Stereophonics’ Kelly Jones praises ‘courageous’ teenage son as he comes out as transgender

Stereophonics frontman Kelly Jones has heaped praise on his teenage son after revealing he has come out as transgender.

The 45-year-old Welsh singer, who is best-known for hits such as Dakota and Maybe Tomorrow, gave a very frank interview to Fearne Cotton for her Happy Place podcast.

Admitting it’s been a long process, Kelly admitted that his oldest child – born Lolita Bootsy – is now known as Colby and came out as gay at the age of 15.

“For me, I had no clue or understanding about any of that stuff, and as a family it’s been playing catch-up,” the musician told 38-year-old Fearne.

“For a while it was just becoming more intense and I remember getting upset one night, and I sounded like an animal, because I couldn’t work out what was going on. You actually go through a grieving process because you feel like you’ve lost a daughter and gained a son.”

Kelly continued: “Then you get responsible for the siblings, and how they’re going to deal with it, and the grandparents.

“The only thing you can really end up getting to is acceptance, really, and I’m at acceptance with it, and we’re all fully supportive. But it’s about resistance to your own prejudices, be it from films or the derogatory terms you heard as a kid… all that comes into your head the moment you hear the word ‘trans’ or ‘transgender’.”

Speaking about his son Colby embracing who he is, Kelly added: “To me, it was very courageous and very brave. My mother finds it hard to use the terminology and the pronouns, and the name, and I could see that Colby was getting upset. So I said to my mother, ‘you’re just going to have to make an effort’.

“Ultimately you have to bring it right back to the point of what you’re talking about really. It’s not about me, it’s not about my mother, her grandmother, it’s their life. It’s them that’s going through it, and you have to try and support that as much as you can,” Kelly added.

The rockstar also spoke about the Stereophonics track ‘Fly Like An Eagle’ and revealed the song’s accompanying music video was inspired by Colby coming out as gay.

Watch the video below, and listen to the full interview here.

Wake up and smell the roses: Man plants thousands of flowers for blind wife

A loving husband gifted his wife a sea of flowers after she lost her eyesight. 

In a desperate bid to help her out of depression, Mr Kuroki decided to invigorate her sense of smell. 

But rather than buy a dozen roses, the dairy farmer from Shintomi Town in Japan opted for the shibazakura – in their thousands. 

And so began a two-year mission in which he planted an ocean of pink flowers.

[Credit: Shintomi Machiyakuba]

Like a scene from The Wizard Of Oz, they soon sprouted across his farm to create a glorious landscape.

The flower, also known by its Latin name of phlox subulata or ‘creeping moss’, is reported to exude the smell of marijuana. 

Mrs Kuroki lost her eyesight aged 52, due to complications with diabetes, and had been struggling to come to terms with life ever since. 

Thanks to her husband of 30 years, the flowers began to entice her out of the house again to enjoy the garden and relish the senses she still had. 

[Credit: Shintomi Machiyakuba]

The plant is native to eastern and central United States and is celebrated for the splashes of colour it brings.

It is known to multiply in optimum growing conditions while thriving in the sun.  

The magical scenery at the Kuroki residence still attracts tourists ten years after its creation, with up to 7,000 people visiting annually.

Girl, 8, born with no legs takes gymnastics world by storm

Paige Calendine is living proof that anything is possible.

This little girl, just eight-years-old, was born with no legs.

Though despite what could be perceived as a disability by others, her parents introduced her to gymnastics at a young age so that she could fulfil her full potential.

Paige is now a force to be reckoned with, competing in gymnastics events across all apparatus – floor, beam, vault, and asymmetric bars.

The feisty athlete is gaining international recognition, with one of her beam routines accruing an impressive 71,000+ views on Instagram at the time of publication.

Speaking about his daughter, Paige’s proud father said: “The real world is not going to adapt to her, so we don’t change any more than we have to for her.”

He added: “I love that the hardest event for her [bars] is the one she loves the most.

“She’s a great inspiration for anybody who says, ‘I can’t do it’.”

Paige has an army of famous fans too, including Olympic gold medallist Shawn Johnson.

