Baby Blake Darragh diagnosed with rare cancer of the muscle

Amanda Darragh with her son Blake, aged 21 months. Photo: Kate GeraghtyBlake Darragh was eight weeks old when he developed nappy rash “almost like a chemical burn”, said his mother Amanda Darragh of Holsworthy.

It took five months of pain and discomfort before experts at The Children’s Hospital Westmead diagnosed a very rare, fast growing and highly malignant childhood cancer. It was also growing in an even more unusual location: Blake’s bladder and prostate.

“You hear that kids have cancer, but you never think it is going to be your child,” said Mrs Darragh. “I never saw it as bad luck, I saw it as a piece of crap. It is just something that happened to our family.”

Of the 14 to 20 children like Blake who are diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma (cancer of the muscle) every year in , four to five have it in the bladder. By the time Blake’s was found, it had spread from the bladder into his prostate.

His chance of survival over a five-year period is two in three, said his paediatric oncologist, Dr Geoff McCowage.

Blake, though, is one of six children who have been treated at Westmead with paediatric brachytherapy performed by Dr Jennifer Chard, a pioneering paediatric radiation oncologist in this field.

Treating Blake’s cancer involved putting him in an induced coma, because children of his age wiggle too much, and surrounding him with a perspex box to remind everyone that he was fragile.

To deliver strong doses of radiation for intensive treatment from a short distance, allowing more accuracy and less damage to surrounding tissues still growing in a baby, tiny hollow rods were inserted in Blake’s groin using equally tiny medical equipment. The radiation was delivered via the rods to the tumour for 10 minutes, twice a day.

Amanda Darragh

Until recently, the federal government sent children to the French hospital Institut Gustave Roussy in Paris for this treatment. Researchers reported in July on a study ofa 100 children between five months and 14 years of agewho had been treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation delivered using brachytherapy. There was a five-year, disease-free rate of 84 per cent, with overall survival rate of 91 per cent.

“If it had been an 18-year-old , we would have given radiotherapy from outside the body for six weeks, but that would destroy a one-year-old’s tissues and the hips, the bones, the intestines,” said Dr McCowage.

Until recently, the federal government sent children to the French hospital Institut Gustave Roussy in Paris for this treatment. Researchers reported in July on a study ofa 100 children between five months and 14 years of agewho had been treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation delivered using brachytherapy. There was a five-year, disease-free rate of 84 per cent, with overall survival rate of 91 per cent.

“If it had been an 18-year-old , we would have given radiotherapy from outside the body for six weeks, but that would destroy a one-year-old’s tissues and the hips, the bones, the intestines,” said Dr McCowage.

Amanda plays with Blake in the hospital garden. Photo: Kate Geraghty

But the path to diagnosis was painful for Blake, and awful for his family to watch.

Because many children suffer from nappy rash, Blake’s doctor thought it was a urinary tract infection, which wouldn’t clear with medication.

“He would scream and [the urine] would drizzle out, which was unusual,” said Mrs Darragh who also has two older sons, four and six.

“He was extremely uncomfortable, at six months he wasn’t sitting up, because he would try to sit up and he would scream and throw himself backwards.”

His bladder had nearly four times as much urine than is usual in a baby of his age.

Except for the darkest times, his mother said most people wouldn’t have known Blake was sick.

“He smiled through it, this really helped me. He’s just a happy little baby,” said Mrs Darragh. To get through the toughest year of her life and her marriage, Mrs Darragh relied on her family, her faith and an endless supply of pasta bakes from friends and family.

It is early days yet but Dr Chard said the tumours had shrunk in every child.

Blake is now 21 months old with no sign of recurrence. Doctors say it will take five years before they are sure he is permanently cancer free.

In the meantime, his mother pays more attention to his nappies than she did to her other sons’.

“We have very full nappies,” said Mrs Darragh. “I think I’m probably more obsessed with his than I was with his brothers.”

Parsons Green terror attack: Dozens injured in explosion on London Tube

An injured woman is assisted by a police officer close to Parsons Green station. Photo: PABritish Prime Minister Theresa May has raised the national terror threat level to critical, meaning another attack may be imminent, following an explosion on a packed commuter train in London on Friday morning.

At least 29 people were injured after the improvised bomb exploded on the rush-hour train in what police say was the fifth terrorist attack in Britain this year.

