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Young thugs treated to trips and cash by social workers are now middle-aged career criminals

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young thugs treated to trips and cash by social workers are now middle aged career criminals

A man who was on Wednesday jailed for stealing jewellery worth £127,000 from a 15th-Century Cotswolds castle was one of at least four boys who were treated to trips and cash by social workers before going on to become career criminals.

Clinton Bowen, 39, last year raided 15th century Sudeley Castle, where Henry VIII’s sixth wife Catherine Parr is buried – but he was the only one to be caught. 

Bowen was jailed for four years at Gloucester Crown Court in what was the latest offence in his long record dating back to his early teens.

He was dubbed ‘Canal Boy’ in the late 1990s after being sent by Gloucester social services on a controversial three-month canal boat trip in the North of England – at a cost of £12,000 – in a failed bid to steer him away from crime.

The benevolent treatment was also handed out to at least two other boys – including his brother Casey – while a fourth hit the headlines after appearing in court in his pyjamas, earning him the nickname ‘pyjama boy’.

Below, MailOnline retells their stories and sheds light on the crimes they have gone on to commit. 

‘Canal Boy’

How he got his nickname

In 1997, Clinton Bowen, then aged 15, was sent on a three-month canal boat trip in the North of England in a failed bid to stop his offending in the Cheltenham area.

Two years previously, his mother had described him as ‘an absolute horror, destructive and violent and with no respect for anyone or anything.’

Clinton Bowen was sent on a three-month canal boat trip in 1997

Clinton Bowen, 39, last year raided 15th century Sudeley Castle

Clinton Bowen was dubbed ‘canal boy’ after being sent on a three-month canal boat trip in 1997 in the hope it would cure his offending. He has since gone on to commit dozens of other offences. On Wednesday, he was jailed for four years for stealing jewells from 15th century Sudeley Castle (pictured left in an older photo and right in 2020)

His canal trip ‘punishment’ was imposed for the latest in a string of burglaries.

Bowen’s boat cruise trip, which earned him his nickname, was on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal with an organisation called Care Afloat. It cost £1,100 a week, £12,000 in total.

What happened next?

Although social workers had set up private tuition and an activity programme to stop him getting bored, Bowen was back before Gloucester Crown Court even before his trip was due to end.

The offence was a £600 house burglary committed the previous year.

Then, in March 1998 he was sentenced to 12 months detention for breaking into an elderly couple’s home in Cheltenham and stealing their antiques.

In November 2001 he was jailed for three years for the burglary of a 91-year-old great-grandmother’s home.

Four years later he was jailed again for burglary, this time for four years.

In 2009, he was jailed for five years after again targeting the homes of the elderly in a series of burglaries which funded his drug addiction.

Before he was jailed, he had carried out 22 raids while on parole from his 2005 sentence.

In 2015 he was sent to prison for 56 months for being part of a gang of robbers who stole £50,000 in a ram-raid at the British headquarters of car maker Mercedes in Weybridge, Surrey in December 2014.

What’s the latest?  

Bowen was on Thursday jailed for four years for stealing jewellery worth £127,000 from Sudeley Castle.

‘Pocket Money Boy’

How he got his nickname

Bowen’s older brother Casey, now 40, was dubbed ‘pocket money boy’ after he was given £60 a week pocket money, again by Gloucester social services, so he could buy things instead of stealing them.

He had been arrested 37 times between 1992 and 1994 and also absconded from children’s homes all over the country, including the top-security Aycliffe home in County Durham.

Bowen's older brother Casey, now 40, was dubbed 'pocket money boy' in 1999 (pictured) after he was given £60 a week pocket money, again by Gloucester social services, so he could buy things instead of stealing them

Bowen after a recent offence

Bowen’s older brother Casey, now 40, was dubbed ‘pocket money boy’ in 1999 (pictured left) after he was given £60 a week pocket money, again by Gloucester social services, so he could buy things instead of stealing them. Pictured right: After a recent offence

What happened next?

After paying him more than £1,500, social services stopped the flow of money when his offending increased.

