St. Paul's Cathedral Concert June 2011
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Grandpa and my mum Lake Tahoe
         
Grandpa as a young man   Ian and Betty   Ian, Betty and my mum
Me, Grandpa, Jono   Grandpa and my mum   Christmas 2008 (like the long hair?!)
Grandpa's 80th Birthday   Grandpa 2009   Grandpa and Mum
         
         
         
               

May 29th 2011

Tom

My grandfather, my mum’s father, died last night.  It was not unexpected; he had been admitted to the wonderful Trinity Hospice in Clapham about two weeks ago and had slowly, but relatively peacefully, deteriorated, but it is still a shock to think that I will not be able to chat with him again.  I went up to the Hospice yesterday afternoon to say goodbye and sat in his room by his bed, just us two, and I held his hand.
 
My Dad wrote a piece about ‘holding hands’ for this website – it seems like such a long time ago but was actually only a few months – about how he held his mum’s hand on the day she was diagnosed as having leukaemia, and I realised, when holding my grandfather’s, what an important thing it is to do.  I doubt that he was aware of me, although I like to think that some part of him realised I was there, but the contact made things seem better somehow.  It brought back many good memories.

What made him a truly remarkable man was that he was always interested in what we had to say – or at least never showed that he was bored as I am sure he must have been as I told him for the third time just how brilliantly I had performed on the rugby pitch on one day or played the horn at a concert on another!  I am going to miss him.

As I left Trinity Hospice yesterday, my Mum told me how proud he was of me.  I did not tell her at the time that I know just how much more proud he was of her. Throughout my life, but especially these past few months, my Mum has been the most amazing and inspiring person. I have learnt so much from watching the love and care that she has put into making Grandpa’s last several months as comfortable as possible and she has shown me the person I should strive to be; I see also how much she is like Grandpa and realise that it is the way in which he lived his life and loved us all that will continue to inspire me, my brothers and future generations.

We will all really miss him; we are fortunate to have known and loved him, and he us.

 

 





 
St. Alban's Church, Holborn
         
St. Alban's Church, Holborn   St. Alban's Church, Holborn   St. Alban's Church, Holborn
Rehearsal begins   Rehearsal continues with Ian Stott accompanying on French Horn   Ben Parry discusses the score with the organist Matthew Martin
Martin Haskell 'Recording supremo'   Take one   Take forty-five!
Ben Parry and Matthew Dickinson on Percussion   Ben Parry and Matthew Dickinson on Percussion   It's a wrap!
         
         
               

May 26th 2011

James

I feel very honoured. I am Tom's Dad and he has asked me to write something about the recording of the anthem which took place last night, 25th May, as I was there and he could not be because he is right in the middle of his AS levels.

Let me say first of all that the 'Went the Day Well?' anthem that Ben Parry has written is quite beautiful and you are all going to love it. The Choristers were in wonderful voice and they were accompanied by Matthew Martin on organ (standing in at the last moment for Simon Johnson who was taken ill suddenly that morning - I hope that you have recovered now Simon); Ian Stott on French horn (Ian teaches Tom); and Matthew Dickinson on percussion (Matthew used to teach Jono when he was at St. Paul's School).

We all turned up at St. Alban's Church in Holborn, which is a beautiful building with lovely acoustics, at about 6pm to find that Martin Haskell, who was in charge of recording, had already set up all the microphones with his assistant Iestyn; I am sorry Iestyn, you are the one person who I seem to have missed taking a photograph of during the evening. The Choristers arrived at about 7pm and immediately started rehearsing. The first 'take' was at about 8pm. This was the first time that I had heard the anthem and I thought it quite wonderful; in fact, to my untrained ear it was a pretty faultless performance and I thought that we would all be out my 8.30. That shows you how much I know! About 45 'takes' later, by which time it was just past 9.30, Ben Parry, Andrew Carwood and Martin Haskell were happy. The Choristers were extremely professional throughout and seemed to enjoy the experience judging from the smiles on their faces in the photograph taken at the end of the session.