Paige Calendine captures the public’s heart on national TV in USA [Credit: TNT]

During a TV appearance, Paige was surprised with a secret video that Shawn had recorded in which Johnson, 28, said: “I am obsessed with you.

“I’ve been watching all your videos. You are a beast. I want to meet you. I want to say, keep at it… You’re awesome.”

Paige, who uses prosthetic legs while at school, is baffling judges across her native USA.

Chatting about her protégé, Paige’s coach Mallory Gardner explained these judges have never experienced a gymnast who has not been conventionally able-bodied before.

Paige’s father says she inspires those who think they ‘can’t do it’ [Credit: WSYX]

She said: “When she first came to Zanesville Gymnastics in Ohio, I couldn’t believe how strong she was and how fast she could get around.

“She truly is amazing, and she doesn’t let anything get in her way. We had to adjust the way we trained her because it was different than how we trained others, but she was able to help with that as she knew what she could do and how to do it.”

Mallory added: “The judges really don’t know [how to mark Paige] because it’s not something they have ever had to deal with before.”

Meanwhile, Paige said: “There are really good girls that I see at practice, I want to be better too.”

Paige on her favourite apparatus  – the asymmetric bars [Credit: WSYX]

First ever disabled dogs home to open and save thousands of lives

A woman is on a mission to save disabled dogs who are euthanised unnecessarily.

Victoria Bryceson is looking to build the UK’s first centre for disabled animals, where she will rehabilitate the most vulnerable before finding them their forever homes.

However, the founder of animal charity Miracle’s Mission needs help with the project and is looking to raise £20,000 via Crowdfunder to secure a deposit for a centre in Yorkshire.

Speaking to Uspire, Victoria said: “90% of disabled dogs that are seen by vets are euthanised unnecessarily so there must be literally thousands of dogs killed like this in the UK.

“Many people may not be aware that dogs who have wheels and prosthetics can live as good a life as a fully able-bodied dog and mistakenly think euthanasia is the only option.”

The new centre will provide dedicated care for the most vulnerable dogs and cats. Animals under its care will receive thorough veterinary assessments, MRIs, surgeries, the fitting of prosthetics, and doggy wheels. Their personalised rehabilitation plan will include physiotherapy and hydrotherapy as well as daily massage and TENS machine stimulation. 

The pampered pooches will also have access to a sensory garden and educational toys to provide adequate mental and physical stimulation from their specially trained carers.

The centre will begin treating dogs with disabilities, missing limbs and those who are paralysed. Many of them will need surgery to correct limbs and the aim with these dogs is that after surgery they will no longer be disabled. Even some of the paralysed dogs will leave no longer paralysed as if it is semi paralysis they can be helped to walk again. Where legs can’t be saved, prosthetics or wheels will be used to give the dogs a great quality of life.

Victoria said: “At the moment, amputation of one leg is common practice with UK vets, as dogs can live very well and still be very active with three legs, especially if it is a back leg, as most of the weight is on the front legs. 

“However, when it comes to double amputation leaving the dog with two legs, the vets that I have seen have said it’s not possible to do as dogs won’t have a good quality of life. 

“The specialist hospitals seem more open to it as they have more experience but even they have problems where most of their dogs in these conditions are euthanised, not because they need to be but because in their words it is the owners who can’t cope with the thought of a two-legged dog. There is a huge need for education amongst the public and vets.”

And Victoria is adamant that dogs using wheels and prosthetics can live a good life. 

She added: “The animals coming into our care will initially all be stray dogs with nowhere else to go and no one else to help them.

“They will either have been born with some sort of condition, such as a bent leg that they can’t walk on or they will have been in an accident – for example, hit by a car or they will have been abused.”

Once the furry residents have been emotionally and physically rehabilitated as much as possible, Miracle’s Mission will endeavour to find forever homes for each one of them. 

You can donate to Victoria’s appeal by clicking here. 

Captain Tom Moore receives 120k birthday cards – enough to fill entire school hall

It won’t be long before Captain Tom Moore receives his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The army veteran, 99, captured the public’s imagination when he began the challenge of 100 laps around his Bedfordshire garden to raise money for the NHS.

He originally hoped to raise a modest £1,000 in order to thank the medical professionals who cared for him during recent treatment for cancer and a broken hip.

