The four Prosser sisters, Naomi, Charlotte, Lydia and Iona, schoolfriends of Laurie and Vika who are all keen young athletes, organized a one and a half mile sponsored run round Hereford Racecourse at the end of July 2006.
Then on 5 August, at the Llanthony Show, the older girls, Naomi and Charlotte, and their friend Alex Congreve completed a two and a half mile fell run. Altogether the girls collected £465 for Laurie’s fund. A great achievement: well done to everyone concerned.
Shepherds Ice Cream Parlour
in Hay kindly donated 2p to Laurie’s fund for every cornet sold through the 2006 season. This has produced a handsome figure of £1264 for the fund. Thank you, Martin and Juliet.
Andrew’s birthday present
Last summer, at his 50th birthday party in Michaelchurch Escley, Andrew Christopher asked all his guests to make donations to Laurie’s fund instead of bringing presents. Andrew is married to Laurie’s former playgroup supervisor, Julie. The result was astonishingly more than £1100. Many thanks again to all our generous friends and neighbours in the Golden Valley.
Lunch for Laurie at Colwall
The lunch and cricket match at Colwall, one of the most thriving village clubs in the Midlands, on July 30 2006 resulted in a narrow win for the Hop Pocket XI over Colwall. About £3,000 was raised for Laurie’s fund and for the Hereford breast cancer Haven. Special thanks to Sally Bevan for her wonderful efforts, to all the sponsors and to everyone at Colwall, especially chairman Gary King, as well as guest umpire John Hampshire. It was a splendid occasion on a lovely summer’s day.
Laurie Engel Tournament, Michaelchurch Escley
On 27 May 2006, despite rotten weather, the Escley Youth Club staged the Laurie Engel five-a-side football tournament at Michaelchurch. Many of Laurie’s (and Vika’s) schoolfriends turned out, so the players ranged from eight-year-olds to 14-year-olds. The winners were Titans: Bonny Herington, Michael Hancorn, Ross Powell, Jake Murphy, Tommy Wood-Cole, Thomas Starkey and Katrina Sutherland.
Gareth Jones, the principal organizer, supervised the barbecue, with all food donated by local suppliers (Greggs the bakers and two butchers, Mailes of Ewyas Harold and Neil Powell) and the Gwatkin brothers of Abbey Dore Farm Shop. Together with an impressive raffle the event raised nearly £600.
Sponsored Walk, Offa’s Dyke Path
On 28 May 2006 Laurie would have celebrated his 14th birthday. In an event organized by Laurie’s eight first cousins, about 80 friends, relatives and fund-supporters, including many children, walked along the mountain ridge which forms the horizon Laurie could see from his home, from Hatterrall Hill to Hay Bluff – a distance of about ten miles.
The weather stayed miraculously dry and the walkers returned with sunburnt faces as well as a sense of achievement. The fastest time was two and a half hours (Paddy Cramsie ran most of the way) but most of us took about six hours including time spent eating, chatting and admiring the views. Those still on their feet gathered for supper at Fair Oak, the main attraction being Marcus Lloyd’s famous fish and chips. Also there were many of the people involved in producing the CD for Laurie, Matty Groves, which was playing in the background.
We now know that the walk has raised about £13,000, but above all it was a marvellous way for everyone to get together and remember Laurie.
The pool team from the Boughton Arms, Peterchurch kindly donated £200, the bulk of their winnings, after triumphantly winning Division Six of the Hereford Winter Charity Pool League in 2006. The team included 12-year-old Hugo Vaughan Winter, a pupil at Laurie’s school, Fairfield, his father Simon, Ashley McLean and Mark Evans (both former Fairfield pupils), captain and landlord Juliette Allen, Paul Jones and Phil Smith.
The Laurie Engel Trophy, 3 May 2006
On a warm sunny evening in the Dore Valley, a very friendly football match was played between Hylton FC, Laurie’s old team, and Fairfield High School Under 15s. The final score was 3-2 to Hylton, who therefore received the Laurie Engel Cup, presented gleefully by Vika Engel. The event was organized by the Hylton coach, Tim Betambeau; and combined with a raffle it amazingly raised £796.80. It is intended to make this an annual event.
Progressive Supper, Herefordshire, 28 April 2006
About 70 local friends took part in this and had an enjoyable evening, changing venues between courses. The gourmet meal was followed by a raffle, and the whole event raised about £1,300.
Coffee morning, Longtown WI, April 2006
The WI’s coffee morning included raffles, cakes and a bookstall; it made £500 for the Fund.