His crimes since then include calling a magistrate a ‘four-eyed old git’ in 1999.

And in 2008 he was jailed for a week for threatening to kill a policeman.

Then, in 2009, he admitted to threatening to kill police officers and their children after he stole alcohol.

In September of that year he was jailed for five years at Gloucester Crown Court for stealing £870 at knife point.

In 2013, he pleaded guilty to distraction burglary at an 81-year-old man’s house.

What’s the latest?

In 2019, he admitted carrying out his 102nd offence, again it was burglary. This time he raided a home and made off with thousands of pounds of jewellery.

The same year, he was jailed for four and a half years for a burglary carried out in Swindon.

He also admitted a charge of hiding a mobile phone up his backside.

‘Safari Boy’

How he got his nickname

Mark Hook, now 42, from Gloucester, received his nickname after being sent by Gloucester social services on an 88-day tour of Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe in 1993 at a cost of £7,000.

Descended from Alfred Hook, who won the Victoria Cross fighting Zulus in 1879, Hook was expelled from school at the age of 14 before being taken into care by Gloucester social services.

He was sent on his holiday at the age of 15 in the hope that the trip would reform him.

Mark Hook (pictured as a small boy), now 42, from Gloucester, received his nickname after being sent by Gloucester social services on an 88-day tour of Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe in 1993 at a cost of £7,000

Within weeks of his return he was arrested for drink-driving and carrying a knife. Pictured in 1993

Mark Hook (pictured left as a small boy and right in 1993), now 42, from Gloucester, received his nickname after being sent by Gloucester social services on an 88-day tour of Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe in 1993 at a cost of £7,000

What happened next?

Within weeks of his return he was arrested for drink-driving and carrying a knife.

He later became a heroin addict and has been jailed for crimes including using a hunting knife to rob a teenager.

In 1999 he was jailed for two years for handling stolen jewellery and antiques which were found in the boot of his car.

He previously served sentences for aggravated burglary and wounding.

His mother, Rita Dolan said in 1999 that social services ‘spoilt him rotten and did not prepare him for real life’.

Where he is now

Hook has gone on to commit more than 120 offences in the nearly thirty years since he was sent on his holiday.

In July last year, he avoided bail for his latest offence. He pleaded guilty to assault and criminal damage and admitted committing them in breach of a suspended sentence.

But instead of being sent to prison, he was sentenced to an 18-month community order with a 12-week home curfew. 

‘Pyjama Boy’

How he got his nickname

Vincent Smith got his nickname in the early 1990s when he appeared in court in his pyjamas after fleeing a care home.

What happened next 

But a year later, he admitted the attempted theft of a safe and burglary at a nursery.

At the time, he was already serving a four-and-a-half year sentence for other offences.

And in 2017, when he tried to steal a safe from a greenhouse, he was in the company of ‘Pocket Money Boy’ Casey Bowen.

Vincent Smith appeared in court in his pyjamas after fleeing a care home

Smith pictured in 2017

Vincent Smith (pictured left in 1999 and right in 2017) got his nickname in the early 1990s when he appeared in court in his pyjamas after fleeing a care home

That same year, Smith had insisted he was back on the straight and narrow.

But at the time of his 2018 court appearance, he had a record of 32 previous convictions for 183 offences.    

What’s the latest?

In 2018, Smith was jailed for four-and-a-half years for burgling a 73-year-old woman’s farmhouse as she slept.

As he was being sentences at Gloucester Crown Court, Gloucestershire Live reported how he stood up and shouted, ‘I don’t give a f*** about your court and I don’t give a f*** about you. F*** the f****** public and f*** you all.’ 

What did Gloucester social services say? 

In 1999, Gloucestershire social services acknowledged that their policy of treating young offenders to exotic foreign trips or monthly allowances was a failure.

In a joint statement with the probation service, they said: ‘It is unfortunate that we have to acknowledge that some young offenders are unable or unwilling to change. 

‘This is, however, against a background where the majority of young offenders, both nationally and in Gloucestershire, do grow out of crime.’  

