Probus Halloween Ball

120 witches, wizards, ghosts and ghouls attended a lively celebration in Ewyas Harold on October 31which was brilliantly organised by Golden Valley Probus.

Our neighbour, Rob Ffoulkes-Jones, is coming to the end of his two-year term as president of the local branch of Probus, a social organisation for retired people, and he had nominated Laurie’s fund to benefit from his farewell event.

The hall had been elaborately decorated by Shelagh Ffoulkes-Jones and helpers with pumpkins, candles and giant spiders’ webs. There was a delicious buffet supper prepared by local caterer Mary Powell with her efficient team of assistants, a disco, raffle and an auction of promises donated by local businesses and individuals, kindly conducted by Nigel Ward. The auction alone raised £3000. Herbie Collins entertained the audience in his inimitable style, and Matthew, who had just got off a plane from America, spoke briefly about Laurie and the fund. The event was sponsored by Wyevale Garden Centres.

Many many thanks to Rob, Shelagh, the Probus committee and members, and all the friends and neighbours who so generously supported the Ball. The event raised over £9,300 for Laurie’s fund: a fantastic result.

Ludlow concert



A concert was organised for Laurie’s fund in Ludlow in September by Ivan and Mary Miletitch, whose 14-year-old son Luka has been having treatment for leukaemia for two years at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The programme included World music with Flatworld, traditional music from Ireland, Brittany and beyond with Diskan, in which Ivan plays, and special guest Karen Tweed.


Bruce Cardswell

Bruce Cardswell

It was a hugely enjoyable evening and over £500 was raised for the fund.

Karen Tweed

Karen Tweed



Talent show at Brimfield

Zoe Collett has done it again! This summer, for the second year running, 16-year-old Zoe organised a variety show for Laurie’s fund in her village in north Herefordshire. All her friends and neighbours rallied round, and the evening was a huge success, raising another £1000 for Laurie’s fund. Well done, Zoe, and thank you.

Golden Valley Birthday

Many thanks to Andrew Pritchard, friends and neighbours in the Golden Valley. Instead of presents for his 50th birthday this summer Andrew asked for donations to Laurie’s fund, and more than £1300 was raised.

The Bank Holiday Ball, August 24, Llangattock Lingoed

William and Angela Chadwick, Hilary Engel and Sophie Arnaud

William and Angela Chadwick, Hilary Engel and Sophie Arnaud

The ball, organised by Sally Bevan and Buddug Cass, was a huge success. It was kindly hosted by Fiona and George Chandler on their farm in the beautiful Monmouthshire countryside above Abergavenny. Cefn Clytha was a magical setting, with burning torches lining the gardens and a splendid marquee festooned with flowers, where the Chandlers had celebrated their daughter’s wedding the previous day.


Fiona and George Chandler, hosts

Fiona and George Chandler, hosts

Guests were greeted by music played by Serenading Strings, pink champagne and canapés; and then about 120 people sat down to a delicious dinner prepared entirely by Sally and her helpers. Afterwards a promise auction was kindly conducted by William Chadwick of Straker Chadwick, auctioneers in Abergavenny, raising nearly £4000 with pledges from many local firms and individuals, including two holidays in France and a private tour of Sir Roy Strong’s garden.

There was also a raffle with handsome prizes, including a wheelbarrow full of booze. Finally there was a disco provided by Gareth Watkins, with guests dancing until 2 am, some of them encouraged by Vika Engel to attempt a little breakdancing.

Sally Bevan and Buddug Cass, organisers of The Bank Holiday Ball

Sally Bevan and Buddug Cass, organisers of The Bank Holiday Ball

The event was generously sponsored by the Wye Valley Group.

Enormous thanks to Sally and Buddug for carrying this off so brilliantly, after months of planning, and to everyone who donated in different ways.

Some of the guests

Some of the guests

Gala Comedy Evening

haircutA hilarious evening was enjoyed by a full house at the Courtyard Theatre, Hereford on July 9th when Sean Hughes and fellow comedians Adam Bloom, Simon Evans, David Hadingham and compere Gordon Southern took to the stage to help raise over £8,000 for the TCT Laurie Engel Fund and the Little Princess Trust, which provides wigs for children having chemotherapy.

To add to the merriment, a local man, Richard Cox, volunteered to have his long hair cut on stage by Hereford hairdresser Peter Prosser.

The evening was sponsored by M and M Direct Ltd. Many thanks to everyone concerned, especially the stars of the show, who gave their time, Alaric Dynevor, and Anna Roby-Welford and her colleagues at M and M, who organised the whole thing.

