bOn 14 October 2010 the new Teenage Cancer Trust unit at Birmingham Children’s Hospital was formally opened by Roger Daltrey CBE, patron of the Trust.




Photography: Jason Pitt

Photography: Jason Pitt

The new TCT unit which Laurie’s fund has helped to build has won 2010 ’s Best Interior Design award given by the architectural association, Building Better Healthcare.

Kate Collins of Teenage Cancer Trust said: ‘These awards are very much about patients and they are presented to organisations that adopt innovative approaches to developing the very best in patient centred design. We are incredibly proud of this recognition.’

2010 Laurie Engel Football Tournament

Matthew presenting medals to the winning team – Ellie Bush, Robert Jones, Jake Harman, Fraser Brymer and Billy Lewis

Matthew presenting medals to the winning team – Ellie Bush, Robert Jones, Jake Harman, Fraser Brymer and Billy Lewis

The fifth Laurie Engel Football Tournament was held on May 29 2010 to mark what should have been Laurie’s 18th birthday. Despite on-and-off rain there was an excellent turnout – around 35 players between the ages of 8 and 17 competed in a fierce but friendly manner for the Laurie Engel Trophy.

All the delicious burgers and hot dogs cooked on Gareth Jones’ barbecue disappeared by the end, along with hundreds of cups of tea brewed up by Joy.

This year’s raffle prizes included a sumptuous hamper donated by Fodder’s of Hereford, a handsome toy farm made by our former postman, Denzil Lloyd, and vouchers generously given by Shepherds Ice Cream Parlour and Mailes the Butchers.



Denzil Lloyd and the toy farm, with his wife Joyce and daughter Brenda

Denzil Lloyd and the toy farm, with his wife Joyce and daughter Brenda

Many many thanks to Steve, Gareth and Joy for organizing the whole thing, to Andy Manning and his son Richie for refereeing, and to Mountain Mayhem for the medals. Also to Carol Bush and Jo Denyer for raffle prizes, and to Ellie Gilbert-Smith and Robert Jones for selling raffle tickets. Nearly £400 was raised for Laurie’s fund.

It means a huge amount to us that our friends and neighbours in the Golden Valley continue to remember Laurie in this very fitting way, as he loved nothing more than playing football with his mates.

Derwent London Lunch, May 14

Vika with the cricket bat

Vika with the cricket bat

More than 400 guests gathered at the Intercontinental Hotel on May 14 to attend the second fund-raising lunch organised by Derwent London for Laurie’s fund.

Derwent has for a long time been an important supporter of Teenage Cancer Trust. One of the company’s founders, Simon Silver, was by coincidence at school with Matthew at Carmel College.

After Laurie died Simon and his colleagues organised the first of their lunches for his fund, in November 2006, which raised a huge sum.


The other companies taking part this year, listed below, included agents, architects, builders, designers, surveyors and lawyers, many of whom have donated their expertise in the construction of TCT units around the country.



Matthew speaking at the Derwent lunch

Matthew speaking at the Derwent lunch

Among the guests were Dr Dave Hobin, oncology consultant at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Beryl Wood, capital projects manager at the hospital, and Lorraine Beddard, lead nurse on the TCT unit.

Derwent had commissioned David Goodale to make a film about the Birmingham TCT unit, as a tribute not only to Laurie but also to David Raibin, who made a film for the 2006 lunch, and who has since sadly died of cancer.

After the film Matthew spoke briefly about Laurie, and all that has happened in the four and a half years since his death.

There was a raffle, and just one item was auctioned – a cricket bat donated by the ECB, signed by all the members of the England Ashes-winning team – which sold for over £1500.

Altogether the event raised, astonishingly, more than £130,000, so that by way of an eighteenth birthday present to Laurie it took the Fund well over the £1 million mark.

We are extremely grateful to Simon Silver and Paul Williams, Derwent managing director John Burns, and to Dupe Odunsi and her team, who put such a huge effort into making this event a great success.

Adams Kara TaylorAHMMBAMBerwin Leighton PaisnerBrunswick Group

Buro Four


CB Richard Ellis




Cushman & WakefieldDavis LangdonDron & WrightDTZFletcher Priest


Harris & Trotter

Heron Property Corporation Ltd

Jackson Coles

James Andrew International

Jones Lang LaSalle

Laing O’RourkeLifschutz Davidson SandilandsMAKEMcfarlanesNorman Disney and Young



Richard Susskind & Co


Slaughter and May

Speechly Bircham

Strutt & Parker

Duke’s Farm holidays

Dukes Farm cottagesOur friends Ruth and Ken Watkins have made an extremely generous gesture. They have three holiday cottages in newly-converted barns on their farm, and are donating to the fund a percentage of income from holidays booked at certain times (see www.dukesfarm.co.uk). Dukes Farm and the Watkins family used to be a home from home for Laurie, and we are very touched that they are supporting the fund in this way.


Brighton Marathon

Tom Gavin MarathonTom Gavin (right) wrote to us out of the blue to say that he had ‘cried like a girl’ when he read Matthew’s recent article about Laurie. Then he decided to do something very brave: to run his first marathon for the fund. He completed the race successfully in April and raised £1000. Well done, Tom, and many thanks.


Cheque for £10,000

Another donor who wishes to be anonymous, a total stranger, came to our door one Sunday morning and wrote us a cheque for £10,000. He is a keen sportsman – a lifelong cricketer – who was familiar with Matthew’s writing; and having read about Laurie in the local paper he said he sounded like a wonderful boy. As he has no children of his own, he wanted this money to go to the fund.

Steiff bears

SteiffA donor who wishes to remain anonymous has given us three brand-new Steiff teddy bears – the Rolls Royce of bears – which are collectors’ items. There’s a limited edition Golden Anniversary Paddington, a Rupert Classic, and a limited edition ‘Dolly’ bear, one of the ‘Little Giants’ series. We are planning to auction them, and are looking now for the best opportunity to do this – but feel free to make us an offer.


Herefordshire oak tables

oakWe thought it would be nice to have some Herefordshire oak in the unit, and Ken Watkins kindly agreed to make some tables. There are two high ones that can be used as mobile desks, and two low ones to be used for food, drink or laptops in the seating area. They are very beautiful, and much appreciated. (Photo by Chris Gascoigne)



library in the unitLaurie needed to read a lot when he was having treatment, and so we have set up a library in the unit. Over 100 ‘teenage’ books have been given by various old friends of ours in publishing – at Macmillan, HarperCollins, Bloomsbury, Simon & Schuster and Penguin. Ken built a handsome bookcase to house them. Staff, patients and parents are extremely grateful.


The new unit is open!

On February 22, 2010 – exactly four years and five months after Laurie died – the new teenage cancer unit that he made possible finally opened for business.

Lead nurse Lorraine Beddard reported on Day 1: “I am really thrilled – the atmosphere is lovely.”

Fifteen year-old Will Smith, one of the first patients, said: “The new unit is totally amazing- far better than I’d imagined. I love the comfy seats, the pool table and the music in the bathroom!”