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Minister claims holiday activities ‘more important’ than free school meals

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minister claims holiday activities more important than free school meals

A millionaire minister today claimed holiday activities are ‘more important’ to disadvantaged children than free meals as council leaders accused the Government of short changing them on funding to tackle child poverty. 

Nadhim Zahawi, the business minister, said this morning that the ‘best way’ to deal with poverty was through local government programmes and through the welfare system. 

He pointed to a pilot programme which provided food and activities to poor children during the summer holidays. 

But he risked outcry as he claimed parents ‘appreciate the food but more important than the food to them was the activities’. 

Meanwhile, Councillor David Mellen, the leader of Nottingham City Council, claimed the Government was guilty of ‘double-counting’ funding provided to local authorities to tackle child poverty. 

Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi today claimed holiday activities for poor children were 'more important' than free meals

Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi today claimed holiday activities for poor children were ‘more important’ than free meals 

Councillor David Mellen, the leader of Nottingham City Council, claimed the Government was guilty of 'double-counting' funding provided to local authorities to tackle child poverty

Councillor David Mellen, the leader of Nottingham City Council, claimed the Government was guilty of ‘double-counting’ funding provided to local authorities to tackle child poverty

The Government remains under intense pressure to perform a U-turn on its refusal to extend the free school meals programme to future holidays.

Campaigners, led by Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford, argue the extension is needed because many families have been left struggling financially because of the coronavirus crisis. 

But the Government is so far refusing to budge and has instead opted to point to help and funding that is already in place. 

Mr Zahawi risked a backlash this morning as he told Sky News: ‘The best way to deal with this is through both local government and through the welfare system and that is the right thing to do.

‘We have run a pilot costing £9million this summer, feeding 50,000 children, we will take the learning from that.

‘It is not just about the food. As I said, I spoke to Carol Shanahan in Stoke on Trent [the chairman of Port Vale Football Club], she tells me that in wards where families want to keep their children safe during those activities they also appreciate the food but more important than the food to them was the activities for their children.’

Mr Zahawi’s comments come after he last week insisted struggling parents would rather pay for meals for their children than accept the ‘label’ attached to handouts. 

The minister, who co-founded the YouGov polling firm, said Universal Credit benefits were available to support hard-pressed families and suggested research from holiday clubs showed parents prefer to pay a small sum for food. 

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘The research when we did the pilot demonstrates that families didn’t just want the meals.

‘Although they valued the meals, they didn’t like the labelling of them being free. They actually prefer to pay a modest amount, £1 or £2.’ 

It came as Mr Mellen accused the Government of failing to live up to its promises on funding to tackle child poverty. 

He told Sky News: ‘The Government has given a shortfall in council funding over many years, 10 years of reductions.

‘They promised at the beginning of this year that they would stand shoulder to shoulder with us and meet the needs of our Covid costs and our lost income.

‘We are still several tens of millions short on that promise.

‘I am not convinced that the Government are not double-counting here on the money that they are saying that we already have to meet this need.’

He added: ‘They do that quite often.’

Boris Johnson insisted yesterday the Government would not allow children to go hungry but he refused to bow to demands to extend free school meals. 

Mr Johnson highlighted the money already given to councils and said Universal Credit was ‘one of the best ways you can help families in this tough time’.

Universal Credit had been increased by £20 a week while £63 million was announced in June by ministers to help local authorities feed vulnerable families – although officials expect that money to have largely been spent already.

Mr Johnson said: ‘I totally understand the issue of holiday hunger, it is there, we have to deal with it. The debate is how do you deal with it.’      

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Autonomous pothole-repairing robots will hit Britain’s streets by 2021 

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autonomous pothole repairing robots will hit britains streets by 2021

Scientists are building autonomous repair robots that will use AI to identify and fix potholes in UK roads. 

The electric, self-driving bots – which are being built by a spin-out company from the University of Liverpool called Robotiz3d – can find small cracks in the road and cover them with asphalt. 

Researchers say the machines, which look like a cross between a tank and a road roller, will transform road maintenance when they hit the roads in 2021, and finally offer a cost effective fix for the UK’s pothole problem.  

