Even though the new unit at Birmingham Children’s Hospital has now opened, the fund-raising goes on. We want to help TCT move quickly on to the other eight units needed elsewhere across the UK – and ensure Birmingham's facilities remain every bit as good as they are now. Here are just some of the amazing things that have happened recently.

 A giant cheque from the City The worldwide investment company Threadneedle has presented Laurie’s fund with an extremely generous cheque for £4,000. 

Simon Davies, chief executive of Teenage Cancer Trust, was there to receive it at the company’s City office from Threadneedle’s chief investment officer, Mark Burgess.

David Dudding, a Threadneedle fund manager, has been a major supporter of Laurie’s fund, most recently donating the proceeds of his birthday cricket day at Wormsley (see below); and the company promised to follow his lead.


 Cricket Day at Wormsley David Dudding, already a generous supporter of the fund, celebrated his fortieth birthday in July with a cricket day at the beautiful Wormsley estate in the Chilterns. 

He asked all his friends not to give him presents, but to make donations instead.  David, who is a fund manager at Threadneedle, loves cricket, and learned about Laurie because he was a follower of Matthew's writing in The Guardian. 

The day was a huge success, with lots of families enjoying a delicious lunch and traditional tea, a children's entertainer, and even, despite heavy rain in the morning, two games of cricket in the afternoon.  An auction of goodies including signed football shirts and cricket bats – one donated to the fund by the ECB had been signed by the Ashes-winning England team – raised £5000; and a stream of contributions on our Justgiving page made by David's friends and family has already raised another £5000.

Many, many thanks to David and his wife Catharine for organising this wonderful occasion. Photography by Catherine Monfils at Catmon Photography.

 They did it! Mark Williams and Harry Saville, old school friends of Laurie's, completed a fantastic 1554-mile bike ride in aid of the fund.

They rode right across France and Spain, from Normandy to Tarifa on the southern Spanish coast, in just 23 days. 

They made rapid progress through France, though Spain proved a bit more problematic, what with the mountains and the intense heat which forced them to ride in darkness. 

They reported their daily progress on Twitter at LaurieEngelBikeRide; and we were alarmed to read on 22 July, only a day away from their destination, that Harry had had an accident, falling off his bike when dazzled by a car's headlights on a winding mountain road. However, with 14 stitches well bandaged, he was undaunted, and able miraculously to finish the course with Mark the next day.

Mark and Harry exceeded their £2000 target, and have now raised more than £3500. If you would like to sponsor them, please click here.

Many congratulations to them both for this amazing achievement.  They made it sound so easy: but it was a terrific challenge, and they succeeded brilliantly.

 RIBA award  We were thrilled to hear that the TCT unit in Birmingham, designed by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, has received one of the prestigious annual awards from RIBA, the Royal Institute of British Architects.  The judges said of the unit:

The Teenage Cancer Trust ward is inspirational.  This is a wonderful building that provides young people in harrowing circumstances with peace, calm and respite.  It’s a truly inspiring achievement.

This is a single storey lightweight structure perched over A& E and the fracture clinic. It is situated in a busy and chaotic part of Birmingham, cut off by roads and surrounded by hospital buildings with different dates, styles and looks all embracing one other. The design has achieved an oasis of peace and calm while still meeting the very specific and stringent requirements set by the NHS. The attention to details and to colours is quite remarkable. The entry corridor with free forms carved out of the thick internal wall to one side is witty and enjoyable and makes for a pleasant approach to the unit.


2011 Laurie Engel Football Tournament The rain stopped, the sun came out, and around 30 youngsters turned up for this annual event in the Golden Valley. May 28 should have been Laurie's 19th birthday; but we were delighted that it was marked in this way. 

The numbers this year were swelled by a contingent from the Eways Harold 1246 Air Cadets, led by Flight Captain Mark Price.  Steve and Bonnie Herington refereed the matches, with Keith Harman keeping score.  Gareth Jones cooked his usual delicious barbecue; and the raffle prizes included generous gifts from local enterprises including the Kilpeck Inn, Rowlestone Farmhouse ice cream, and the Hay Festival. 