May said in a televised statement that armed police and members of the military would be seen on the streets in the coming days.


Parsons Green terror attack: At least 22 people injured by London Tube ‘bucket bomb'”For this period, military personnel will replace police officers on guard duties at certain protected sites that are not accessible to the public,” she said.

Passengers on board the train heading into the capital fled as fire spread through a carriage at Parsons Green underground station in West London after the explosion at 8.20am local time (5.20pm AEST).

Some suffered burns while others were injured in a stampede to escape.

An injured woman is comforted outside the Parsons Green tube station in London after the explosion. Photo: Reuters

The National Health Service said the injured had been taken to various London hospitals. None were thought to be in a serious condition, the ambulance service said.

“We now assess that this was a detonation of an improvised explosive device,” Britain’s top counter-terrorism officer Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley told reporters.

He said most of the injuries were thought to be flash burns.

Assistant Commissioner Rowley declined to answer whether the authorities knew who was responsible or if the suspected bomber had been on the train.

The container which reportedly exploded on board a packer London train during peak hour on Friday morning.

An earlier tweet by US President Donald Trump appeared to suggest those responsible were known to London’s Metropolitan Police Service. However Scotland Yard issued a statement saying the President’s comments were “pure speculation, given we don’t know who’s involved. Any speculation is unhelpful”.

The Islamic State group asserted responsibility for the incident hours later in a message on its propaganda site that said a “detachment” of its disciples had carried out the attack – language that perhaps suggested more than one assailant.

Experts cautioned that the group often seeks credit for attacks it may have inspired, as well as ones it had nothing to do with.

Pictures taken at the scene showed a white bucket with a supermarket freezer bag on the floor of one train carriage.

The bucket was in flames and there appeared to be wires coming out of the top.

Mrs May confirmed the explosion was being treated as a terrorist attack.

Some people suffered head and facial burns as a container “blew up” towards the rear of the train during rush hour about 8.20am local time (5.20pm AEST). Photo: Twitter/@cupide5tunt

“Clearly this was a device which was intended to cause significant harm,” she said.

“My thoughts are with those injured at Parsons Green and emergency services who are responding bravely to this terrorist incident.”

The threat level in the UK was last raised to ‘critical’ following the Manchester Arena bombing in May, when 23 people, including the attacker, were killed as they exited a concert by US popstar Ariana Grande.

“The public should go about their daily lives but remain vigilant,” Mrs May said. “The threat of terrorism we face is severe but by working together we will defeat them.”

Asked about Mr Trump’s comment that the attack was committed by “people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard”, Mrs May repeated the official line from the Metropolitan Police: “I never think it’s helpful for anyone to speculate on an ongoing situation,” she said.

The Prime Minister chaired a meeting of the government’s Cobra emergency committee on Friday afternoon.

n Hayden Locke was on board the “packed” train at the time of the explosion.

n man Hayden Locke was on board the train. Photo: Supplied

The 35-year-old father-of-two who has been living in London for the past three years was heading into London for meetings when people started stampeding from the back of the train as it pulled into Parsons Green station.

“People kept yelling there was a bomb. People are really on edge here,” he told Fairfax Media.

“All I could see was a little smoke, I just thought it was an electrical fire but people just started running. More people have been hurt by the rush.”

Locke, who works in the mining industry, said many people were injured trying to flee the train and the underground station.

“I saw one woman whose hair was all burnt and another woman had hurt her back after being caught up trying to get out of the station.”

I’m safe – just had to run for my life at #ParsonsGreen station – huge stamped, lots injured. Not sure why – fire/explosion mentioned. pic.twitter苏州夜网/zRvRPWOuzA

— Emma (@EmmaStevie1) September 15, 2017#parsonsgreenpic.twitter苏州夜网/0OUV819EtE

— Sylvain Pennec (@sylvainpennec) September 15, 2017- With AAP

The story,Brits warned another UK terrorattack is ‘imminent’, first appeared on the Brisbane Times.

UFOs spotted in the sky above Cessnock and Singleton

UFO sighting in Hunter Valley sky | VIDEO, PHOTOS, POLL UFO: A strange triangular-shaped craft spotted in the sky, south-west of Cessnock.