However, with his story gaining momentum across the globe, Captain Moore is now closing in on a whopping £29million.

And by way of thanks, it seems his fans are paying their respects by sending birthday well wishes in their droves.

Captain Moore, who turns 100 on April 30, has been inundated with cards – a whole 120,000 to be precise.

The cards have been displayed in Bedford School’s hall, where the unlikely celeb’s grandson, 16, attends.

Tweeting about his new fanbase, Captain Moore – who served in India and Burma during World War II – said: “I continue to be offered lots of lovely items.

“I really do have everything I need but others are struggling due to Covid-19 so, rather than giving to me, please look to donate these generous offers to a local care home or someone in your community. Thank you.”

His daughter, Hannah, who sits alongside her father during his television appearances, revealed how flabbergasted she was when their fundraising began to snowball. 

She said: “We are completely floored by the amount of support flooding in. It’s just incredible and he is smashing his target.”

To donate to Captain Tom Moore, click here.

Biffy frontman Simon Neil fights homelessness with intimate live gig

While the COVID-19 crisis has shaken the globe, some unlikely heroes have emerged to raise money for those struggling. 

And Scottish legend Simon Neil has shared his talents with a charity to combat women’s homelessness in Los Angeles.

Teaming up with Billboard, the Biffy Clyro frontman performed an intimate live Facebook session in honour of the Downtown Women’s Center while encouraging people to donate.

Opening the performance with a touching rendition of new single Instant History, Simon went on to play Black Chandelier, Friends and Enemies, and Rearrange. 

Biffy Clyro's Simon Neil performing live

Fans went wild for the gig, with one gushing “Many of Horror always sends shivers down my spine. A beautiful song. Beautifully sung.”

And another wrote: “Thank you for saving my totally f**ked up Monday til now.”

Biffy have embraced life online during lockdown, with various other lives sessions and fellow members Ben Johnston and James Johnston taking part in an Instagram Q&A. 

The Q Award-winning trio are on the cusp of releasing their ninth album next month, A Celebration of Endings, set to be unleashed on the world in August.

Speaking to Kerrang! magazine, Simon revealed the record was somewhat cathartic. 

He said: “There were a couple of really long-term professional relationships we had that came to a really horrible end. A Celebration of Endings in that regard applies to trying to make the most out of a bad situation, and really just going, ‘F**k it, these relationships have come to an end, but onwards and upwards’. 

“The same thing applies to society. I feel like with Brexit and everything – and don’t get me wrong, the album isn’t about Brexit – there has been a lot of things that have really been deteriorating in our society: empathy, community, and not living a life that’s purely for the individual. I feel like everything is going the way of, ‘F**k you, you’re not important and I am’. I want to feel like we’ve hit the lowest point of our consciousness as human beings.”

Simon added: “I truly believe the Mayans [ancient civilisation] were right about 2012 when they said the world was going to end. I don’t think the world ended in the way they were anticipating, but I think there was an end of some level of consciousness and we entered this dark period of really just caring about the individual. And I find that really troubling. 

“So, for me the album was also about reaching a point as a grown man and saying, ‘F**k this, I don’t want this to be my reality, for me, my family, so I’m going to put an end to these things in my life and do everything I can to fight against that’.”

Prince Harry unveils ‘mind and body as one’ mental health platform

Harry, formerly known as Prince, has launched a new mental health platform to help members of the military with their wellbeing.

The Duke of Sussex has had somewhat of a turbulent year so far, having left his Senior Royal role and moved to Los Angeles with wife Meghan Markle and son Archie.

Now, Harry is back in the spotlight, galvanising people to look after their wellbeing.

Joining forces with HeadFIT – an online tool to help defence personnel take a more proactive approach to mental health – the former soldier is urging armed forces to nurture the link between both physical and mental fitness. 

Speaking in the promotional video, Harry explains: “Today, when we talk about fitness, we don’t just mean how fast you can run or how much weight you can carry.

“This is about mental fitness, strength, and resilience. Not just while wearing a uniform, but for the rest of your life.

“If you want to be truly fit, strong, and healthy, you need to train your mind and body as one. Some people run, others swim, cycle or lift weights in order to be physically fit.

“But what do you do to stay mentally fit? Think about what you can do to unlock your potential, and to perform at the highest level.”