Matthew said a few words and presented the medals (donated by Mountain Mayhem); and Mark Williams came along to talk about his prospective trans-Europe bike ride for the fund.

GOLF DAY AND NAIL PAINTING AT ROSS-ON-WYE Fifty players took part in a golf day organised by Mike Donoghue, the Head of PE at John Kyrle High School, Ross-on-Wye, on April 30.  The event was held in memory of Matthew Beddard, who died of cancer at the age of 13 in the same year as Laurie.  Many of Matthew's friends came along to play and buy raffle tickets, and £370 was raised on the day.

Caroline Ward from Ross Health & Fitness, a great friend of the Beddard family, organised a toe nail painting day at the gym on June 18, with nail art provided by Abi Beddard, Matthew's sister, and her friends. Great fun was had by all participants, and £417.50 was raised. 

Many many thanks to the Beddard family, and all concerned with both of these events.

Paul and Polly’s wedding When our friends Paul Coupar and Polly Hennessy got married in July they very generously asked their guests not to give them presents but instead to make donations to Laurie’s fund.  We are extremely grateful for the £1500 they raised.

Paul said they did it partly to avoid getting eight toasters: but this is not his first contribution to the fund.  In 2007 he and his colleague at Wisden, Hugh Chevallier, did a 150-mile sponsored walk all the way from their office in Hampshire to our home in Herefordshire.

Many thanks, Paul and Polly.


Nail painting day This was a first for the Fund.  In June we received a donation of more than £400 from the Beddard family of Ross-on-Wye, raised by a nail painting day at their local gym.  Mel Beddard tells us: ‘Caroline Ward, who runs the gym, organised it and we all had a fabulous day.  Lots of our friends made cakes and gave donations of raffle prizes and Abi and her friends did the nail art.  It was a great success.’

This is the latest of many fund-raising efforts by the Beddards, whose son Matthew died of cancer aged 13 in the same year as Laurie.  Thank you very much to all concerned.


2010 Laurie Engel Football Tournament The fifth Laurie Engel Football Tournament was held on May 29 2010 to mark what should have been Laurie’s 18th birthday.  Despite on-and-off rain there was an excellent turnout – around 35 players between the ages of 8 and 17 competed in a fierce but friendly manner for the Laurie Engel Trophy.

All the delicious burgers and hot dogs cooked on Gareth Jones’ barbecue disappeared by the end, along with hundreds of cups of tea brewed up by Joy.

This year’s raffle prizes included a sumptuous hamper donated by Fodder’s of Hereford, a handsome toy farm made by our former postman, Denzil Lloyd, and vouchers generously given by Shepherds Ice Cream Parlour and Mailes the Butchers.

Many many thanks to Steve, Gareth and Joy for organizing the whole thing, to Andy Manning and his son Richie for refereeing, and to Mountain Mayhem for the medals.  Also to Carol Bush and Jo Denyer for raffle prizes, and to Ellie Gilbert-Smith and Robert Jones for selling raffle tickets. Nearly £400 was raised for Laurie’s fund.

It means a huge amount to us that our friends and neighbours in the Golden Valley continue to remember Laurie in this very fitting way, as he loved nothing more than playing football with his mates.

Matthew presenting medals to the winning team –  Ellie Bush, Robert Jones, Jake Harman, Fraser Brymer and Billy Lewis

Denzil Lloyd and the toy farm, with his wife Joyce and daughter Brenda

 Derwent London Lunch, May 14 More than 400 guests gathered at the Intercontinental Hotel on May 14 to attend the second fund-raising lunch organised by Derwent London for Laurie’s fund.

Derwent has for a long time been an important supporter of Teenage Cancer Trust.  One of the company’s founders, Simon Silver, was by coincidence at school with Matthew at Carmel College.

After Laurie died Simon and his colleagues organised the first of their lunches for his fund, in November 2006, which raised a huge sum.

The other companies taking part this year, listed below, included agents, architects, builders, designers, surveyors and lawyers, many of whom have donated their expertise in the construction of TCT units around the country. 

Among the guests were Dr Dave Hobin, oncology consultant at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Beryl Wood, capital projects manager at the hospital, and Lorraine Beddard, lead nurse on the TCT unit. 