Currently, no autonomous technology solutions exist to tackle potholes, which are estimated to have cost UK taxpayers more than £1 billion to fix over the last decade. 

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Artist's impression of the autonomous road repair system, which looks part-tank, part road roller. The Robotiz3d vehicle should be seen on UK roads next year

Artist’s impression of the autonomous road repair system, which looks part-tank, part road roller. The Robotiz3d vehicle should be seen on UK roads next year

The cost of repairing all of the UK’s roads that are currently damaged, meanwhile, is estimated to exceed £10 billion. 

HOW DO POTHOLES FORM? 

Road surfaces will deteriorate because of two main factors – traffic and weather. 

The greater number (and weight) of vehicles using a road, the faster the road surface wears out.

Over time, this flexibility diminishes and the surface essentially snaps – by cracking and crazing. 

This deterioration is exacerbated by both hot and cold weather extremes.  

The most damaging impact comes from sub-zero temperatures.

If water can penetrate even the smallest of cracks in a road surface, a pothole will appear as it turns to ice and expands.

Source: Department for Transport 

 

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While potholes can be a very costly inconvenience for drivers, they can be fatal for cyclists and motorcyclists.

Poor road surfaces contributed to 517 accidents in 2018 – including eight fatalities and 348 serious injuries – the Department of Transport reported last year.  

‘Current methods to detect and repair potholes are labour intensive and as such are slow, unsafe, and costly to the economy and environment,’ said Dr Sebastiano Fichera, technical director of Robotiz3d. 

‘The new technology we are developing will make road maintenance tasks faster, cheaper, and cleaner and ultimately make roads safer and more accessible.’ 

The robot will be built with a continuous track – a system of wheels within with a circle of heavy duty rubber, much like a tank. 

It will autonomously patrol UK roads without the need for road closures and will be able to detect defects such as cracks and potholes, characterise their geometry, collect measurements and capture images.

All this data, along with the hole’s location, will then be sent it to local authorities, who can decide whether to send a team of repair personnel, depending on its size and severity. 

For smaller cracks, the vehicle will be able to emit quick drying asphalt as a quick fix before they get bigger and become fully-fledged potholes. 

A mini road roller at the back of the robot flattens the sealing material as the robot drives over the site of the defect. 

Artist's impression of the vehicle. Current methods to detect and repair of potholes are labour intensive and as such are slow, unsafe, and costly to the economy and environment

Artist’s impression of the vehicle. Current methods to detect and repair of potholes are labour intensive and as such are slow, unsafe, and costly to the economy and environment

The system’s AI capabilities can also predict road conditions, facilitating the advancement ‘from reactive to preventative road maintenance’. 

‘If a pothole is detected, our vehicle will stop, flag its presence, and complete the repair within a few minutes,’ Fichera told Digital Trends

The electric vehicles will be able to operate continuously for several hours on a single charge, he added.

MailOnline has contacted Robotiz3d over how fast the robot would be travelling and whether it would hold up traffic or potentially congest roads.  

The company aims to have its road damage detection unit on the market in six months, although the crack-filling asphalt emission functionality will take a bit longer and should be up and running by the end of 2021.      

While potholes can be a very costly inconvenience for drivers, they can be tragically fatal for cyclists and motorcyclists

While potholes can be a very costly inconvenience for drivers, they can be tragically fatal for cyclists and motorcyclists

The machines are anticipated to improve the safety and lifespan of road networks and make more maintenance tasks ‘Covid-resilient’ – by avoiding sending out human workers during social distancing. 

Once in operation, an entire fleet around the country will also contribute to the reduction in costs, fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions that come from regular pothole-filling, fuel-burning vehicles. 

‘This is an exciting new spin out to take forward,’ said Lisa Layzell, co-founder and CEO of Robotiz3d Ltd. 

‘The team at Robotiz3d has the expertise and experience in robotics and AI to deliver the project and introduce world-leading innovation to the management of roads and highways. 

‘We have developed a robust business plan to take forward the portfolio of Robotiz3d envisaged products.’

The robots may not provide a long-term fix for potholes, however, which are exacerbated by freezing weather due to expanding ice.