The project – developed by The Royal Foundation’s Heads Together campaign, Ministry of Defence and King’s College London – has been three years in the making. 

It offers a variety of resources from breathing exercises to relaxation techniques. While participants can focus on a goal of their choice; de-stressing, confidence, mood, or drive. 

Harry, who ranked as Captain General of the Royal Marines, added that he believes the military community should “lead the way for the rest of society”.

He said: “For too long, we have been waiting for problems to arise and then react to them.

“HeadFIT is a proactive approach to mental fitness, focusing on our own potential to increase our performance, using proven methods in sport science.

“This is about optimisation of self. This is about being the best you can be.”

PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] and high suicide rates are of significant concern for military members, with mental health care for veterans often overlooked. 

This platform is said to be aimed at all defence personnel – from new recruits to long-serving members, veterans to civilian staff, and all those in uniform.

Dance like a Strictly pro! Oti Mabuse to teach kids in bbc show

We may all be locked inside during the Coronavirus pandemic, though that doesn’t mean we can’t throw some shapes in our living rooms. 

And Oti Mabuse has come to the rescue to keep us fit, with plenty of fun in equal measure.

The Strictly Come Dancing professional is joining forces with the BBC for a TV lockdown special to encourage kids to dance. 

Oti’s star power has gone from strength-to-strength, becoming a household name after taking home the 2019 glitterball trophy with Kelvin Fletcher, as well as showcasing her mentoring skills as a judge on The Greatest Dancer alongside Cheryl Tweedy. 

Now, the twinkle-toed performer will front new CBeebies show, Boogie Beebies.

It is unclear whether the show will follow the same format as the first two series, which date back to 2004 and 2006, whereby kids would be taught a new dance in each 15-minute show.

Cheryl Taylor, head of content for BBC Children’s, said: “The BBC’s mission to inform, educate and entertain has never been more relevant than it is now.

“BBC Children’s is here to support parents and reflect the lives of children all around the country in these difficult times.

“We will ensure that despite the huge changes to their lives, we are always here to give them a voice.”

Prior to landing her new show, ballroom champ Oti, 29, has been teaching free dance lessons online with husband Marius Lepure – including a rendition of Cher’s Do You Believe.

Boy, 8, turns lockdown hero with live-streams alongside DJ dad

The UK has been on official lockdown for over five weeks now due to the global coronavirus pandemic, and it feels as if life has completely changed.

Many of us are missing trips to the pub, Saturday nights dancing our socks off, or simply just socialising with friends and family – but some people are keeping the good times going, and one of those people is Max Jones.

Max, who lives in High Wycombe, first started the aptly-named ‘Clubboard Sessions’ back in March with the help of his DJ dad John, and it’s certainly been a success.

Like his dad, Max is a big music fan, and together they decided that every Friday they would spread the joy – and some great tunes – to lift people’s spirits as they prepare for another weekend at home. 

When asked how he and Max came up with the idea for Clubboard Sessions, John, 42, told Uspire: “We were actually listening to a live-stream which House DJ’s Erick Morillo and Jamie Jones were broadcasting. Max said to me he didn’t realise that you could DJ via a live-stream and that it was a really cool idea.

“In the last year, he has made a couple of his own mix CDs for friends and family, so we thought it would be a nice thing for us to connect with everybody that we are missing. It’s also a really cool way for us both to connect together through our mutual love of music.”

John began his career as a professional DJ for Hedkandi and Ministry of Sound almost 20 years ago, but he started buying records when he was Max’s age.

Speaking about his son’s love for music, John said: “It’s amazing that he’s just had a natural affinity to do the same and shares the same passion as me for so many genres of music which is quite uncommon I think aged eight.

“He really does have an impressive range of music that he loves reaching, from Pink Floyd through to Oasis, David Bowie, and more recently Ed Sheeran and Imagine Dragons.”

With their knowledge and love of music so broad, John admitted there’s quite a bit of preparation that goes into planning their Friday sessions.

“We do lots of prep in the week leading towards the show. I had no previous experience of live-streaming via social networks, so each week I have been learning and trying to add to the quality of our broadcast,” John explained.