Kayak challenge

canoe113-year-old Max Carleton-Smith, a former schoolfriend of Laurie’s, organised a 100km kayak expedition in June, travelling down the Wye from Glasbury to Ross. A group of 34 pupils from Abberley Hall school in Worcestershire took up the challenge, and eight of them undertook the whole three-day journey, camping overnight at Preston-on-Wye and Mordiford. Some were in Canadian-style canoes, and some in individual kayaks.

canoe2Max, who is a keen sportsman, said along the way: “This is a really, really big challenge.” Two members of staff from Abberley Hall, James Abbott and Richard Tooby, led the expedition, setting the pace, keeping up spirits and issuing the food rations, which had been donated by the SAS.

canoe3Max’s mother and sister, Catherine and Katja, formed the support team, and joined in parts of the journey, and Hilary and Vika also paddled part of the way. We were enormously impressed by the youngsters’ enthusiasm and team spirit. Thanks to the generosity of Abberley Hall parents and friends the expedition has raised about £2500 for Laurie’s fund.

canoe4Well done for a magnificent effort, and many thanks to everyone involved.

2008 Laurie Engel Football Tournament

Some of the players at the end of the day.

Some of the players at the end of the day.

The third Laurie Engel Football Tournament was played on a fine afternoon at Michaelchurch Escley on Saturday 24 May to mark what should have been Laurie’s 16th birthday on the 28th. In all 43 players took part, aged between 8 and 16, and we were very touched that so many of Laurie’s friends from Fairfield and other nearby schools came along to remember him.

As before, Gareth Jones organised the event and did a brilliant job of assembling and cooking the ingredients for the barbecue. Joy made the teas, Tim Wood-Cole prepared the pitch, Steve Herington managed the complicated task of putting together equally balanced teams, and Andy Manning refereed. The kids and all the parents who came to watch had a great time. All sorts of great prizes were donated for the raffle, and altogether nearly £400 was raised for the fund.

The winning team receives the cup.

The winning team receives the cup.

Thanks to everyone who helped to make the event such a success, including Neils Country Foods who donated the burgers and sausages, and Ferraris who gave the bread rolls. Thanks to Gregg’s for the £30 vouchers for the raffle, Adrian Walker for the meat hamper, the Bridge Inn for the meal for two, the Bulls Head for the Sunday lunch for two, Pauline and Phil Goodwin for the £20 voucher for Sunday lunch, everyone else who donated prizes, and Mountain Mayhem for sponsoring the medals.

Official start

turfThere was a ceremony at the hospital on November 26, marking the official start of the building work. About 60 guests came from across the country, including patients, ex-patients, parents, hospital staff, fund-raisers, donors, Teenage Cancer Trust staff, family and friends.

Karren Brady, managing director of Birmingham City Football Club, was invited to cut the non-existent turf, and joined Matthew, Simon Davies, chief executive of Teenage Cancer Trust, and Tyler Bradley, a current patient, in hard hats for the photo call. 

Afterwards Simon, Matthew and Andrew Hughes, deputy to the chief executive of the hospital, spoke about the project, and Matthew paid tribute to the film director David Raibin, who died of cancer earlier this year, before showing his film about Laurie and the fund.

Lots of local media covered the event, most particularly Central Television news, who made it their lead story of the day.  Many thanks to Sandy Barton, Central’s medical reporter, for doing Laurie proud.

Birmingham Half-Marathon

Tom Engel picLaurie’s cousin Tom Engel, who teaches business studies and economics at Plantsbrook School in Sutton Coldfield, took part in Birmingham’s first Half-Marathon on October 26. Nine thousand people were running in the race through the city centre, and thousands more turned out to watch. The rain fortunately held off.

Tom managed to shave two minutes off his personal best time, completing the race in 1 hour 48 minutes. He got some excellent coverage in the local press, and was generously sponsored by many friends and colleagues from school. He says that it was a great experience, and he hopes to do it again next year.

Well done, Tom, and thank you.

The “18 Counties” bike ride

undertaken by cricket writers Colin Bateman of the Daily Express, David Lloyd of the Evening Standard and Ian Todd, formerly of The Sun, was a triumph.  Together with Colin’s sons, Tom and Jack, and Colin’s nephew Alan Dracey they covered 1,000 miles in 16 days, visiting all 18 of the first-class cricket county headquarters.

They set out from The Oval on September 13 and returned to Lord’s on September 28, going as far as Chester-le-Street in Durham and Taunton in Somerset.

All proceeds from the ride will be divided between Laurie’s fund and Heads Up, a charity backed by former England cricketer Hugh Morris, which aids research into cancers of the head and neck.

Colin Bateman reports:

How long is a piece of string? Well, in the end it amounted to 1099 miles – all of which were cycled by six foolhardy cricket-lovers to support the Laurie Engel Fund.

The string in question was used to work out how far we would have to pedal to work our way around the cricket’s 18 First Class counties visiting the headquarters of each. The string was supposed to equate to 50 miles on our OS maps and came up with a target of just over 1,000 miles for the 16-day trip.