Hot Supper, Escleyside Hall, Michaelchurch Escley, January 2006
This event, organized by local friends, was a sell-out. The hall was packed with people of all ages, and a delicious home-cooked meal was followed by a raffle, auction and quiz. Over £1300 was raised for the Fund.
A special thank you to the Beddard family of Ross-on-Wye – Mel, Tony and Abi. Their son Matthew died of cancer at the age of 13 in 2005, after being treated at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. They held a Christmas disco in memory of Matt at his school, John Kyrle High School in Ross-on-Wye, which raised £618, and a Christmas fancy dress disco that raised £871. They went carol-singing in Goodrich (£436), and held a cricket day at Goodrich earlier in the year (£405). Some of Matt’s friends, Jess Mutton, Luke and Ellie, did a sponsored run (£480); and HSBC donated £500 under the ‘£1 for £1’ scheme, making a grand total of £3310.
Many thanks as well to the Oat Street Unitarian Chapel, Evesham, to Olton United Reformed Church, Solihull, to Aston Fields Middle School, Bromsgrove and to the School Improvement Service at Herefordshire Council for donating their Christmas collections to Laurie’s fund, amounting to £1000 altogether.
Motorway Challenge for Laurie
Our friend Sarah Bierley, who lives in Shropshire, had a phobia about motorways, and had never driven on one. She decided this was the moment to do it, so ‘on a drizzly November afternoon, with the windscreen wipers flicking back and forth, I discovered the meaning of motorways. Not exactly the piece of cake I had been encouraged to believe, more like boiled cabbage with the hint of something nasty lurking inside. Anyway, it’s done – 4 miles along the M54 to the local service station and back again. People have been very generous. Never has such a short trip yielded such an extortionate mileage rate.’ The drive raised just over £400 for the fund: many thanks to Sarah and everyone concerned.
Christmas Party for Laurie
Simon Reid, dear old friend of Laurie’s cousin Rachel, organized a giant party in aid of the fund. It was called The Longest Night Before Christmas. Simon writes:
The people behind the legendary The Longest Day festival (www.thelongestday.net) brought themselves and their brethren to Hidden in Vauxhall to scythe through the cold winter air with a little summer attitude. A heady mix of live music and DJs ran for 10 hours, and left all 360 attendees exhausted but warm, grinning and begging for more…which there will be…soon…once I’ve had a little lie down ….
The party raised £1000. Thank you Simon and all your guests.
An Evening with Michael Parkinson, Birmingham Rep, 12 November
Over 800 people packed the Birmingham Rep to enjoy Parky’s marvellous show, in which he shared memories of his unique 50-year career in sports journalism and TV. He showed clips of some of his most dramatic interviews, ranging from Mohammed Ali and Billy Connolly to Dame Edith Evans and Jakob Bronowski. He recalled the hazards of dealing with characters as diverse as Robert Mitchum, Nelson Mandela, Peter Sellers, Fred Trueman and Dickie Bird; and answered questions with great good humour.
The show began with the short documentary film made by David Raibin about Laurie and the need for the new unit in Birmingham; and one of the stars of the film, 17-year-old Zara Free, together with another BCH patient, 13-year-old Alex Godding, like Laurie a pupil at Fairfield High School, went backstage to chat to Michael Parkinson afterwards.
Matthew spoke briefly about the remarkable people we have met in the course of the past year’s fund-raising, quite a few of whom were there on the night. There was also a large contingent of staff from Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Some of Laurie’s friends shook fund-raising buckets at the end, and altogether the event raised more than £15,000. This is the first large-scale event we have held in Birmingham, and undoubtedly it will have made many more local people aware of the campaign to build the new ward.
Huge thanks to the Birmingham Rep for lending us the theatre for the night; and to all the staff who managed every detail of the show with such patience and efficiency, helping to make it such a huge success.
Above all, thanks to Michael Parkinson, who so generously offered to do the show in the first place.
Quiz at Roosters Restaurant, Palma Nova, Mallorca, 11 November
Ian Morrison, who used to be co-author with Matthew of The Sportspages Almanac, organized a quiz night for the fund at his local restaurant. It was a roaring success, with a record 20 teams competing. Altogether it raised just over 3,000 Euros – more than £2,000 – for the fund.
The winning teams were:
1st The Fum Duckers 56 points
2nd Monty & Mushtaq’s Harem 55 points
3rd The Chums 55 points
4th Dim, Dumb, Daft and Dopey 54 points
Many thanks to Ian and everyone concerned.
