A concert took place at St Ambrose church, Speke, Liverpool on 26th July 2013. The event celebrated the 60th Anniversary of St Ambrose Parish and was organised by Mersey Wave Music with the support of St Ambrose and St Christopher’s Parish Priest Fr Ed Cain and the parishioners in Speke. The Lord Mayor of Hale, Freeman Brian Hargreaves was in attendance and the evening included beautiful performances from the ladies and gentlemen of the Mersey Wave Choirs under the direction of Jason Ellis and also from Owen Roberts on the piano.
I was thrilled to perform at the concert and to sing with the choir. We invited the audience to ‘sing-a-long’ during the second half and they raised the roof on the beautiful Grade II listed building. (…and it’s a very high roof!!)
Funds raised from the evening supported the Speke Catholic Youth fund and future Mersey Wave Music events.
Mersey Wave Music is a non-profit Community Arts Outreach based in Liverpool. Providing Live music performance, education and development opportunities for our local music groups and individuals. Creating music making opportunities and championing the work of performers who share a common vision for the benefit of the local community and the surrounding areas.
There was a wonderful atmosphere throughout – with thanks to everyone that contributed and supported the event.
I loved it and can’t wait to sing at the Mersey Wave Christmas Concert which takes place on Friday 6th December 2013 at St Ambrose Church.
Visit to Willowbrook: Ian Turnbull Volunteer Co-ordinator, Lady Kirsty Pilkinton, Chairman and Neil Wright, Chief Executive of Willowbrook Hospice.
I had been invited by Ian Turnbull, Volunteer Co-ordinator at Willowbrook, to visit the Hospice a month or so before the service and was very kindly given a tour of the facilities by Ian and Lady Kirsty Pilkinton (Chairman of the Council of Management). I learned a great deal about the beginnings of the Hospice and heard first-hand from some of the patients and their relatives how highly they value the staff and the care they receive – a loving testimony of the wonderful work that Willowbrook does. It was also kind of Chief Executive Neil Wright to take the time to meet with me too and a pleasure to chat to some of the staff and volunteers along the way.
Willowbrook is a place with an uplifting and warm atmosphere. It was heartening to hear of the plans for the future of Willowbrook and to see how far they have already come with new facilities; there are lovely new treatment rooms and outpatient facilities and a beautiful new relaxing Japanese garden. It is clear that in years to come the Hospice wishes to maintain and develop futher the excellent standard of care they are providing – and to extend their facilities and expertise to care for more patients within the hospice and home environment. None of this can been achieved without fundraising and the support of all of the people who have been a part of Willowbrook.
It was a great privilege for me to be invited to attend their 15th Anniversary celebrations at the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral on Saturday 14th July 2012. Here are some recollections of an inspiring and moving service:-
Lady Kirsty Pilkinton, who played a pivotal role in helping to raise the money to build the Hospice, shared her memories of the beginnings of Willowbrook. Initially £1.8m was needed, through fundraising to set up the Hospice and after reaching the £1m mark construction of the facilities began on 18th Feb 1995. In 1997 the first patients received their care and Willowbrook was officially named and opened by Princess Alexandra in 1999.
Nicola Saunders (Fundraising and Marketing) lead at the Hospice spoke of how each year £2.8m is needed to provide the Hospice service; Not only to care for patients, but in order that the hospice can ‘survive and grow.’ She mentioned how inspired she is through getting to know the patients, families and volunteers, and said that the hospice is ‘owned by the community that support it. ‘Through fundraising we can dare to dream – you, the people that support us are priceless’
Rita Plunkett (a past volunteer) has served the Hospice for 20 years and mentioned how proud she was to be associated with it. She set up a community action group to support the Willowbrook community and remembered the first fundraising shop they opened in Westfield Street. Rita paid tribute to Lady Pilkinton for her ‘undivided attention and total commitment’ to Willowbrook’.
