2018: Waterfall HouseAfter five more years of fundraising, Birmingham Children's Hospital has completed its new £38 million, four-storey cancer centre for children of all ages, Waterfall House. Operating theatres, outpatient and inpatient wards, intensive care units, plus haematology and rare diseases clinics are all included in a fabulously light, spacious, high-tech and fun building, on the site where the hospital staff car park used to be.
2017Youth for Youth Concert, St Mary’s Church, Craswall, July This year’s concert was even more youthful than last, with singers from Michaelchurch Escley Primary School – where Laurie was a pupil - delighting a churchful of listeners with their musical enthusiasm. The Olchon Orchestra performed Haydn's Toy Symphony with their help, as well as dances by Mozart and Praetorius. We heard two impressive duets, by father and son Oliver and Jacob-Dixon, and sisters Lydia and Iona Prosser. Robin Freeland, now studying music in Cardiff, played Poulenc’s Melancholy with enormous feeling. The event was brought about once again by Joyce Hvass, who conducted, accompanied, and generally inspired the performers. The audience of parents, friends and neighbours had a thoroughly enjoyable evening, and just over £250 was raised for the Fund. Many many thanks to all concerned.
Cycling Engel's EnglandMark Williams arrived back in Herefordshire in triumph right on schedule at 4 pm on 27 June 2016, having achieved his target. He had set out from Hay-on-Wye on May 28 to cycle 3100 miles in 31 days, visiting all 39 of the old English counties, plus London, in memory of his school friend, Laurie. At the start the plan had sounded practically impossible - even to him. He battled with thumping showers, flash floods, punctures, unseasonal cold, London traffic, a stomach upset, aching joints, a malfunctioning phone, a broken saddle, and the steepest hills he'd ever seen in his life. But nothing was going to stop him. He started his ride on the Welsh border, steered west all the way up to Scotland; then travelled down the east coast, in and out of London and down to the cliffs of Dover. He visited 20 cathedrals, touched the north, south, east and westernmost points of the country, and climbed Scafell Pike (on foot). During the final week he took in the whole of the south coast as far as Land's End, then headed north east again, through Somerset and Devon to Bath, Oxford, Gloucester and Hereford. On the final day he met up with a group of other school friends of Laurie's at Hereford Cathedral, and together they cycled to Fairfield High School and then on to Laurie's home in the Golden Valley. Mark set out to raise £10,000 for Laurie's fund, for Teenage Cancer Trust; in fact he reached a total of more than £11,000. A fantastic achievement: we are hugely grateful. Ruth's birthday party, September Our great friend Ruth Watkins, mother of Laurie's friend Arthur, chose to dedicate her 60th birthday to Laurie's fund. Duke's Farm was hopping that night, with a huge crowd of friends, live music, dancing and home-cooked food: and a wonderful time was had. More than £700 has been donated so far. Many many thanks. Youth for Youth concert, July On a fine summer’s evening in Craswall church, high up in the Herefordshire hills, a group of young people gave a concert in memory of Laurie. The programme was a delightful mix of classical, folk and modern music, as well as newly-written songs. Robin Freeland, who played piano and viola, made the concert happen, with the help of Joyce Hvass, a well known figure in the musical life of the Golden Valley. Raye Harvey played the violin, India George the cello, and Lyndon Etough-Smith (who was Laurie’s music teacher in secondary school) played violin, clarinet and piano. Amy Lonsdale performed her own songs. The audience was hugely impressed by the quality of the performances; and we were all moved by this touching tribute to Laurie. £250 was raised for Teenage Cancer Trust. Paul Freeland designed this website in 2013, for which many thanks.
he was 11 he never had a more serious ailment than athlete’s foot.
He lived on a farm in Herefordshire with his parents, Matthew and Hilary, and younger sister Vika.
Laurie wanted to win Wimbledon or, failing that, be a sports writer like his dad. Almost anything seemed possible – except what did happen. He was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer. Despite 17 months of intensive treatment, he died in September 2005, aged 13.
Laurie’s friends often speak of his kindness. He said he wanted to make a difference. His family set up the Laurie Engel Fund to make sure that he would.
The Laurie Engel Fund
Laurie was treated at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, the childhood cancer centre for much of England. The Engel family found the medical care there world-class, but the facilities and surroundings dismal.
The Engel family set up the Laurie Engel Fund to try to ensure future patients have better conditions than Laurie did. Working initially with Teenage Cancer Trust, the fund raised £1.1m – and as a result a new £2.5m teenage unit opened in 2010. It has been a huge success, delighting patients, parents and staff and setting new standards at the hospital.
The snag was that the unit created a big discrepancy between the facilities available to teenagers and to younger children, who are still being housed in the old, low-grade wards. Recognising the problem, Birmingham Children’s Hospital has launched a £4m appeal to bring all their cancer facilities into a similar class.
In January 2013 the Engels decided to redirect Laurie’s fund to support this important cause – to try to give all the younger cancer patients the amenities they deserve; and to give them the best possible chance of recovery.
Please support us, Laurie, and all the children who will have to endure treatment for cancer in the future.
In 2013 the Laurie Engel Fund – having achieved its original objective of building a teenage cancer unit at Birmingham Children’s Hospital – switched to supporting the hospital’s own appeal: raising £4 million towards the cost of an entirely new cancer department. This target has now been reached, and work has started on the new four-storey building, due to be completed in 2017.