TweetFacebookThe man, who did not want to be named,first saw the lights while out on his deck, calling his dog in.

He lives in an area surrounded by bush and state forest nearthe Watagan Mountains, not far from the Laguna area.

Strange lights in the sky spotted south-west of Cessnock.

“Looking to the north, I noticed three flashing lights coming towards me,” he said.

“All of a sudden one went to the left, the other to the right, and the third one kept coming our way.”

Soon several dozen came over the horizon.

“Before we knew it, there would have been 40 to 50 of them, flying towards us. They were spread apart. I noticed most of them did a U-turn and went back again.

“I thought ‘this is strange, am I in a movie, like one of those attacks from Mars.

“There were so many out there, it was such a spectacle. It was overwhelming. My heart was pumping really fast.”

The man said thathelicopters andaeroplanes occasionally flyover, but“this seemed quite odd”because the craftwere“flying together”.

“There was no sound whatsoever. Normally when an aeroplane or helicopter goes by, wecan hear it –even in the house,” the man said.

“These were quiet.”

A second video of strange lights in the sky spotted south-west of Cessnock. In any case, they did not seem like conventional aircraft because“theirmovements were too flexible”.

“Their movements were quite erratic in that they moved towards us and then fairly quickly turned around and went back,” he said.

The Singleton Military Area is to the north of the man’s property, which was the direction from which the lights seemed to be coming.

A Department of Defence spokesman saidSingleton barracks“didn’t have anything going on which they think could have been responsible”.

Strange lights in the sky spotted south-west of Cessnock.

The man said the craft first appeared in the sky about 8pm on Thursday.

“Most had three or four flashing lights on them,” he said.

“They turned around and went back north. By 8.30pm, they were all gone andthe sky was clear of these flashing lights.

“We came back inside because they kind of vanished.”

About 15 to 20 minutes later, he went back outsideto have another look. The craft had returned.

He could see the craft for another half hour or so.

“Some went back and a few more came out and towards us,” he said.

Some time between 9pm to 9.30pm, the last of them had gone.

“At the very end, there was only one or two I could see doing this strange kind of loop,” he said.

“They were coming out from north to south, then they turned around and went back north again.”

Did he think they wereUFOs?

“The first thing my wife said was‘they’re UFOs’, but I don’t really believe in UFOs,” he said.

He thought they could possibly bemilitarydrones.

He wondered if someone could help identify the craft.

“I’m curious because it’s an odd thing and I don’t have an explanation,” theman said.

“I’m one of those people that likes to have an answer to these things.Maybe somebody else saw it. If a number of people saw it, there could be different perspectives on it.

“Someone inthe aeronautics industry might recognise the lights and know what kind of craft it is.”

The story,UFO sightingin Hunter Valley sky, first appeared on the Newcastle Herald.

NRL finals 2017: Brisbane Broncos defeat Penrith Panthers in elimination final

Penrith end season on a frustrating night as Brisbane prepare to meet Melbourne Storm TweetFacebookPictures: AAPBrisbane live to fight another day, Penrith depart season 2017 with another late flourish and ultimately, frustration. And Melbourne will start as prohibitive favourites to progress to another decider after a costly elimination final at Suncorp Stadium.

The young Panthers arrived in Brisbane full of hope and wonder. They left after a tough night where they simply couldn’t create enough to find a way past a rejuvenated home side, who defended their line with the kind of vigour you need to win finals.

The Broncos defence, disconnected last week, scrambled, then scrambled some more, as they took care of business 13-6in front of 38,623 fans, setting up a trip to AAMI Park next Friday night.

​But there would be some casualties, with key winger CoreyOates topping the list. Oates was knocked out cold in a horrible collision with team-mate Anthony Milford after 20 minutes and will almost certainly miss the preliminary final.

The pair made contact at full pace, with the shoulder of Milford making direct contact with Oates’ head. Penrith looked as if they had a chance to pounce on the loose ball and score but with Oates looking in serious trouble, officials were right to call a halt to play. Later, he was awake and moving about the dressing rooms.

Penrith had some issues of their own with head knocks, although with a slightly more comedic aspect. Hooker Peter Wallace had to leave the field for a HIA in the first half after Ben Hunt slammed a kick squarely into his face.

