Final appeal to support fundraising campaign in memory of late friend

Final appeal to support fundraising campaign in memory of late friend

FUNDRAISERS have amassed more than £115k in memory of their friend Worcestershire fruit farmer Colin Broomfield, to support a brain tumour charity established by England cricketer Ashley Giles and his wife Stine.

Members of ‘Team Colin’ are appealing for final donations for The Giles Trust Brain Tumour Fund before closing the fundraising campaign next month (February), which marks the second anniversary of his death.

The Giles Trust Brain Tumour Fund, Ashley Giles, Stine Giles, charity, Colin Broomfield
From left – Joe, Colin, Fiona and Chloe Broomfield.

Owner of Broomfield’s Farm in Holt Heath, Colin died in February 2020, aged 52, almost two years after being diagnosed with a terminal Glioblastoma brain tumour.

The Giles Trust Brain Tumour Fund was founded in 2015 by former England cricketer and now England’s Director of Cricket, Ashley Giles MBE and his wife Stine following her own multiple battles with the disease.

In the first year of fundraising for The Giles Trust, Team Colin have exceeded their original £70,000 target to raise lost funds due to the pandemic.

A close friend of Colin’s for more than 40 years, Ivor Allchurch, said: “Myself and another close friend of Colin’s, Jim Weston, got talking after the funeral about doing some fundraising and Colin’s wife Fiona said she would like it to benefit The Giles Trust because they knew Ashley and Stine Giles from Bromsgrove School and Stine had been helpful in supporting and giving her advice.

“The original £70,000 target was set because that is the amount the charity would have raised at the Giles Trust Gala Dinner which had to be cancelled due to lockdown.”

Jim Weston’s Broom Wagon Wobblers raised more than half of the total in a cycle challenge in May last year.

Jim said: “The Wobblers just needed a good excuse to get fitter and what was going to be four of us turned into 14. It was a good way to remember Colin, has given us all some great muddy memories and raised some funds towards the great work that the Giles’ Trust do.

“Colin was one of the good guys, great fun and a true friend. He was fit and healthy until he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
The Giles Trust Brain Tumour Fund, Ashley Giles, Stine Giles, charity, Colin Broomfield

Other support included £10,000 raised from a fundraising dinner hosted by a group of Worcestershire businessmen who call themselves ‘The Fine Fourteen’ and digital support from another of Colin’s friends Steve Thomas.

Fundraising is being encouraged until the end of February in all forms, including social and sporting events – or donations here.

In 2006, Ashley Giles rushed back from Australia, where he had been part of the Ashes team, to be with his wife, Stine, who had been diagnosed with a brain tumour. It was removed successfully, but the family were devastated to learn in 2012 that more tumours had developed. In 2018, Stine was diagnosed with another tumour that required immediate treatment – and thanks to the world-class experts at QEHB, her outcome was positive.

Stine became one of the first people in the country to be treated with the
TomoTherapy machine, which had been purchased by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) Charity just weeks before. Without it, she had few treatment options available to her.

Experiencing first-hand how important research and cutting-edge equipment was, Stine vowed that if her treatment was successful and her prognosis was good, she would endeavour to raise funds for brain tumour research.

Since then it has raised more than £800,000, some of which has funded a full-time research nurse post which is helping to transform clinical research in neuro-oncology at the University Hospitals Birmingham.

As a charity the Trust operates in the medical research sector, working closely with frontline specialists, consultants, and clinicians. This helps them to target their funding to where it is needed most, including a pioneering surgical navigation system which is translating into improved patient outcomes and more rapid recovery times.

The Giles Trust Brain Tumour Fund, Ashley Giles, Stine Giles, charity, Colin Broomfield
Ivor and Colin

Dr Sara Meade. Oncology Consultant at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham where Colin was treated, said: “The impact from the Giles’ Trust has been incredible. The contribution from the charity has significantly impacted on the delivery of the highest standard of care in this patient group. The benefits of the Giles’ Trust donations have been felt by patients and staff.”

More information about The Giles Trust Brain Tumour Fund and details about how to help or donate, can be found here.

Ivor Allchurch added: “Colin was a charismatic kind and loving man and this fundraising is also our way of celebrating his life.

“Despite Colin having received fantastic treatment and fighting extremely hard, there’s still a long way to go in advancing the treatment of this disease and raising awareness.

He added: “Fiona has had to pick up the reins herself to keep the business going. This was very challenging for her as, like every other business, it was experiencing the effects on trading left by the pandemic, but two years later the business continues successfully and is supported greatly by the local community.

“Colin would be incredibly proud of what Fiona’s done and of his son Joe and daughter Chloe for the way they’ve coped.”

(Review) If you go down to The Hippodrome today. . .

(Review) If you go down to The Hippodrome today. . .

Goldilocks and The Three Bears, Birmingham Hippodrome, review
The cast of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Picture by Simon Hadley.

Review by Clare Brennan

THERE haven’t been many times in my life when a show has genuinely left me speechless, but Goldilocks and The Three Bears at the Birmingham Hippodrome is so good it’s almost difficult to put into words – oh yes it is. . .

For my family and I the magic started long before the curtain rose.  Being our first night out at the theatre in a very long time, just taking our seats in the auditorium was exciting enough. But our first glimpse of the set – a circus-themed kaleidoscope of colour and light – showed we were in for something rather special.