The master recording will hopefully be finalised in a couple of weeks time and the CDs can then be produced in good time for the Concert. Now all Tom has to do is get it played on Classic FM and he's away!

 

 





 
Gravestone in Orchard Dump Cemetry
         
Gravestone details   His Majesty's Regiments of Foot-Guards Memorial   His Majesty's Regiments of Foot-guards Memorial
The Cenotaph, Whitehall   The Cenotaph, Whitehall   The Cenotaph, Whitehall
         
         
               

May 21st 2011

Tom

Well, the exams have started at last. The first week of my AS levels is out of the way and I feel completely shattered. The good news is that all my exams will be finished by Friday next week and I can then devote more time to getting everything ready for the bike ride. I haven't even thought about all the spares and provisions that we are going to need, but there will be time to sort that out.....I hope!

This comng week is exciting for a reason other than the fact that my AS levels will be finished; the Choristers are going to be recording the anthem. I am so looking forward to hearing it with the accompanying organ, horn and percussion. It looks as if Harry, my brother, will be singing the solo part, which is wonderful news. The artwork for the CD and the jewel case is just about finished so we are really hoping that everything will be ready well before the concert. We will probably be making it available for download and I will let you know as soon as it is ready so you can listen to it yourselves.

We were e-mailed last week via our contact page by a chap called Simon Godly who wrote that he had come acoss our site whilst doing some research for his own WW1 website,which is well worth a look. He was working on the Orchard Dump Cemetery in Arleux-en-Gohelle, near Arras in France, where he had come across the grave of Lance Corporal A Francis, 1st Bn Queen's Own, who died on 9th May 1917 aged 22. If you look closely you will see that Lance Corporal Francis was actually killed on his birthday.The inscription on the gravesone is the verse 'Went the day well'. Simon very kindly sent me his photograph of this gravestone which I have put up here. He also sent me some further details including the fact that, according to Soldiers Died, there were eleven soldiers of the Battalion killed on that same day.

Thank you Simon.

Whilst on the subject of memorials I thought that I would include some photographs of some London war memorials that were taken during a cycle ride several weeks ago. The Cenotaph is well know to everyone and is in Whitehall; the memorial to His Majesty's Regiments of Foot-Guards is just by Horseguards Parade and is very striking.

Remember the concert on Wednesday the 29th June at St. Paul's Cathedral! Please come along and bring all your friends. We are really hoping for a great turnout.

 





 
Michael, Debbie and Margaret
         
Cake Sale   Cake Sale   Cake Sale
         
         
         
               

May 8th 2011

Tom

The Concert tickets are now on sale!

Click on the banner above and you will be taken directly to the Ticketweb site, then choose which type of tickets you want and buy as many as you want. If you can come to the reception beforehand in the Crypt please do so. The crypt will be looking wonderful and there will be wine and lovely canapes to eat before going upstairs to the best seats for the concert itself. We are obviously hoping that these tickets will sell fast so get in there quick before they are all gone. If you cannot make the reception, or do not manage to get one before they have all been sold, there are lots other tickets available ranging in price between £5 and £20 pounds.

Make it a great summer evening out; bring all your friends; listen to some wonderful music in one of the world's most famous cathedrals (if not the most famous); and then go out on the town afterwards at any one of several fantastic local restaurants.

See you there!

I cannot believe that I have not written about this before. A wonderful lady, Debbie, who is a Senior Sister at Hammersmith Hospital in London, arranged a coffee morning at the end of April especially to raise money for our Help for Heroes Fund. All the nursing and X-ray staff baked the most wonderful selection of cakes, some of which are shown in the photographs, and then opened the doors of the staff room. Word spread fast around the hospital and it soon became the 'place-to-be'. I am told that they managed to raise over £170 which is a phenomenal achievement. The picture at the top is of Debbie (in the middle) with Michael and Margaret who kept the whole morning running smoothly. Incidentally, do you see those chocolate brownies in the foreground of the bottom right picture? My brothers, Harry and Alastair, made those. I am told that they were a particular favourite of everyones; but they would say that would'nt they?

Thank you so much!

 





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