They needed his experience and were grateful for his return. He helped them cling to life and eventually, the Panthers threatened one of their customary comebacks when they finally cracked the Broncos line after 54 minutes thanks to Reagan Campbell-Gillard.

But Brisbane weren’t going to let this slip. Jordan Kahu delivered a field goal in the 70th minute, then the Broncos repelled set after set on their own line. All night, Penrith tried to send edge forwards at Anthony Milford. When that didn’t work, they looked short of options.

It was the kind of night Penrith may eventually look back on as one that helped them take the next step in their premiership hunt, similar to Cronulla’s semi-final loss to the Cowboys the year before their breakthrough.

Wayne Bennett’s poor record against Anthony Griffin has been well publicised but he was able to win the one that mattered. Now he has to conjure a miracle against the Storm next week.

Melbourne shouldn’t have feared what either team delivered on Friday night. It was scrappy and tough but lacked the kind of execution and discipline needed to compete against the Storm.

The Broncos are likely to get fullback and captain Darius Boyd back for the match but their record against Melbourne over the past decade has been nothing short of diabolical. Since 2007, they have won just four from 23 against the men in purple.

Brisbane had just one man on their bench at the end of the night and have further injury worries during the week. Jai Arrow was another that left the field with a concussion, while Kodi Nikorima, who was valiant again at fullback, looked to be carrying a knee injury at the end of the match.

But he was able to come up with one of the key moments, leaping high to spoil a Panthers raid late in the match just when it looked as if the Panthers were going to press for extra time.

Instead, they return to the foot of the mountains after a season that must be declared a success. Young half Nathan Cleary would have learned valuable lessons from the defeat – perhaps to be more flexible when Plan A wasn’t working – and can take them one step further in 2018.

Winx prepares for next challenge on September 16

The greatest: Winx surges past Red Excitement in the Chelmsford Stakes. Photo: AAPYes the marvel Winx is striving to recapture her former dazzle, but consider this?

Had she started in the Melbourne Cup this year the mare would have humped 64.5 kilograms, completely overwhelming the assessment of champion Makybe Diva when she notched the Big One for the third time in 2005.

In her two races this campaign, particularly the Chelmsford at Royal Randwick last start, Winx didn’t produce the dominance of recent campaigns.

Thus Saturday’s George Main Stakes, a more fitting traditional title than the sponsor’s toothpaste tag today, heightens the anticipation even more than last start which couldn’t draw more than 10,000 to headquarters, miserable compared to the 40,000-plus for the Swans at the SCG last Saturday.

With recent heart-stoppers Winx has added more theatre to performances: missed the kick by four lengths in the Warwick Stakes followed by being off the bit near the turn, in peril until the last 50 metres, and without the assistance of Hugh Bowman’s dropped whip, did what champions do – win, alas not in the manner of putting rivals to the sword as she did mostly in previous campaigns.

Trainer Chris Waller maintains Winx is at least as good as ever. Perhaps her last two performances were indications she is older, bigger and needs more racing to reach her peak.

But her Melbourne Cup rating by Greg Carpenter, Racing Victoria’s executive general manager – racing, a major player in the handicapping, opined on ABC News Radio’sHoof On The Till, emphasised the weight factor.

Regarded as vastly superior to Irish stayer Order Of St George, top weight this year with 58 kilograms due to being a strong European credentials, Winx (57 kilograms) was receiving two kilos from Red Excitement, who made hackles rise with catch-me-if-you can tactics, in the Chelmsford.

Under handicap conditions Winx would be conceding Red Excitement half the Randwick grandstand. Waller counters stressing the vagaries of weight-for-age racing, sectional times and sprints that can bring the outstanding undone.

Remember, he highlighted how Grand Armee downed Lonhro ($1.26) in the 2004 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick.

Lonhro was great but not in the Winx class, while Grand Armee was considerably better than Red Excitement. And Darren Beadman, on Lonhro, had a bad day at the office.

However,Makybe Diva was a champion. After winning two Melbourne Cups and a Cox Plate, the mare was given 58 kilograms to dull her bid for the remarkable treble but to no avail.

Carpenter spouts weight is the equaliser in the metric two miles, with Comic Court (59.5 kilograms) in 1950 being the last top of the handicap to triumph, supporting the calculation of only 58 kilograms to Order Of St George, trained by Aidan O’Brien with strong links to Lloyd Williams, the Melbourne Cup mastermind.