Derwent had commissioned David Goodale to make a film about the Birmingham TCT unit, as a tribute not only to Laurie but also to David Raibin, who made a film for the 2006 lunch, and who has since sadly died of cancer.

Vika with the cricket bat

After the film Matthew spoke briefly about Laurie, and all that has happened in the four and a half years since his death.

There was a raffle, and just one item was auctioned – a cricket bat donated by the ECB, signed by all the members of the England Ashes-winning team – which sold for over £1500.

Altogether the event raised, astonishingly, more than £130,000, so that by way of an eighteenth birthday present to Laurie it took the Fund well over the £1 million mark.

We are extremely grateful to Simon Silver and Paul Williams, Derwent managing director John Burns, and to Dupe Odunsi and her team, who put such a huge effort into making this event a great success.

Matthew speaking at the Derwent lunch


Adams Kara Taylor
Berwin Leighton Paisner
Brunswick Group
Buro Four
CB Richard Ellis

Cushman & Wakefield
Davis Langdon
Dron & Wright
Fletcher Priest
Harris & Trotter
Heron Property Corporation Ltd
Jackson Coles
James Andrew International
Jones Lang LaSalle
Laing O’Rourke
Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands
Norman Disney and Young
Richard Susskind & Co
Slaughter and May
Speechly Bircham
Strutt & Parker

 Duke’s Farm holidays Our friends Ruth and Ken Watkins have made an extremely generous gesture.  They have three holiday cottages in newly-converted barns on their farm, and are donating to the fund a percentage of income from holidays booked at certain times (see www.dukesfarm.co.uk).  Dukes Farm and the Watkins family used to be a home from home for Laurie, and we are very touched that they are supporting the fund in this way.

 Brighton Marathon Tom Gavin (right) wrote to us out of the blue to say that he had ‘cried like a girl’ when he read Matthew’s recent article about Laurie.  Then he decided to do something very brave: to run his first marathon for the fund.  He completed the race successfully in April and raised £1000. Well done, Tom, and many thanks.

 Cheque for £10,000 Another donor who wishes to be anonymous, a total stranger, came to our door one Sunday morning and wrote us a cheque for £10,000.  He is a keen sportsman – a lifelong cricketer – who was familiar with Matthew’s writing; and having read about Laurie in the local paper he said he sounded like a wonderful boy.  As he has no children of his own, he wanted this money to go to the fund.

 Steiff bears A donor who wishes to remain anonymous has given us three brand-new Steiff teddy bears – the Rolls Royce of bears – which are collectors’ items. There's a limited edition Golden Anniversary Paddington, a Rupert Classic, and a limited edition 'Dolly' bear, one of the 'Little Giants' series. We are planning to auction them, and are looking now for the best opportunity to do this – but feel free to make us an offer.

 Herefordshire oak tables We thought it would be nice to have some Herefordshire oak in the unit, and Ken Watkins kindly agreed to make some tables.  There are two high ones that can be used as mobile desks, and two low ones to be used for food, drink or laptops in the seating area.  They are very beautiful, and much appreciated. (Photo by Chris Gascoigne)

 Library Laurie needed to read a lot when he was having treatment, and so we have set up a library in the unit.  Over 100 ‘teenage’ books have been given by various old friends of ours in publishing – at Macmillan, HarperCollins, Bloomsbury, Simon & Schuster and Penguin.  Ken built a handsome bookcase to house them.  Staff, patients and parents are extremely grateful.





Monkeys Uncle

Orleton’s got the X Factor A fantastic evening’s entertainment was put on in Orleton, near Leominster,  by Ivan Miletitch and Bev Jenkins.  The first half was a talent show, with musicians of all ages and styles, ranging from folk to heavy rock, and from Elvis to Flanders and Swann.  The local amateur dramatic society, OGGLE, which sponsored the event, had set up impressive sound and lighting systems; and there was a serious panel of judges, and even a clapometer, to help select the winners.

