Tickets for concert in Carol’s memory on 16 December now available

We have now set up an on line ticket sales point for tickets for the concert in Reading on 16 December in Carol’s memory.  Tickets are £12 each plus a small handling charge and can be bought direct from:-

I’d be grateful if you could pass this link on to family, friends and colleagues who might also be interested in joining us.  Please remember that all proceeds will benefit the Duchess of Kent House charity to support the hospice which cared so wonderfully for Carol.

As a family we have now raised more than £36,000 for the hospice and I hope this event will be both enjoyable for those attending and a real benefit for the hospice.  If there is anything you might be able to offer as sponsorship or support for the concert please feel free to contact me to discuss this further – it would be wonderful if all our costs could be met so that the entire ticket price could benefit the hospice.

We only have 300 seats to sell so buy now and avoid the rush!

Details of the concert programme are in an earlier blog.  We are also planning some surprises for the night – but don’t expect me to tell you more and spoil the fun!

P.S.  Plans for Hair for Hospices 2013 are developing nicely and I hope to be able to tell you more very soon.  Are YOU planning to join in to help YOUR local hospice?


Interest is still growing in Hair for Hospices

Earlier today I looked at the readership of this blog and saw that it has now been read in 39 countries around the world.  From the comments received as a result of the blog it is very clear that I have succeeded in raising the awareness of hospices.  Thank you all for your support and I hope this strengthens the hospices in your countries in some way.

Hair for Hospices day this year was on 7 August but I still hear of events planned and held by others.  Our children Michael and Abigail attended a local senior school, Theale Green Community School in Reading and this week students at the school are holding four days of Hair for Hospices related events to support the hospice which supported Carol so selflessly.  I look forward to showing some images of the fun they had with the activities.

I’ve just received some photos of some hair sacrifices made by colleagues at the CEFAS laboratory in Weymouth.  Two brave souls, Julie and Zara both cut off hair and donated this to to make wigs for children who lost their hair following cancer treatment.  Photos of both these ladies are shown here and perhaps they will inspire others to consider doing something similar.  In addition, both raised considerable funds for their local hospice.  Thank you both very much for your support for this event and you have helped two different charities in one single action.

As you can see from this, Julie is thanking all those who supported her in a novel way!  Her hair has now grown back, which is just as well given that winter is fast approaching in the UK.  I grew my beard back again after 7 August because I didn’t want to be cold over the winter and I’m sure Julie would also not want to be bare headed in the cold weather.

The photograph on the right shows the length of hair Zara sported before it was cut for her donation whilst the photograph below show her after her hair was cut and holding her donation.  Their efforts have taken the total raised for hospices around the UK to well over £21,000.

Finally, I am hoping to be able to confirm details of how to buy tickets for our 16 December concert in Carol’s memory in the coming days so please check the site for details from time to time.

Two of the world’s leading classical stars in one night!

In memory of Carol Kay and in aid of the Duchess of Kent House Charity, two of the most sought-after classical musicians of their generation are to play together for the first time, at St Joseph’s College in Reading.

The rivetingly charismatic Canadian violinist Alexandre Da Costa, who was first spotted by the legendary Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit, regularly plays with leading orchestras of the world such as the Royal Philharmonic and Montreal Symphony, and has performed in many great venues, from Carnegie Hall to the Philharmonie in Berlin.  This year he won the coveted Juno Prize (Canada’s equivalent to the Grammys), and has recently been described as having “so much sensuality…irreproachable technique, sensitivity and temperament” (Neue Zercher Zeitung newspaper, Switzlerand).  He records for Warner Classics and plays a beautiful “Guarneri del Gesu” violin of 1730.

English pianist Danny Driver has come to prominence in recent years championing rarely-performed piano masterpieces by composers such as York Bowen and CPE Bach, and has built a reputation as one of the most fascinating musicians working today – he has performed at leading venues around the world, including London’s Wigmore Hall.  He records for Hyperion and, says Gramophone, “when you hear him…you become enthralled by a pianist of such magical warmth and finesse”.

Joining both of these superb musicians will be James Inverne, the former editor of Gramophone and Jewish Chronicle columnist, to interview them from the stage about the music they love.