Rather than resurfacing stretches of crumbling tarmac at greater expense, potholes that are filled in as they appear on the cheap can quickly open up again. 

THE UK’S POTHOLE CRISIS 

Pothole numbers and severity are at crisis levels in the UK. 

Over the last decade, 18 million potholes have been filled, at a cost exceeding £1 billion. 

The cost of repairing all of the UK damaged roads is even more staggering, estimated to exceed £10 billion and may take many decades to complete at the current rate. 

The situation is expected to worsen with the rates of pothole occurrence increasing across the UK due to ageing roads, the increasing number of road users, and enhanced vulnerability under new extreme climate scenarios.  

Conventional remediation methods are time-consuming, labour intensive and costly. 

This is in part due to the outdated and localised repair methods, and poor on-site quality testing means that future repair of the same site is often required. 

Robotiz3d says: ‘The posed solution to continually pump money into an increasingly out of control problem is unsustainable.’

In 2018, the number of potholes reported in Scotland was 16,645, in England 15,542 and Wales 3,729.   

Source: Robotiz3d

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This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Kate Middleton shares touching photos of contributors to her lockdown photography project

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kate middleton shares touching photos of contributors to her lockdown photography project

Kate Middleton has shared a series of touching photos of contributors to her lockdown photography project Hold Still posing beside their portraits.

The Duchess of Cambridge, 39, launched the community project in May and invited people of all ages from across the UK to submit a photographic portrait which they had taken during lockdown.

Last week the top 100 images went on show in 80 towns, cities and areas across the country.

Posting on the Kensington Royal Instagram this morning, Kate shared six snaps taken by contributors and enthusiastic members of the public posing beside portraits from the exhibition.

Kate Middleton (pictured last week) has shared a series of touching photos of members of the public posing beside portraits from her Hold Still exhibition

Kate Middleton (pictured last week) has shared a series of touching photos of members of the public posing beside portraits from her Hold Still exhibition

Posting on the Kensington Royal Instagram this morning, Kate shared six snaps taken by members of the public posing beside portraits from the exhibition. They included this shot of a grinning little girl called Amelia May, posing beside her own image, in which she's dressed in a nurse's uniform, entitled 'Thank You', in Merseyside

Posting on the Kensington Royal Instagram this morning, Kate shared six snaps taken by members of the public posing beside portraits from the exhibition. They included this shot of a grinning little girl called Amelia May, posing beside her own image, in which she’s dressed in a nurse’s uniform, entitled ‘Thank You’, in Merseyside

The Duchess encouraged people to submit more photos of themselves by Hold Still billboards, posters or digital screens and tag them with the hashtag #HoldStill2020 - and the Cambridges will feature a selection of their favourites at the end of the week

The Duchess encouraged people to submit more photos of themselves by Hold Still billboards, posters or digital screens and tag them with the hashtag #HoldStill2020 – and the Cambridges will feature a selection of their favourites at the end of the week

One featured a grinning little girl called Amelia May, posing beside her own image in which she’s dressed in a nurse’s uniform, entitled ‘Thank You’, in Merseyside.

Another showed a mother called Steph and her young son Jaxon posing beside their image, entitled ‘Glass Kisses’, which sees the little boy press his hand against a window while his grandmother kisses it from behind the pane.

On sharing the snap, taken in Worlds End and displayed at a bus stop, Steph said Jaxon is ‘starting to recognise himself’. 

In one image, the subject of Nina Robinson’s shot – her grandfather wearing a face mask – entitled In Family We Trust, stands beside his portrait in Stoke. 

Another sees dementia patient carer Fabiana Connors, who is the star of Care Worker, looking thrilled as she poses by her image in Borehamwood.

And one sees a woman observe a large billboard version of The Look of Lockdown, displayed at London Waterloo, visited by Kate and Prince William last week. 