Carpenter recalled that a “crusty Sydney journalist” was aghast when the handicappers gave Irish stayer Admire Rakti only a half-kilo penalty in the 2014 Melbourne Cup (58.5 kilograms) after his dominance in the Caulfield Cup.

Weight had little to do with the Admire Rakti failure in the Melbourne Cup.

The Japanese stayer returned to the dressing down sheds following the race and dropped dead.

Racing Victoria is attempting to “help to link” the cups by announcing any horse allocated 56 kilograms or above in the Melbourne Cup would not be penalised should they win the Caulfield Cup.

Lack of consultation has peeved VRC chairman Amanda Elliott, but on a more positive note Flemington has an outstanding program on Saturday, an example why betting turnover on Victorian races topped the $6 billion mark last season.

Even without Order Of St George, Williams will be hard to beat in the Melbourne Cup and punters should get some indication at Flemington on Saturday from his six acceptors in the 2500 metre Japan Racing Association Trophy, headed by Melbourne Cup winner Almandin (Damian Oliver), who is upped 4.5 kilograms to 56.5 kilogramsfor the Big One this year.

Williams has switched Kerrin McEvoy, the best two mile jockey in at present, to stablemate Crocodile Rock.

But the presence of Winx, bolstered by the promo for her60 Minutes role this Sunday, beats anything Flemington has to offer.

Get into the company of a champion. Go to Royal Randwick.

The story,The weight and expectation on Winx, first appeared on the Sydney Morning Herald.

Pictures from across China: September 11 to 15, 2017

Pictures of the week: September 11 to 15, 2017 Landfall spring bull sale. Picture: Phillip Biggs

TASMANIA: Leukaemia Foundation Light the night event in Ulverstone. Picture: Brodie Weeding

TASMANIA: Launceston Footabll Club. Picture: Phillip Biggs

JERVIS BAY: Fire over Jervis Bay. Picture: Russ Quinn.

TUNCURRY: Fires and smoke create an eerie sunset scene. Picture: Judy Butler

PORT MACQUARIE: People took to the beach on Wednesday as temperatures climbed into the 30s. Picture: Ivan Sajko

NOWRA: Illaroo Road Public School students put on a show.

MANDURAH: There were plenty of frozen margaritas, tequila shots, tacos and mariachis at the opening of Funky’s Mexican Cantina on Wednesday night. Picture: Marta Pascual Juanola

MANDURAH: A prolific outing saw Ryan Black take out the Muay Thai WA state title at the Futures VI fight night. Picture: Marta Pascual Juanola

HUNTER: The Richmond Vale fire still burning after night sets. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

HUNTER: The fire crowning at Leggetts Drive, near Kurri in NSW. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

HUNTER: Jay Bolton hopes more local business people will rise to the Ninja Warrior for Charity challenge. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

HUNTER: Darren Weir gets one hand on the Newcastle Cup on Thursday at the Broadmeadow track. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

EDEN: The Vanns will get Eden dancing at the Sapphire Yuoth Festival this weekend.

DUNNS CREEK: Narooma fire crews brought a blaze under control during the week

NOWRA: Year 12 art work by Emily Percival.

LAUNCESTON: Northern Hawks Netball Club dinner and presentation dinner. Picture: Paul Scambler

LAUCNESTON: Honey tasmania’s Rebecca Campbell at their new store and factory, The Beehive, in Exeter on the West Tamar. Picture: Scott Gelston

LAUCNESTON: Rodney Bird and Sam Nixon at the Aussie Legends Evandale Football Club lunch. Picture: Phillip Biggs

TASMANIA: Some of n Honey Products bee hives at Badgers Head. Picture: Scott Gelston

TASMANIA: Lindsay Bourke of n Honey Products at Badgers Head. Picture: Scott Gelston

TASMANIA: Bee hives at Badgers Head on Tasmania’s North Coast. Picture: Scott Gelston

LAUNCESTON: Luke Prince and Neil Johnson at the Aussie Legends Evandale Football Club lunch. Picture: Phillip Biggs

LAUNCESTON: Emma Parsons and Emily Gladding at the Aussie Legends Evandale Football Club lunch. Picture: Phillip Biggs