But the music is the thing, and a truly wonderful concert will include the music from Schindler’s List, Bruch’s haunting Kol Nidrei, Brahms’s first violin sonata, the great Spanish showpiece La vida breve by Manuel de Falla and a surprising encore or two!

So come along, support the incredible work done by hospices, and enjoy a rare chance to hear two of the world’s greatest musicians together, in concert and interview!

The concert is on Sunday 16th December at 7pm, at St Josephs College, Upper Redlands Road, Reading RG1 5JT.  Free, on-site parking.  Tickets cost £12 and booking details will be given next week.


Alexandre Da Costa – (click on photos channel)

Danny Driver –

Video Links:-

Alexandre Da Costa – (behind-the-scenes of his next recording, for Warner)

Danny Driver – (nice interview before Classic FM Live at the Royal Albert Hall)

Interesting day

Today I met with representatives of two national bodies representing hospices in the UK, together with the fund raiser from my local hospice.  We discussed the recent Hair for Hospices day on 7 August and what we might be able to do next year.

We agreed we should try to hold another event in 2013 and now have the outlines of a plan to take this forward.  However, until this is agreed with both the organisations (and I hope one that was unable to join us) I can’t give more details yet.  I hope that we’ll be able to talk more about the event next month so this will still allow plenty of time to plan for it.

I have also been invited to address the annual meeting of one of the organisations to tell delegates of my family experience of a hospice and what we as a family did after losing Carol.  I hope this will will encourage more hospices to join with us in 2013.

Plans for our violin recital in Reading in Carol’s memory on 16 December in Reading are developing well.  The violinist is internationally acclaimed and Canadian born Alexandre da Costa ( and I hope to provide more details of the venue and tickets in the coming days.

I looked at my family site for donations to the Duchess of Kent House Charity ( today and was pleased to see we have now collected more than £36,000 for the hospice in nine months.  A total of 499 people have made on line donations to this website and many others have donated direct to the hospice.  Thank you all again on behalf of my family to everyone for all your help over these months.  It means a great deal to me, Michael and Abigail to know that in some way we helping to keep the hospice open for others who need it as we did.  I wish I could thank each one of you personally but know that is simply not possible.  We will keep collecting for the hospice for some time yet in the hope that we can reach our original target of £35,00 without any tax credits being added by the government.  This means raising almost another £5,000.

I look forward to working with you on the next Hair for Hospices event in 2013.

Sorry for not writing sooner!

The Jewish High Holyday season is a very busy time of year and spans almost a month, starting with Rosh Hashanah (New Year) followed by the solemnity of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and then Succot (Tabernacles).  There was much to be done when we were a family of four but without Carol it has become so much more difficult to do all that needs to be done – but we’ve managed.

Holding down a full time job and dealing with this has left me little time to write a regular blog but I really must get back into the habit as we plan for Hair for Hospices 2013.  My Sony laptop also died recently and given the likely repair costs, I’m afraid I bought a new laptop.  It should be no surprise that I didn’t buy another Sony given the service the last laptop gave me.  I can’t see me buying another Sony computer again.

I noticed tonight that my blog was read today in Bolivia and it is wonderful to think how many people in so many countries are reading this blog.  I now know that our family has exceeded our target set to raise £35,000 for our local hospice.  Hair for Hospices has also raised more than £20,000 for UK hospices and funds have also been raised around the world for local hospices. Thanks all once again for such generous support.

We are now working on three projects.  The first is a violin recital set for 16 December in Reading. I hope to be able to confirm all the details for this soon.  Perhaps you’ll be able to join us?

The second project is to involve some local schools in Hair for Hospices.  The local senior school our children attended is planning several days of activities later this month and I hope other schools may also join in.

Finally, we are now trying to agree a date for Hair for Hospices 2013.  It is clear that our wedding anniversary on 7 August is not the best date for maximum participation.  I am meeting with the National Association of Hospice Fundraisers and Help the Hospices on 15 October to discuss this and hope we can agree on a new date quickly.  It would be a wonderful legacy to Carol to make this a truly national day to raise the awareness of hospices and help them continue their wonderful and necessary work.