Peter Edge (a current volunteer) provides transport for the Hospice – from driving patients to and from treatments and day care, to pharmacy duties and transporting Doctors. He indicated how his passion to help vulnerable people drove him to Volunteer at Willowbrook saying he has the ‘time, resources and physical and mental capacity to give.’ He commented on how humbling and personally satisfying it is to witness the ‘courage, care and compassion and to be a part of something that special is in itself very special.’
John Ellis (carer) gave heartfelt thanks for the care his family member had received at the Hospice. He recalled the fear and uncertainty at the time of diagnosis and initial treatments. It was on referral to Willowbrook that John and his family found ‘Support and friendship – a welcoming place for all the family.’ – ‘Never a hospital statistic but a welcome guest.’
Martyn Lewis, Vice President of Help the Hospices, recalled the ‘spirit and atmosphere’ 15 years ago at the opening of Willowbrook. He encouraged people to get involved with supporting the Hospice and highlighted that no one can be certain that they or their families won’t one day benefit from the care of a Hospice. Martyn said that “Willowbrook has played a major role in a remarkable hospice movement, and that it has been on an “Inspiring Journey of Achievement” He said “Willowbrook is your baby – it is there because you were there when it needed you the most.” He expressed that the gift of hospice services is the ‘fountain of goodness that enriches the community with caring and commitment.’
Dr Athony Thompson, Assistant Medical Director, praised the teamwork at Willowbrook from the “Housekeeping staff down to the Doctors!” He also provided a wonderful context of statistics of how many patients, day-care, outpatients, families, loved ones, friends, staff, volunteers, palliative care and students have been involved with and benefited from Willowbrook.
Lucy Scriven (Holistic Thearapy Lead) has worked at Willowbrook for 9 years and spoke of the creative complimentary therapy and wellbeing care patients receive. Lucy read a beautiful poem by a Willowbrook patient, Jane Evans called “Marks we make” and described the time she spends with patients exploring their thoughts and feeling. At the service a beautiful Willowbrook banner (Pictured) was displayed which represented the voices of the patients who were asked to give one word about positive aspects of the care they are receiving care. The banner represents the history and future legacy of Willowbrook and includes words such as hope, love, courage, support, positivity, family, happiness, acceptance.
It was a great pleasure to sing Schubert’s Ave Maria and Rutter’s Deep Peace during the service and to also hear musical contributions from the choir of De La Salle School, the Irish Guard Singers and Richard Lea.
It was a wonderful service of celebration.
If you would like to learn more about Willowbrook click here.
Alternatively there are many ways you can support or make a donation to Willowbrook which can be found here.
Shared by Martyn Lewis… By Pablo Neruda: When I die I want your hands on my eyes: I want the light and the wheat of your beloved hands to pass their freshness over me one more time to feel the smoothness that changed my destiny. I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep, I want for your ears to go on hearing the wind, for you to smell the sea that we loved together and for you to go on walking the sand where we walked. I want for what I love to go on living and as for you I loved you and sang you above everything, for that, go on flowering, flowery one, so that you reach all that my love orders for you, so that my shadow passes through your hair, so that they know by this the reason for my song.
On 4th February 2012 I performed as part of a concert to mark St Joseph’s Hospice’s 50th anniversary celebrations at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. As always, it was a privilege to perform at home in Liverpool with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and choir and lovely to be a part of an event for such a good cause.
Author and screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce presented the evening and Professor Ian Tracey conducted. The programme included Verdi’s Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves, Handel’s Zadok the Priest and Halleluiah Chorus, concluding in a Last Night of the Proms-style finale. The event raised in excess of £12,000 for the Hospice and the monies will go towards Jospice’s work in caring for Merseyside people with terminal and life- limiting illnesses.
Pat Murphy, Ashley Holland, Danielle Louise Thomas, Kathryn Rudge, Monica McGhee and Paul Charles Clarke at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. Image Courtesy of Jospice
Click here to read the Crosby Herald article
In 1974 the UK Jospice opened in Thornton, near Crosby. Founded by Father Francis O’Leary, a missionary priest, St Joseph’s Hospice (Jospice) originally began in South America and Pakistan in the 1960’s.