In truth, the estimate fell well short but the peloton still made it around the country during possibly the best two weeks of the year in mid-September, starting at the Brit Oval (Surrey) and finishing at Lord’s (Middlesex) via all places east, south, west and north.

It was tough going at time. Especially into that north-easterly as we crossed the Pennines heading from Manchester up to Chester-le-Street, home of Durham, our most northerly destination. As we crossed the bleak Blea Moor and stopped for a spectacular view of the Ribblehead Viaduct at sunset, our youngest member Jack hurled his helmet to the ground at declared: “I’ve seen enough bloody sheep and scenery for a lifetime, let’s just get to the youth hostel.” It was another 11 miles away in Hawes, a leg conducted by moonlight.

Lloyd BatemanConsidering the amount of broken glass our fellow citizens leave lying in the gutter (you never notice it in a car), a total of six punctures among us for the 16 days was good going, and there were no accidents and only a few moments of road rage. “How much ****ing room do you want?” shouted one
motorcyclist. “How much do you need?” bravely enquired Alan, our most experienced cyclist.

Our guest cyclists for the odd day here and there included former England cricketers Angus Fraser (whose saddle dropped off on Salisbury Plain) and Steve James (who is still far too fit) and we had a warm welcome from most counties when we turned up unannounced. Even the MCC gatemen at Lord’s gave us a cheery wave – so we knew we had arrived. Finally.

Details of the trip can be found on www.justgiving.com/colinbateman.

Vicky Morgan, Caroline Knox and Anna Roby-Welford completed the Mazda London Triathlon

triathlonto raise funds for TCT, directing most of the money to Laurie’s fund.

Anna reports: “It was a fabulous day – despite the weather!

“Wet seemed to be the theme of the day. First element was a dip in the Victoria Docks – a 750m choppy swim in inclement weather, more churn being created by the 400 or so swimmers in our heat as we thrashed our way through the saline and murky waters. Once out of the dock we stripped off our wetsuits and were onto the bikes for a 20km cycle in a summer rain shower. The final leg was a 5km run.

“We were all thrilled to finish our first ever triathlon – and we all agreed we’d do it again next year!”

London to Brighton Bike Ride

We just received a cheque for £500 from sports journalist Kate Laven, who revealed that last October she cycled from London to Brighton for Laurie’s fund and also Ian Salisbury’s benefit.  She says: “I collared a few cricketers and commentators for sponsorship.  Sals came along too, which was the most exercise he’d had all season!  It was bloody hard but enormously satisfying, and I am chuffed to bits that I can make a small contribution to such a fantastic cause.” Many thanks, Kate.

Parachute jump

Georgia-Mercier-2Laurie’s second cousin, 16-year-old Georgia Mercier from Cirencester, recently
did a parachute jump from 13,000 feet for Laurie’s fund with the Silver Stars at 29 Regiment in South Cerney, near Cirencester, where her dad works. She has now sent us £575 raised in sponsorship. She writes: “I thoroughly enjoyed doing the parachute jump, and I would love to do it again. However I have realised that the collecting and collation of the sponsor money is a difficult task.  Good luck with the continuation of the fund.”

Well done, Georgia, and thanks for such a fantastic achievement.

Paris Marathon

Colin Mutton, Laurie’s first head teacher, ran the Paris Marathon in April.  Here is his account:

“I finished the marathon in 4:17, having taken 2:15 for the first half and then doing the second half in 2:02, finishing very strongly and thinking I could have gone under 4 hours if I had pushed on sooner.  Still, there’s always the next one!

“We went over to Paris on the Thursday, 10 of us in all, and enjoyed two gorgeous spring days in the sun, sight seeing.  My only regret was climbing the Eiffel Tower on the Friday – 700+ steps, which I could feel in my calfs on the Saturday.  That, plus worries about niggling knee aches on my last training run, and the poor weather forecast for the Sunday, led to a sleepless night on the Saturday and serious concerns that things might go badly and I might not even finish.


Passing the 26 mile mark

“Fortunately none of this happened and the longer the race went on the better I felt.  I had great support from the others at various points around the course and that helped enormously too.  But I have to say that the crowds in Paris are smaller than and less supportive overall than those in London.



“I owe a huge debt to my wife Kath – she has joined me on so many training runs over the last 6 months and helped me get my marathon pace established.  Having her company for a good proportion of my longest runs was a huge help.

“Thanks to all of you who sponsored me.  I raised a total of £400 for Laurie’s fund.”

Well done, Colin.

Saunders Quiz Night

Our friend Helen Leadbeater and her colleagues at Saunders Solicitors in London recently held their second quiz for the Fund, at which £700 was raised.