“YouTube has been an essential resource through tutorials in allowing me to produce a show that not only sounds great through quality of the audio, but also looks professional for viewing. Each week we are adding a little more in terms of what people who are tuning in are viewing.”

The father-son duo have a dedicated folder on Spotify and like to drop tracks in there throughout the week, so that come Friday they are fully prepared.

And it seems all of that hard work and dedication has paid off, as people are loving the sessions. “The response has been great. We’ve had nothing but positivity from everyone tuning in and if we can put a smile on people’s faces then that’s the reward on its own,” John said. “Each week, the number of people tuning in seems to be growing, so it’s nice that it’s being recognised as an event in the week that people are looking forward to.

“We love the fact that everyone’s interacting through the chat function during the show and developing a sense of community even though we are being advised to not leave the house. It’s also pretty cool that those who have never had a chance to see what I do in a club can tune in and experience what all the fuss is about!”

John and Max decided to do their set on Fridays at 4-6pm so it would be nice for people to tune in to as they were finishing work, with Max affectionately dubbing it “a weekend starter”.

“After all the stress being put on everyone due to the current circumstances with most having to work from home, and usually with children to look after too, we thought it was an uplifting way to project our passion onto people’s screens and give them a lift,” John added.

But when lockdown is over and life goes back to some sort of normality, will Clubboard Sessions still continue? “I think the world will have changed in many ways after we come out of isolation and the way that people communicate and make use of social network platforms to showcase their talents will be an even bigger big factor,” John replied.

“We have both enjoyed doing this so much that there’s no reason why we shouldn’t carry on, as long as people want to keep on tuning in. Obviously work and touring commitments may not make this viable on a weekly basis, but it’s definitely something we can look at doing possibly bi-weekly or monthly. I can see live-streaming only becoming more relevant as an entertainment source which can only be a positive thing. 

“We are having a great time and hope that it can be infectious to everyone tuning in too!”

Tune in to Clubboard Sessions with John and Max Jones every Friday at 4pm on Facebook and Instagram, plus you can listen to the podcast here.

Joe Wicks helps suicidal mum with ‘exercise is anti-depressant’ remedy

Joe Wicks for Prime Minister, anyone? 

The unlikely hero to have emerged during the Coronavirus outbreak is now within touching distance of raising a whopping £100,000 with his daily workouts.

He has also, unknowingly, been helping people come to terms with their mental health.

A single mother, whose husband recently walked out on her, reached out to Joe to reveal his PE lessons had been the very thing to give her reason to live again after she found herself in a depressive slump struggling with suicidal thoughts. 

Joe, 33, shared the heart-warming fan mail with his 3.6million Instagram followers.

Alongside her note, the entrepreneur added: “I’ve never had a message like this before so was really emotional reading it. I went from feeling sad and upset to having the biggest smile on my face and a warm, positive, happy and optimistic feeling in my heart. 

“I asked for her permission to share it as I really think it’s a super powerful and inspiring example of how daily exercise can transform your mindset and mental health. 

“Exercise is an anti-depressant. Exercise changes the way you feel even if only for a while. 

[Credit: Instagram/thebodycoach]

“If you are suffering from depression know you are not alone. There are people all around the world struggling right now. You can and will get through this. You will see a brighter day every day you exercise. Let today be a brighter day. Give yourself a chance to feel some energy and happiness. It’s waiting for you at the end of a workout. Good luck.” 

Joe, otherwise known as The Body Coach, is donating every single penny of the £100k advertising revenue raised via his YouTube channel to the NHS.

Beaming in a selfie, holding a homemade sign with the amount of donations flooding in, Joe posted: “I’m super happy to announce that as a global community training together with #pewithjoe we have raised an incredible £91,256.38 for the @nhscharitiestogether fund.

[Credit: Instagram/thebodycoach]

“This is every penny so far raised from the 20 workouts we have done together. 

“Thank you so much for taking part and helping raise all this money for a cause which I feel we can all be proud of. The great news is we can grow this number even bigger each week by coming back and tuning in again. To all the NHS staff we LOVE and appreciate you.” 

Joe’s popularity has gone from strength to strength during the crisis, especially after he rejected a BBC offer to deliver classes on TV so he could connect with people online instead.