Jospice provides care and support to terminally ill people and their families from within the Liverpool and Sefton areas. The hospice can care for 25 people at one time providing high quality end of life care in an out of a hospital situation. Jospice has also continued its work overseas and has hospices in Honduras, Guatemala, Peru and Ecuador and is also linked to hospices in many parts of South America, India and Pakistan which still bear the Jospice name.
Jospice is partially funded by the NHS, fundraising is a vital part of the work they do. There are many more fundraising events taking place throughout 2012 in aid of Jospice – if you would like to support them and get involved you can find more information here .
It was a really special night to come together with people to whom Clatterbridge Cancer Research means so much and to celebrate the work they do.
“Clatterbridge Cancer Research works to fund research to advance the understanding of cancer for the people of Merseyside and Cheshire. …our research laboratories based in Liverpool focus on how to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, as well as understanding how to provide the most effective on-going care for cancer patients.”
Clatterbridge Cancer Research - Donate
Over the past 31 years Clatterbridge Cancer Research has invested more than £20 million into cancer research – but they can’t continue to do this without support. Clatterbridge Cancer Research is an independent charity which receives no NHS funding and relies solely upon public donations to survive.
“We need to raise in excess of £2 million every year to continue with our vital research – that is nearly £5,500 every day. Visit our donate page to find out how you can support us today, or find out about all the ways you can get involved in supported cancer research in your region.”
It was lovely to perform with Daniel Bishop – Associate Organist at the cathedral. I had performed on many previous occasions with Daniel at the Cathedral whilst at school at Liverpool College
and to be back in the setting of the magnificent Liverpool Cathedral
was a really special moment.
Interesting facts about the Liverpool cathedral…
- The Cathedral is the largest in the whole of the UK and the fifth largest in the world (I can’t begin to imagine how big the biggest is!) It’s bells are the highest and have the heaviest peal in the world.
- There are two pipe organs in Liverpool Cathedral – The Grand Organ is the largest in the UK and is considered to be one of the largest operational church organs in the world with 10,267 pipes.
- The Cathedral is considered to have 2 out of 3 of the most powerful stops in the world. The Trompette Millitaire and the Tuba Magna on the Great Organ operate on 50” of wind pressure and are each as loud as an entire organ played on their own. The sound of the stops is aided by generous 8-9 second reverberation in the Cathedral.
- The setting was magical and what a magnificent space to sing in! I found another concert Christmas tree…and it was huge! (a 50ft. tree from Grizedale Forest in Cumbria!). They also had a huge wreath (weighing 25kg.) on the Great Western door of the Cathedral.
It was a pleasure to be involved in the evening and the people from Clatterbridge Cancer Research were lovely to work with and truly inspiring in their dedication to raising awareness and funds for their continued research for Cancer patients.
A wonderful way to mark the start of the 2011 Christmas celebrations.
Merry Christmas Everyone!
“Clatterbridge your cancer centre’ raises funds to directly benefit the patients of Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology, the leading cancer treatment centre for people in Merseyside, Cheshire, Lancashire & the Isle of Man. They are dedicated to delivering excellence and always striving to improve what they do, creating a positive environment, providing vital research and the best possible care and support to around 26,000 patients each year and their families. They do this for their Centre in Wirral, their network of chemotherapy treatment clinics across the region, and their brand new radiotherapy centre in Liverpool.”
On Friday 15th July I performed a recital with pianist Jason Ellis for The Melling Tithebarn Arts Association which is a charitable organisation based in Melling, Merseyside.
Their aim is “to foster understanding and appreciation of the arts among people residing in Melling and surrounding areas by the promotion of musical or dramatic events or other performances or exhibitions”Melling Tithebarn Arts Association
The recital programme included piano pieces written by Chopin, Schubert and a spectacular performance of the Horowitz Carmen Variations along with songs by Brahms, Tosti and Rogers and Hart.