Two local bands, Roving Crows and Monkey’s Uncle, were guests for the second half.  The profits donated to Laurie’s fund amounted to more than £400.  Congratulations to the winner, guitarist Joe Vowles, and many many thanks to Ivan, Bev, MC Paul O’Neill and everyone who played a part.

Joe Vowles, X-Factor winner

Roving Crows

The Cwmbach Quire The Cwmbach Quire, specialising in West Gallery, Shape Note and other "rumbustuous and rustic" types of unaccompanied singing, made a reputation for itself far beyond the boundaries of Herefordshire.  One of its twelve members, Mark Ewins, is a teacher at Fairfield High School, where he taught Laurie ; and over the past four years the Quire has raised money for Laurie’s fund at numerous events.  We were enchanted by their performance at Dulas Court at Christmas 2008.

The Quire has now disbanded –  several of its members are performing as The Village Quire instead – and Mark presented us with a cheque for nearly £800 for the fund.

Back to School Week at M and M Direct The internet clothing company, M and M Direct, based in Leominster, which has a long-standing relationship with Teenage Cancer Trust, recently organised a week of fund-raising for Laurie's fund among its 2000 employees.  The theme was 'Back to School', and many members of staff gallantly turned up for work in school uniform.  School dinners were also provided, and there was a raffle with handsome prizes provided by local firms. 

Two particularly brave colleagues, Jaimie Phillips from the finance department and Louise Matthews from the call centre, even made a sky dive.  Louise said afterwards: 'It was nerve-wracking, exhilarating and very, very fast!'

Altogether the week's activities raised a fantastic £3,117.80 for Laurie's fund.  Many many thanks to all concerned, and especially to Anna Roby-Welford for organizing the campaign.


Brimfield's Got Talent, July 2009 For the third successive year, Zoe Collett, now a student at Hereford Sixth Form College, organised a talent show in her village in north Herefordshire, Brimfield. She was assisted as before by her mother, Sue, grandmother, Carol, and sisters Zara and Zita, as well as many neighbours and friends. This year for the first time Matthew was delighted to be able to attend the show, and say a few words about Laurie and the fund.

As well as these summer shows, Zoe has also taken to arranging gigs for young bands in Hereford, together with her fellow student Rob Smith. She has now handed over a grand total of nearly £1200 to Laurie’s fund from all her enterprises this year.

Well done, Zoe, and thank you to everyone who took part.

At the end of May Morgan Lloyd, son of our good friends Sonia and Richard, celebrated his 21st birthday in Ewyas Harold Memorial Hall.  He and his partner Natasha asked their guests to make donations to Laurie’s fund instead of bringing presents.  Thanks to everyone’s generosity a total of £370 was raised.  Many thanks, Morgan and Natasha, for this very kind gesture.

2009 Laurie Engel Football Tournament The fourth Laurie Engel Football Tournament was held at Michaelchurch Escley on Saturday 23 May to mark what should have been Laurie’s 17th birthday on the 28th.  The event has become a popular fixture in the local calendar; and we are touched that so many people, young and old, come along to remember Laurie in this way.  Playing football with his friends at the Escleyside Youth Club was one of Laurie’s favourite things in the world.

It was a beautifully sunny day, and more than 40 players between the ages of 8 and 17 took part, including many of Laurie’s old school friends. As always the matches between the mixed-age teams were played in an intensely competitive but friendly spirit.

Gareth Jones as ever organised the whole event, and ran the barbecue, and Joy provided non-stop teas.  Burgers were kindly donated by the Gwatkins at Abbey Dore Farm Shop, sausages by Mailes the butchers and rolls by Greggs the bakers.  Steve Herington did the maths, putting balanced teams together and keeping score; and Andy Manning refereed.  Alan McCardle prepared the pitch, and Mountain Mayhem donated the medals.

A wonderful array of raffle prizes was donated by: Fodder of Hereford; the Bridge Inn, Michaelchurch, the Crown Inn, Longtown, Frasers Farm Shop, Shepherds Ice Cream, Dore Valley Chocolates, Tesco, Bookers, Seven Stars Guest House, Hay, Andy and Carol Manning, Phil Stewart, Helen Wood-Cole, Carol Bush, Maggie Papas and Malcolm Lewis.  Special thanks to Ellie Gilbert-Smith and Robert Jones for selling a record number of raffle tickets.