LAUNCESTON: Garage Sale Trail. Picture: Phillip Biggs

TASMANIA: The Launceston Orchid Society. Picture: Paul Scambler

LAUCNESTON: Action at the NSATIS athletic carnival at St Leonards. Picture: Scott Gelston

LAUCNESTON: Action at the NSATIS athletic carnival at St Leonards. Picture: Scott Gelston

TASMANIA: Body builder Dane Tiffin at Zapfitness. Picture: Phillip Biggs

LAUNCESTON: An n Defence Force helicopter and military hardware landed at Scotch Oakburn College on Wednesday. Picture: Phillip Biggs

LAUNCESTON: An n Defence Force helicopter and military hardware landed at Scotch Oakburn College on Wednesday. Picture: Phillip Biggs

TASMANIA: Lilydale football Club division 2 premiers celebrate the end of the season. Picture: Paul Scambler

TASMANIA: Sahara Rumble, of Deloraine took out the win in the orchestral stringed instrument solo category. Picture: Brodie Weeding

TASMANIA: Thora Cosgriff, of Devonport came second in the orchestral stringed instrument solo category. Picture: Brodie Weeding

TASMANIA: Naomi Townsend, an apprentice chef at Gateway Inn Hotel at Devonport who was a 2016 finalist in the Fonterra Proud to be a Chef finals. Picture: Brodie Weeding

TASMANIA: Leukaemia Foundation Light the night event in Ulverstone. Picture: Brodie Weeding


A-League: Merrick vows to be cautious with marquee as Jets notch another pre-season winphotos

FLYING: Roy O’Donovan scored the Jets’ opening goal in a 2-1 win over Wellington at Jack McLaughlan Oval on Saturday. Picture: Sproule Sports Focus

ERNIE Merrick has no concerns about the physical fitness of marquee player Ronny Vargas but the Jets coach will not rush the attacking midfielder into action.

Ernie MerrickTweetFacebook Newcastle Jets v Wellington PhoenixPictures: Sproule Sports FocusVargas arrivedin Newcastle on Sunday and will undergo a medical before meeting his teammates on Monday.The attacking midfielder’s last game for AEK Athens was on May 17, and he has since been working with a personal trainer and attending training with Belgian club Antwerp.

“Ronny Vargas will be physically fit but he won’t be match fit,” Merrick said. “He will need at least a week of solid training under his belt. I doubt that he will play the local friendly but we will not make afinal decision until later in the week. There is nothing worse than bringing someone in and everyone else is match fit. We will test him in a number of areas before he plays.”

However, Merrick is confident that the Venezuelan international will be ready to go in round one.

“I must commend [football operations manager] Joel Griffiths,” Merrick said. “He was the one who kept persisting. I didn’t think we were going to get Ronny over the line. Joel did a great job and we have a really top-class player coming into our squad.”

The win over the Phoenix was the Jets’ third straight against A-League rivals.

Roy O’Donovan latched on to a clever ball from Wayne Brown to put the Jets ahead in the 34th minute. His goal was cancelled out by an AndrijaKaludjerovic header in the 64th minute beforeJoe Champness scored a winner for a second straight game, crunching a lobbed pass by O’Donovan with a left-foot volley in the 80th minute.

“It was pretty scrappy but you can’t play terrific footballevery game,” Merrick said. “The bottom line is that we are winning. Given that is the third A-League win in a row, it shows we are getting consistency. We are scoring goals and creating lots of chances. I’d like to put more away. It wasn’t pretty but it was a win. Leading into the first round on October 7,I am pretty happy with that.”

Merrick praisedfront duoO’Donovan and Andrew Nabbout and centrebacks Nigel Boogaard and Nikolai Topor-Stanley who “won everything in the air”.

However, he was disappointedwith the lack of play through midfield.

“We had some good chances in the first half, but then we reverted to playing long balls,” he said.

Lara Gilmour’s advice for people thinking about getting their first tattoo

Artistic: Lara Gilmour, a 23-year-old tattoo artist, has shared her story for the Illawarra Mercury’s More Than Skin Deep series. Visit the Mercury website.More Than Skin Deep series

Lara Gilmour admits she probably shouldn’t have started getting tattoos as young as 15, but she just wanted to be colourful.