Another showed a mother called Steph and her young son Jaxon posing beside their image, entitled 'Glass Kisses', which sees the little boy press his hand against a window while his grandmother kisses it from behind the pane

Another showed a mother called Steph and her young son Jaxon posing beside their image, entitled ‘Glass Kisses’, which sees the little boy press his hand against a window while his grandmother kisses it from behind the pane 

A man posing beside an image entitled Care Worker

In one image, the subject of Nina Robinson's shot - her grandfather wearing a face mask - entitled In Family We Trust, stands beside his portrait in Stoke

In one image, the subject of Nina Robinson’s shot – her grandfather wearing a face mask – entitled In Family We Trust, stands beside his portrait in Stoke (right). Also pictured: a man posing beside an image entitled Care Worker (left)

One snap sees a woman observe a large billboard version of The Look of Lockdown, displayed at London Waterloo, visited by Kate and Prince William last week

One snap sees a woman observe a large billboard version of The Look of Lockdown, displayed at London Waterloo, visited by Kate and Prince William last week

The post featured the caption: ‘Last week the Hold Still community exhibition arrived in towns and cities across the UK. 

‘Since then, we have seen so many photos of the portraits across the country, and wanted to share some of those touching images.

‘With your help, we are going to continue to highlight people’s experience of life during lockdown.’

The Duchess encouraged people to submit more photos of themselves by Hold Still billboards, posters or digital screens and tag them with the hashtag #HoldStill2020 – and the Cambridges will feature a selection of their favourites at the end of the week.

The Cambridges' post racked up more than 52,500 within 40 minutes, with dozens of their 12 million followers praising the images. Pictured: dementia patient carer Fabiana Connors, who is the star of Care Worker, looking thrilled as she poses by her image in Borehamwood

The Cambridges’ post racked up more than 52,500 within 40 minutes, with dozens of their 12 million followers praising the images. Pictured: dementia patient carer Fabiana Connors, who is the star of Care Worker, looking thrilled as she poses by her image in Borehamwood

Kate Middleton, 38, appeared effortlessly elegant last week as she was joined by Prince William, 38, to launch her lockdown photography exhibition

Kate Middleton, 38, appeared effortlessly elegant last week as she was joined by Prince William, 38, to launch her lockdown photography exhibition

34612274 8883685 Kate Middleton 38 appeared effortlessly elegant today as she was a 28 1603794119406

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Keep the cold at bay like Kate in an Alexander McQueen coat

The Duchess of Cambridge showcased her elegant signature style as she stepped out in London.

Donning a full length crimson coat, accessorised with suede heels and a bag by Grace Han, Kate successfully kept the autumn chill at bay.

Naturally, we can’t keep our eyes off her coat. Designed by her go-to label, Alexander McQueen, it is crafted from wool with a double breasted front, classic peak lapels and tailored silhouette.

This smart aesthetic and pop of colour have inspired us to recreate the look pronto. So, we have scoured the web for the best variations and listed our favourite finds in the carousel below.

It’s safe to say all of these options will work with countless outfits, from jeans to a little black dress. Be sure to complete your look with Kate’s gorgeous bag!

* PRICES MAY NOT BE AS ADVERTISED

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Their post racked up more than 52,500 within 40 minutes, with dozens of their 12 million followers praising the images.

‘This is so lovely,’ commented one, while another gushed: ‘Love this project!!’

‘Oh my goodness … that little girl in picture #1 is too cute for words! Lovely, inspirational photos,’ wrote another.

The Hold Still initiative aimed to capture and document ‘the spirit, the mood, the hopes, the fears and the feelings of the nation’ as the UK dealt with the coronavirus outbreak.

Kate previously said she had been ‘so overwhelmed by the public’s response to Hold Still, the quality of the images has been extraordinary, and the poignancy and the stories behind the images have been equally as moving as well’.

The panel assessed the images on the emotions and experiences they convey, rather than on their photographic quality or technical expertise.

Kate previously said she had been 'so overwhelmed by the public's response to Hold Still, the quality of the images has been extraordinary, and the poignancy and the stories behind the images have been equally as moving as well'

Kate previously said she had been ‘so overwhelmed by the public’s response to Hold Still, the quality of the images has been extraordinary, and the poignancy and the stories behind the images have been equally as moving as well’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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