Altogether the tournament raised £500 for Laurie’s fund.  Many, many thanks to organisers, players and sponsors for making it such a fantastic success.

Vika's swim Laurie’s ten year-old sister Vika swam 50 lengths of the main swimming pool in Hereford on Sunday March 22 and raised more than £1000. It took her 40 minutes and she would probably have gone on to swim 100 if we hadn’t taken pity on her sponsors and hauled her out.  It was all her idea and she did brilliantly. If you would like to sponsor Vika retrospectively, please donate via our JustGiving page here.

Before – Vika with her friends Erica Coady (left), champion swimmer and fundraiser Otto Putland and his sister Nicky

After – Vika triumphant


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


Bruce Cardswell

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 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.

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.

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.

William and Angela Chadwick, Hilary Engel and Sophie Arnaud

Fiona and George Chandler, hosts

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

Some of the guests

Gala Comedy Evening A 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 13-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.

Max, 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.

Max'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.

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

2008 Laurie Engel Football Tournament 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.

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

Some of the players at the end of the day.

The winning team receives the cup.



Otto's Challenge Otto Putland presented us with a cheque for £12,000, raised by swimming clubs around the country who have responded to his Otto’s Challenge.  He has now raised £26,000 altogether, and has kept his initial promise to fund-raise for at least 17 months – the length of time that Laurie was having treatment.  The Amateur Swimming Association has presented Otto with a “Swimtastic” award for outstanding achievement in the sport, and BBC Midlands Today ran another interview with him to mark this occasion. 

Otto Putland and his family

Brimfield’s Got Talent Zoe Collett is 15 and lives in Brimfield, a small village in north Herefordshire.  She learned about Teenage Cancer Trust through a talk that was given at her school, Wigmore High School, and was so shocked to hear about the number of teenagers diagnosed with cancer – six every day in the UK – that she made up her mind to do something.

In the space of three weeks she organized a concert, called Brimfield’s Got Talent, in the village hall.  It was a variety show, with 20 or so of Zoe’s friends and neighbours singing, dancing and doing comedy routines.  At the end of the show Zoe spoke about TCT and appealed for generous donations, and then she and others performed ‘One Voice’. 

Zoe has given the proceeds from the show - £1601.20 – to Laurie’s fund.  An amazing achievement.  We are hugely impressed by what Zoe did, and very grateful.

Zoe Collett (centre)

Great South Run Monique Horne and Vicky Withers from Hereford, who read about Laurie in the Hereford Times and then read Matthew’s article in the Guardian, ran the Great South Run in Portsmouth for Laurie’s fund.  Despite horrible wet windy weather they completed the 10-mile course in 1 hour 38 minutes, and raised £450 for the fund. Congratulations to both for a wonderful achievement.

Monique and Vicky, damp in Portsmouth

Hay Festival 2007 Thanks to Laurie’s Fairfield High School friends who came along to shake collecting buckets after John Major’s appearance at the Festival.  (Matthew was in the chair.)  Nearly £500 was raised.  Matthew’s own session, when he spoke about Extracts from the Red Notebooks, with the help of Christopher Douglas who expertly read the quotes, was very well attended, and we are grateful to Peter Florence, Festival director, for agreeing to donate all proceeds to the fund.

Laurie Engel Football Tournament, Michaelchurch Escley, 26 May For the second year running the Escley Youth Club organized a five-a-side tournament for the Laurie Engel Trophy.  More than forty of Laurie’s schoolfriends aged between 8 and 15 came along to take part, Steve Herington miraculously worked out the teams, Andy Manning refereed all 15 matches, Gareth Jones cooked the delicious barbecue and presided over the raffle, and Joy Jones served non-stop teas.  The kids played their hearts out, and Matthew presented medals to the winning teams, kindly donated by the Starkey family.  Thanks to everyone who helped to make the tournament a success, including Tim and Helen Wood-Cole, to those who donated prizes and to local firms Mailes and Gwatkins who donated food for the barbecue.  The amount raised was nearly £300, and as Matthew said it was the most appropriate birthday tribute to Laurie, who loved nothing more than playing football with his mates.