From the opening number, this show is an absolute delight. It’s two-and-a-half hours of colour, music and pure fun. Yes, it’s a panto, but it’s also so much more than that!

Goldilocks and The Three Bears, Birmingham Hippodrome, review
Andrew Ryan as Dame Betty Barnum in Goldilocks and the Three Bears. 20 September 2021. Picture by Simon Hadley.

There were showgirls, acrobats, circus performers, a magician and daredevil motorcycle stunt riders, who brought the audience to their feet for a standing ovation long before the final curtain.

The fun-filled story follows the adventures of Dame Betty Barnum (Andrew Ryan) and her daughter Goldilocks (Samantha Dorrance) whose circus is under threat from rival circus owner, the Evil Ringmaster (Jason Donovan). Cue a madcap mission to rescue their Big Top from ruin. Will they succeed? – Oh Yes they Will. . .

I cried laughing at Matt Slack, who was without doubt, the star of the show as Ringo The Ringmaster. His comic genius borrowed from some of the all-time greats of light entertainment was sometimes risque, but perfectly positioned for this family audience.

Former Neighbours actor and 80s heartthrob Jason Donovan was deliciously devilish, marking his pantomime debut as Count Ramsey of Erinsborough, and Andrew Ryan’s portrayal as the vibrant yet endearing Dame Betty Barnum was exquisite.

And if it’s tapdancing bears you’re after(!) The Brummie Bears trio of Ewan Goddard, Georgie Anderson and Jessica Daugirda is an irresistible delight. And Samantha Dorrance brings a fresh-faced charm to the iconic title role.

At just a couple of weeks shy of her fifth birthday my youngest daughter was perhaps a little young to enjoy it all, my eldest daughter, aged ten, was in her element – shouting out, singing and gasping in awe. It was wonderful to be able to share the joy of theatre with them both again.

You might be forgiven for thinking that the show’s description as ‘The Greatest Panto on Earth’ is a bold one – but the team behind this exceptional extravaganza have more than justified this billing.

This circus-themed spectacle proves to be a night of magnificent family fun we won’t forget in a hurry – and the perfect antidote to blowing away those post-Christmas – and pandemic – blues.

Goldilocks and The Bears runs at the Birmingham Hippodrome until Sunday, 30 January. For tickets call 0844 338 5000 or visit here.

Alcester liqueur wins international acclaim in entertainment capital of the world

Alcester liqueur wins international acclaim in entertainment capital of the world

ARISTOCRATIC entrepreneurs from Alcester are celebrating further international success for their liqueur within the first 18 months of trading.

The Las Vegas Global Spirits Gold Award becomes the latest in a series of prestigious industry accolades for St Maur Elderflower Liqueur, produced by William and Kelsey Seymour, Earl and Countess of Yarmouth.

St Maur, Las Vegas, award
Kelsey and William Seymour

Chosen among 700 entries, the award now proudly sits alongside Best English Floral in the World Liqueur Awards, Great Taste Award 2 Star rating and an International Spirits Challenge Silver Award for the product, launched in lockdown.

William, who grew up at Ragley Hall in Warwickshire and is the eldest son of the Marquess of Hertford, said: “Perhaps, winning industry awards in North America could be considered a little bit ahead of the curve for a start-up craft drinks business from the heart of England, but we have big ambitions for St Maur as a brand, and we’re not afraid to put ourselves out there.

“It’s great to win an award and to be recognised on an international level. What’s important though is this also gives us the opportunity to let people closer to home, who have not tried our drink yet, know about St Maur. ‘Gold in Vegas!’ That can’t be bad!”

St Maur, Las Vegas, award

The judges were made up of a panel of highly respected and experienced experts in the spirits industry including journalists, distillers, mixologists, consultants, educators, bartenders, importers and brand ambassadors.

St Maur is a hand-crafted premium elderflower liqueur from the Heart of England which originated in a drink produced for guests on the couple’s wedding day four years ago.

It is described as ‘versatile and perfect for both sipping and mixing. A beautiful aperitif on its own and sublime in brunch and pre-dinner cocktails, any time of the year.’

St Maur, Las Vegas, award

From the recipe, to the ideas on the label, and the name itself, St Maur brings together 1,000 years of heritage and family.

Indeed, provenance is core to the brand. The map co-ordinates on the St Maur logo lead to Ladies Wood and an elder grove in the Ragley Woodlands, now in the stewardship of Earl of Yarmouth Estates. Here and in the hedgerows on their farm, in early summer, Seymour friends and family members can be found collecting the blossoms to fulfill the next year of orders.

There’s also a red-legged partridge on the bottle, a bird successfully introduced to England in the 19th century by an ancestor Francis Seymour, the 5th Marquess, and now the brand’s mascot.

St Maur, Las Vegas, award

Kelsey added: “There is a very obvious, but golden rule if you want to build a crafts drinks business – make sure you craft a good drink! Our purpose with St Maur is to offer ‘a little drop of England’s heart’ around the world, and if we are to live up to that accolade, we must make sure we offer a drink that is worthy of it. This was another opportunity to put our drink to the test, with industry experts, in one of the hospitality capitals of the world. We were delighted to win gold.”

Visit St Maur at: https://drinkstmaur.com/