‘’There was no defining moment in my life that made me want to do it. I just wanted to be as bright as I could be,’’ the 23-year-old said.

And now she makes a living out of adding ink to the skin of other like minded souls.

Lara’s advice for people thinking about getting their first tattoohttps://nnimgt-a.akamaihd苏州夜生活/transform/v1/crop/frm/6RkUQGAdGGK9mBaEPQ5Lkk/eb62b461-b666-4a97-a142-bdabd5f82db2.jpg/r0_74_5184_3003_w1200_h678_fmax.jpgLara Gilmour admits she probably shouldn’t have started getting tattoos as young as 15, but she just wanted to be colourful.Illawarra, Wollongong, tattoo, Lara Gilmour2017-09-16T13:00:00+10:00https://players.brightcove苏州夜生活/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5577704301001https://players.brightcove苏州夜生活/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5577704301001Lara’s body art has no rhyme or reason –she is influences by bands, artists and Walt Disney to name a few.

‘’One of my favourite tattoos is my rabbit … and I have a big portrait of my dog who passed away on my thigh.

‘’I got it four days later.

Inked: Lara’s body art has no rhyme or reason – she is influenced by bands, artists and Walt Disney to name a few. Pictures: Sylvia Liber

‘’It was very hard to get that one done. Everythingjust bubbled to his surface when Igot his done, it’s the most meaningful one for sure.’’

But most of Lara’s work has no real meaning at all, including her latest edition which is a gometric seahorse.

Read more: Sian’s first tattoo aged 40 was a ‘spur of the moment thing’

She’s happy to leave her designs in the hands of like-minded colleagues and give them ‘’free rein’’ to have as much fun as she does.

Lara – who is very heavily tattooed for a young woman and has a bold designon the side of her shaved head –says she doesn’t notice people’s reactions.

But she has her boyfriend would give a different answer.

‘’Don’t ask all your friends for their opinions, that’s the worst thing you can do,” says tattoo artist Lara Gilmour.

‘’I’m really oblivious to this sort of stuff, I don’t notice people looking at me when I’m walking down the street.

‘’My boyfriend would say people stop and stare at me.’’

As a professional artist, Lara has some views about tattoo placement.

‘’Necks, hands and faces have always been the last places you get …they’re the places thatheavily tattooed people have, tattoo artists, they are not something you shouldjust walk in and get because you feel like it,’’ she says.

‘’It’s a right of passage to get those places tattooed and Ithink anyone that really respect the tattoo culture really understands that.’’

Lara has some advice for people thinking about getting their first tattoo.

‘’Don’t ask all your friends for their opinions, that’s the worst thing you can do. ‘’And don’t do your hands or your neck.’’

Lara GilmourIllawarra Mercury series called ‘’More than Skin Deep’’.

It’s the brain child of Illawarra Mercury photographer Sylvia Liber.

‘’A person’s appearance can be misleading,’’ Sylvia says ‘’I agree that it displays a small part, but overall it’s an inaccurate way of measuring someone’s personality.’’

‘’I wanted to hear what was behind the incredible tattoos,’’ she said.

‘’I wanted people, our readers, instead of making a judgement based on appearance, to listen to these people first.’’

Read more:Three generations ofRandsnow tattoo from Windangshop

The story,Lara’sadvice for people thinking about getting their first tattoo, first appeared on the Illawarra Mercury.

Newcastle rugby: Wanderers earn another date with Hamilton in decider

TRY TIME: Wanderers’ No.8 Rhys Dombkins plants the ball on the line in the Two Blues’ 34-20 win over Southern Beaches. Picture: Stewart HazellTHERE is very little that Wanderers do not know about Hamilton and vice versa.

Two Blues to tackle familiar foe in decider TweetFacebook NHRU preliminary final: Wanderers 34 Southern Beaches 20Pictures: Stewart HazellThe twopowerhouse clubs have featured in the biggest and best games in the NHRU over the past fouryears.

On Saturday, they will meet in the grand final at No.2 Sportsground for a third straight year.

Again, the Two Blues had to qualify the hard way, beating Southern Beaches 34-20 in the preliminary final.

The resultwas a reverse of the qualifying final in which Beaches scored a converted try in injury time to win 20-19. Wanderers bounced back with a 59-5 hammering of Maitland in the minor semi-final to set up Saturday’s rematch with Beaches.

