was able to claim tax relief on more than half the total by designating it ‘official expenditure’.

According to his annual review, published yesterday, almost £18million of his income came from the Duchy of Cornwall estate and the rest from Government grants.

The prince’s personal spending shot up by 50 per cent to £2.5million and his travel bill topped £1million, equal to £31.50 for each of the 34,287 miles covered by him and Camilla.

He also took on ten extra members of staff, bringing the total he employs to 159.

The prince did, however, pay £4.4million in taxes and help to raise £123million for charity, as well as making personal charitable donations of more than £800,000.

In the past 12 months he and Camilla have visited India, Portugal, Spain and Morocco at the request of the Foreign Office, which explains why his travel bill – funded by a Government grant – rose by 56 per cent year on year.

Included in his tax-exempt official costs are £6.4million on staff, £323,000 on entertaining and receptions, a 28 per cent rise, and £207,000 on office equipment.
Costs also included £155,000 on the upkeep of his gardens which, he argued, were

used for official entertaining. That was a rise of £30,000, or 24 per cent.

Charles’s 159-strong household staff includes butlers, valets, dressers, gardeners and housekeepers.

Of these, 133 support the prince, his wife and Princes William and Harry and the rest work on his gardens, farm and estates.

Five new aides have been taken on – three to work for the newly created households of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, one to assist with the Charles’s website and one as an estate worker at Highgrove, his country residence.

The other positions were temporary staff employed to help with the royal wedding, or temporary jobs which have been made permanent.

He also personally funds 17 estate, farm, garden and stable staff.

Charles gives a speech before a state dinner at Belem Presidential Palace in Lisbon, Portugal in March. The average cost of his official travel soared from £16.13 per mile in 2009/10 to £31.50 per mile in 2010/11

The Prince's non-official expenditure rose £488,000 to £2,539,000, in small part to cover expenses related to the Royal wedding between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in April

On a thriftier note, Charles yesterday revealed his new official harpist, an unpaid position which will reward 24-year-old Hannah Stone with around £3,000 in expenses a year. The musician, from Swansea, is the fourth person to take on the historic role since it was reinstated 11 years ago.

Last night, the prince’s increased spending was defended by his private secretary, Sir Michael Peat, who insisted it was largely down to the ‘significant’ donations the prince makes to charities.

Sir Michael said the prince kept a firm reign on his finances, an assessment endorsed by Mike Warburton, senior tax partner at Grant Thornton. ‘I would say he keeps a fairly tight grip on his expenditure,’ he said.

‘Admittedly there are a few things that I would struggle to be able to write off for, say, the senior finance director of a large company. Clearly the taxman is slightly more lenient when it comes to the Prince of Wales.’

However anti-monarchist group Republic said: ‘Charles’s spending is spiralling out of control. Why are taxpayers funding his lavish lifestyle when public services are being cut?’

On the prince’s travel bill, Charles’s spokesman Paddy Harverson said: ‘This is not spending by the prince, it is spending at the request of the Government and the Foreign Office.’

The Duchy of Cornwall has paid almost £100,000 to Prince Charles’s sister-in-law to redecorate its holiday cottages. Its accounts reveal interior designer Annabel Elliot was paid £62,685 in fees and £35,920 for the purchase of furniture. Clarence House insisted she offered good value for money.

Charles and Camilla are welcomed by Morocan Prince Moulay Rachid (right) upon arrival at Rabat airport in Morocco earlier this year

Music to one's ears: A new official harpist to the Prince of Wales

A musician spoke of her delight after being chosen to be the official harpist to the Prince of Wales.

Hannah Stone, 24, becomes the fourth person to take on the prestigious role - which aims to foster musical talent in Wales as well as the raise the profile of the harp.

Miss Stone, originally from Mumbles, Swansea, was picked for the role after being nominated by her former university tutors and then going through an audition process.

She will make her debut performance tonight at a reception hosted by Charles to launch The Cambrian Mountains Ambassadors Scheme - before a string of performances during his and the Duchess of Cornwall's annual visit to Wales.

Hannah Stone, 24, becomes the fourth person to take on the prestigious role

The former Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr pupil has already performed on several occasions for members of the Royal Family.

Most recently, she played at the opening of the fourth Welsh Assembly for The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh and Charles and Camilla.

She has also played for The Queen on Her Majesty's Jubilee Tour of Wales in 2002.
She said: 'I am honoured to have been appointed Official Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales.

'I found out about the news a few weeks ago and it has been very difficult keeping it quiet.

'The auditions process was quite surreal, because I was performing to a small panel. In some ways, it was more nerve-racking than playing to a packed concert hall or auditorium.'

A keen performer from the age of eight, Miss Stone studied under the guidance of Meinir Heulyn, head of harp at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Dance, before moving to London.

During this time, she was a prize-winner at a number of national competitions - including the Urdd Eisteddfod and the International Eisteddfod.

In London, Hannah studied with Imogen Barford, head of harp at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama - where she completed her Bachelor of Music degree followed by her Master of Music degree.

Since then she has performed in venues around the world, including the Barbican Centre and the Museum of London as well as performing alongside opera legend Dame Kiri Te Kanawa during the Singapore Sun Festival in 2008.

The post of Official Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales was reinstated in 2000 to foster musical talent in Wales and to raise the profile of the harp as an instrument.

Miss Stone follows in the footsteps of the current postholder, Claire Jones, who was appointed in June 2007.

source: dailymail

Mirror image: Kingfisher barely causes a ripple as he dives into the water

By Daily Mail Reporter

Seeing double: The kingfisher produced a perfect mirror image when it dived headfirst into the River Alde in Suffolk

Diving effortlessly head first in to the water, this kingfisher appears to become two as its reflection is revealed in breathtaking detail.

Photogapher Paul Sawer spent five weeks watching a family of Britain's most fascinating birds at the River Alde in Rendham, Suffolk.

The 39-year-old captured this extraordinary sight after setting up a glass tank full of fish in the water to attract the birds, with their images reflected in the glass as they dived into the river.

His shot shows the kingfisher's reflection with such clarity that, at first glance, it appears as if the bird has collided with another in the water.

Mr Sawer, from Saxmundham, Suffolk, said, 'Reflections are a particular favourite of mine and I wanted to capture the dive in reflection.

'For this I submerged a glass tank in the river, popped in some fish, set up the flashes and focused the camera on the centre of the tank.

Feeding time: Photographer Paul Sawer set up a glass tank containing fish to attract the birds

Heading for the water: Photographer Sawer captured the kingfisher's every move as it prepared to plunge into the river

'I pressed the shutter just before the bird entered the water.

'There is a lot of luck involved as to the position of the bird and I had several near misses.

'But opportunities were frequent and it wasn't too long before I had secured the image I had hoped for.

On reflection: The kingfisher's image was mirrored in the glass of the fish tank Sawer had placed in the river

'I spent around 150 hours on the project during 5 weeks and didn't tire of the kingfishers once.

'Not only are they one of the UK's most colourful birds they are among the most fascinating to watch and I feel privileged to have observed this family at close quarters.

'I am thrilled to finally have the dive added to my portfolio.'

Time-consuming: Sawer spent over 150 hours capturing the perfect photos of the kingfishers

Stunning shots: The reflections of the birds are captured in breathtaking detail


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