The Wisden Walk, May 19-28 Many many congratulations and thanks to Hugh Chevallier and Paul Coupar, Matthew’s colleagues at Wisden who set themselves the challenge of walking from their office in Hampshire to the Engels’ home in Herefordshire, arriving on 28 May.  Here is Hugh’s account of their journey:

We did it. We walked 150 miles from Hampshire to Herefordshire, from one Wisden office to another, in ten days. And we loved every single step of the way. OK, that last sentence is an exaggeration, but not much. We loved almost every step of the way, and especially the last ones down the drive to Fair Oak, our Herefordshire destination. There, on a glorious afternoon, we were greeted by Tony Engel, Laurie’s uncle, bearing a bottle of champagne and two glasses. It was a happy moment, though sad, too. It was Laurie’s 15th birthday. Or should have been.

To begin at the traditional British beginning, the weather was, well, traditionally British, with a bit of everything bar snow and ice. (Actually, I thought I detected a flake or two of sleet in the bitter northerly that drowned us the entire second Sunday, our ninth day.) Still, the bath that gently restored sensation to my extremities at the end of those 16 cold, wet miles was the best bath that anyone, anywhere, has ever had. And much of the rest of the time, the sun shone from a perfect spring sky.

But better even than that blissful bath or seductive sunshine was the unstinting hospitality, generosity and welcome that we received throughout the 150 miles. Other personal highlights that didn’t involve pubs included lapwings high on the Ridgeway in Wiltshire, a near-uninhabited Cotswold valley near Painswick that glowed gold in the evening light – and the company of family and friends along the way.

For the first few days, it was impossible to believe that this was the frantic, overpopulated, overtarmacked, overcommercial South-East. Until we reached Gloucester on Day 7, we had passed more donkeys (four) than shops (three). In fact, the metropolis of Gloucester was a godsend. By then I had discovered that my expensive Berghaus was as waterproof as a teabag, if not quite as useful, while Paul’s throbbing feet caused him to ditch his boots in favour of some high-tech trainers.

Newly kitted out, we somehow coped with the biblical rains that lay ahead. And because we did actually finish, we could safely haul in the promised money. To our amazement – and thanks to the kindness of so many – it looks as though we shall have raised over £7,500. Thank you so very much.


Thanks also to everyone who joined Hugh and Paul along the way.  On the 28th, despite the terrible weather of the day before, some 40 supporters of all ages turned out to walk the Herefordshire Trail from Kilpeck, over Garway Hill and then via Kentchurch to Ewyas Harold Common and Fair Oak.  The sun came out and the Herefordshire landscape was at its loveliest. Many more supporters came along to greet the walkers at the end of the day, to eat and drink a birthday toast to Laurie.

Some of the birthday walkers on top of Garway Hill, including the youngest of all, Jonah Laurie Halse, aged 4 months.

The Big Pink Gig at Clyro Church, 21 April 2007 This was the second successful Big Pink Charity Concert to be held at Clyro Church, and the venue was fit to bust on Saturday 21 April when local music-makers The Cwmbach Quintet, the Cwmbach Quire, Tom Betham and Village Voices got together for an evening’s entertainment and fund-raising.  Half the proceeds of the event (just over £500) went to the Laurie Engel Fund.  Thanks to all involved for an evening that Big Pink supporters will remember for a long time to come.


Racecourse Run 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.

Before and after ...

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.

Pool League 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.

Laurie's sister Vika with the victorious Hylton team

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.

Midway through the progressive supper evening

Coffee morning, Longtown WI, April 2006 The WI's coffee morning included raffles, cakes and a bookstall; it made £500 for the Fund.

Matthew at the Longtown WI coffee morning

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.

Promise Auction, Michaelchurch School, December 2005
Organized by the PTA at Laurie's former primary school (with only 50 pupils), this was a huge success, with a wide range of treats donated by local people and businesses, ranging from half a lamb to free sunbed treatment. £2000 was raised for the Fund.

First day at Fairlfield High Scool