2018: Waterfall House
After 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.
Staff at the hospital are thrilled with the new building, which offers hugely improved conditions for patients and their families, and brings together the latest medical and architectural expertise from other hospitals around the world. Waterfall House will be officially opened later this year: but when we went for an informal tour in September we were delighted to see that on the ‘thank you board’ in the lobby The Laurie Engel Fund gets a prominent mention.
Youth 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 England
Mark 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.