“Beaches are a good side and a team that plays for 80 minutes,” Wanderers coach Viv Paasi said. “We knew we had to keep grinding away at them and things would fall our way and they did.”

Minor premiers Hamilton, who are celebrating their 50thyear,had the luxury of a weekend off after beating Southern Beaches 27-10 in the major semi-final.

The grand final match-up is hardly a surprise. The Hawks and Wanderers finished one-two. At one point they were four wins clear of the chasing pack.

Wanderers have lost both encounters to the Hawks this season, going down 20-18 at Passmore Oval and 34-30 at No.2 Sportsground.

“It is about time we beat them,” Wanderers coach Viv Paasi said. “We know each other pretty well. We will do a few bits and pieces on them but the way to win big games is by worrying about yourself. That is what we have done in the past fortnight and I think it has shown. There is definitely things we need to tidy up from Saturday’s game–our restarts and other things. There were a few bits and pieces that weren’t as good as last week.”

Against Beaches, Wanderers led 17-3 at half-time and were always in control. Beaches fought hard and closed to 24-15 in the second half, before the Two Blues skipped away again.

In the end, Beaches couldn’t handle the pace of Wanderers flyers Tim Mash (one try), George Ashworth (two tries), Dillon Rowney and Josh McCormack.

Beaches coach Johan Lourens, who will hand the reins overnext season, was frustrated at the stop-start nature of the game and the decision by referee Brendon Farrar to sinbin centre Filisione Pauta for a high tackle in the first half.

Wanderers fullback Josh McCormack and replacement Mark Sherwood also received yellow cards.

“It was so stop-start,” Lourens said. “We wanted to play rugby.”

Apart from the outside backs, breakaway Ben Ham, lock Marcus Christensen, halfback Luke Sherwood and prop Leeland Marshall were strong for the Two Blues.

“Hammy is one of the guys who rarely gets noticed, and then you watch the video and he has done three times as much work as anyone else,” Paasi said. “It means a lot to him to play the grand final. He has played in the last four as has Boo (Sherwood), Luke Simmons, Cal McDonald, Ben Christensen and BillyCoffey. There is a bit of experience there.”

National Premier League play-offs: Edgeworth Eagles thrash Canberra Olympic to press claims for home run

EDGEWORTH are potentiallyone win away from hosting the National Premier League play-off grand final

ON FIRE: Veteran Daniel McBreen scored a double in Edgeworth’s 4-1 win over Canberra Olympic on Saturday night. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

The Eagles disposed of Canberra Olympic 4-1 at Deakin Stadium on Saturday night and will now meet the Brisbane Strikers at Jack McLaughlan Oval next weekend. Brisbane accounted for South Hobart 4-2 in Tasmania.

The three-time Northern NSW NPLchampions made it to the national finale last year, which they lost away to Sydney United 58, after wins on the road against Victorian winners Bentleigh Greens and Perth FC.

Match hosts are decided on a points system. A win in normal time is worth three points, away goals four points and home goals three points. A point is deducted for each goal conceded and per yellow card. A red card incurs a three-point penalty.

Kieran Sanders put Edgeworth ahead in the 15th minutes after a nod on from Daniel McBreen.His goal was cancelled out by Jordan Tsekenis in the 26th minute beforeJosh Evans put the visitors back in front with a crisp header onhalf-time.

“We deserved the second goalandwas an important moment to be honest,” Edgeworth coach Damian Zane said

The second half was all Edgeworth. McBreen produced a quality finish in the 75thminute before icing the win late.Edgeworth collected 18 points forthe 4-1 win.

APIA Leichhardt, who are in the other group,collected five points from their 1-0 win over Adelaide City. Heidelberg United beat Bayswater FC 2-1 in Perth in the second game on that side of the draw.

“On our side of the draw, we are probably one win off hosting a final,” Zane said. “APIAonly got five points for their win so we are sitting pretty.”

Edgeworth traveled to Canberra with an aggressive game plan and it paid dividends.

“It could have been more but had you offered me a 4-1 win I would have taken it,” Zane said. “We played pretty open and expansive because we wanted some goals and we got them. It was noce for Macca to score a couple.Once he gets up and about, he helps motivate the group. He was quite elusive tonight. People were saying how quick is he?”