Derwent Valley Lunch, 1 November
The fund’s most lucrative event yet was organized at the Savoy Hotel, London, by the property company Derwent Valley plc. More than 450 guests attended a lunch and raised a staggering £285,000-plus towards the Birmingham unit.
Derwent Valley were already generous backers of Teenage Cancer Trust. But by coincidence Simon Silver, one of the company’s founders and directors, was a school friend of Matthew’s, and resolved to hold this event for Laurie’s fund.
The 41 other companies taking part included agents, architects, builders, designers, surveyors and lawyers, many of whom in conjunction with Derwent Valley have already donated their services and expertise in the creation of Teenage Cancer units.
The lunch was followed by a short film, made by David Raibin, which tells Laurie’s story and shows current patients explaining why the unit is needed.
This was followed by an unusual and ingenious auction. Guests were invited to bid, not against each other for objects, but to pledge donations towards various items needed to build the unit. It raised £37,000 in six minutes.
A surprise cheque was handed to Matthew and Hilary afterwards. It was a payment from Universal Studios, who wanted to use a Derwent Valley property as a location for the new Matt Damon movie, The Bourne Identity Ultimatum. Derwent Valley held out for a fee of £40,000 to be paid to Laurie’s fund.
It was an amazing occasion. Our profound gratitude goes to everyone involved – Simon, Paul, Derwent Valley managing director John Burns, chief organizer Dupe Odunsi and her team, auctioneer Richard Auterac, and all those who attended and gave so generously. Laurie would be very chuffed.
Among those present were Paul O’Connor, chief executive of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and Adam Johnson, manager of the oncology ward. They were chuffed too.
One object was auctioned at the Derwent Valley lunch: a cricket bat signed by the entire 2006 England Test squad, kindly donated to the fund by the England and Wales Cricket Board. It fetched (perhaps a record?) £5750.
AHMM, Adams Kara Taylor, James Andrew International, Arup, Aston Chase, Buro Four, Buro Happold, Cardales, Compco Holdings Ltd, Cundall, Cushman & Wakefield, Davenport Lyons , Davis Langdon, Peter Deer Associates, CB Richard Ellis, DTZ, Fineman Ross, Fletcher Priest, Simon Harris & Co, Harris & Trotter, Heron International, Hurford Salvi Carr, ISG Interior/Exterior, Jackson Coles, Jones Lang LaSalle, DE & J Levy, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, Macfarlanes, Norman Disney Young, ORMS. Pilcher Hershman & Partners, Prestbury Investment Holdings Ltd, Resolution Property plc, Savills, EA Shaw / HHY, John Sisk & Son, Speechly Bircham, Slaughter and May, Richard Susskind & Co, Taylor Wessing, Wordsearch
Athens Marathon, 5 November
David Owen, a former colleague of Matthew’s at the Financial Times, successfully completed the Athens Marathon. Here is his report:
“As temperatures on November 4 in Athens plunged towards freezing, I was starting to get worried. But conditions for the marathon the next morning turned out to be just about perfect, even if many of the approaching 3,000 runners put on bin liners to keep warm while awaiting the starting-gun at 8.30 sharp. So much for the glamour and romance of running the original marathon course. We must have looked like an aliens’ convention. Laurie would have seen the funny side.
“It was a surprisingly enjoyable experience and, although I took almost exactly twice as long as the race winner to cover the 26.2 miles, I could not believe how fast the time went. I had the odd sticky moment, as nearly everyone does in a race this long, but of course it’s self-inflicted and strictly nothing compared to what those we are raising money for have to go through. That thought, plus visions of having to ‘fess up to the less tactful among your colleagues and friends if you don’t stay the course, is what keeps you going. And then there are the sprightly pensioners who seem to plod past you with sobering regularity. If they can do this….
“The most beautiful part of any marathon is the finish. This is certainly the case in Athens where the finishing-line is in the marble Panathinaikon stadium, which staged the first modern Olympiad in 1896. And about four and a half hours after I started, that’s where I ended up, just missing the podium in something like 1900th position. Much more importantly, it looks like the generosity of my donors will raise between £4,000 and £5,000 for the Laurie Engel Fund.”
Congratulations, David, and many, many thanks. You can see photos of David running in the Marathon atwww.firstfotofactory.com. Select Athens Classic Marathon, and then insert his ‘Startnumber’ – 938.
Run a mile for Laurie
All the pupils at Tudor Grange School, Solihull, were challenged by Angus Neal, their Director of Sport, to run a sponsored mile for the Fund. He writes: ‘I have been delighted by the pupils’ eagerness to take part.. Indeed some pupils ran even further than a mile – as far as four and a half miles! Even wind and rain couldn’t dampen their spirits.’ Altogether an amazing £4061 was raised.
Ready, Steady, Cook
Laurie’s cousins Rachel and Clare Engel appeared in the show on October 5. They weren’t allowed to wear their Laurie Engel Fund T shirts, but they were able to give the Fund a good plug.
September 22, Bethesda, Maryland
September 22 was the first anniversary of Laurie’s death. We were quite overwhelmed that so many people remembered and sent us messages and flowers and cards. A group of Laurie’s friends and their parents gathered at ‘Larry’s Tree’, a dogwood which they planted last year in front of his old school, Westbrook Elementary. They lit candles, and read from Laurie’s book, and listened to Matty Groves, and reminisced about ‘the funniest guy in the Fifth Grade’.
Canon Hill Park Bike Ride, Birmingham
At the end of July in baking heat four pupils from King Edward’s Camp Hill School for Girls in Birmingham completed a two-hour sponsored bike ride around Canon Hill Park. Layla, Kate, Yasmin and Amy are former biology students of Susan Lloyd, Laurie’s aunt. Altogether they have raised about £200 for the fund. Well done, girls, and thank you to the parents who supervised.
Birmingham to Oxford Bike Ride, July 2
On a warm sunny morning seven lawyers who work for Warwickshire County Council set off from the outskirts of Birmingham and, despite minor hiccups such as dehydration, punctures and derailer malfunction, successfully completed their ride. They raised about £500 for the Fund. Many thanks to Barry Juckes and his colleagues.
Plant Sale, Birmingham, May 20
Susan and John Lloyd’s coffee morning plant sale was a huge success despite the weather, and raised an amazing amount for the Fund: £1100.
Sheffield Half Marathon, May 14
Martin Day and James Halse successfully completed the Sheffield Half Marathon, and raised over £500. James, running his first half marathon, finished in 1:41. Martin, who had been complaining of tired legs before the race, left James in a cloud of dust at the 9 mile mark and finished in 1:40. James and Martin would like to thank everyone for their support.
Bike Ride, Putney Bridge to Stratford-upon-Avon, May 6-7
Colin Chambers and Nigel Porter undertook this challenge and raised £1813.85 for the Fund.. Nigel writes: “Thanks to those of you who took an interest, this one was completed successfully.
“After a gruelling day on Saturday, rain, rain and more rain we finally made it to Woodstock. That’s after having lunch (which I didn’t have to pay for!) One disappointment: the Queen wasn’t in at Windsor, despite the fact we had asked for tea and cakes, never mind I’m sure there will be another occasion.
“Sunday went off to a bad start … the map was left in the pub from the night before, and within 10 minutes I had had a puncture. Clearly cycling without a map does prove difficult and I think this added a few miles to the journey, not at least a few more hills through Oxfordshire, yet we ended up in Stratford at 12.30 ish, and the fellow who I was cycling with, much worse for wear… looks like he popped his cartilage 15 miles from home (ouch)!!
“So in the end we completed 153 miles, and raised over £1200 for the Teenage Cancer Trust, and specifically for Hilary and Matthew Engel, whose son we were doing this for. Thanks again to you all. Nigel.”
Retired British Airways pilot Rob Jenkinson rowed 123 miles down the Thames from Lechlade to Teddington on behalf of the fund, raising £370. “I am not sure whether the rowing or the beer did the most damage,” he reported. Rob is also a tireless worker on behalf of the Sreepur Orphanage in Bangladesh, which was founded by British Airways staff.
Non-Uniform Day, King Edwards Camp Hill School, Birmingham, 28 April
Susan Lloyd, Laurie’s aunt, who is a science teacher, arranged for all the pupils at her school to pay £1 each to the Fund for the privilege of not wearing uniform for a day. Combined with other generous donations from parents this has produced nearly £900.
Chelsea Football Club raffle, 9 April 2006
Chelsea FC dedicated their regular charity raffle among corporate box-holders for the match against West Ham on 9 April to the fund. It raised £5,180, the biggest amount all season. “We are thrilled,” said Sheniz Osman of the club’s corporate affairs department. So are we.
Hastings Half Marathon, 12 March 2006
Lee Gallant and Clare Dunne ran their first half-marathons for Laurie’s fund and raised more than £2600 (with Gift Aid).
Sports Journalists’ Association, 28 February 2006
Matthew’s colleagues in the Sports Journalists’ Association dedicated the raffle at their annual awards night to Laurie’s fund. It raised £3,550.