It is with great sadness that I am writing to share with you that Mary passed away on Sunday 15th November at St Peter's Hospice in Bristol after a long struggle with cancer.
Mary's 60th birthday was in July and she celebrated it more than once with different groups of friends; there were parties at home, an outing one lunchtime to meet former work colleagues, a party at a Chinese restaurant in Bristol, and the final party was a 'picnic in the park' with relatives in Norwich in August when we were blessed by hot and sunny weather and also by the presence of Juliet, Mary's sister, and her husband Jerry who live in Colorado, USA.
She spent some time in hospital in September and then came home with a positive attitude to what lay ahead, believing that the medicine and a good diet would keep the disease at bay. Unfortunately, over the following weeks, she became weaker and finally had to go into the hospice. Generous and thoughtful to the last, she acknowledged the burden that I was under and that I was no longer able to look after her, and that she needed specialist nursing care. I was blessed by the presence of a dear friend at the time of Mary's passing.
Mary's wishes were for a Committal Service which is being held at South Bristol Crematorium at 1.30pm on Tuesday 1st December, followed by a Service of Thanksgiving at Holy Trinity, Abbots Leigh at 2.30pm.
Rather than flowers, she asked that any gifts be given to "The Friends of El Hogar" – please see the Donations page for details of where to send your donation.
I trust that her work for the streetchildren of Honduras and, for those of you that met her, her friendship with you, leave fond memories.
27 November 2009
Concert on 19th December 2009
I am pleased to announce that there will be a concert featuring Musica Buena and that all the proceeds will go to "The Friends of El Hogar". I want to thank in advance the musicians and singers who are taking part. They and I think that it will be a fitting tribute to Mary and also a wonderful end to the 10th year of fund raising.
This year we have just a single concert for Honduras. Ah, this is not like us, but it is because of the cancer diagnosis that I received at around this time - October - last year - 2008. It was for peritoneal cancer, and was followed by an operation and chemotherapy, then a few weeks of remission, and now a new series of chemotherapy. This time round, Malcolm and I are much, much wiser, and even more positive than last time. Deepened faith and excellent nutrition are bringing me through, in addition to conventional treatment. The chemotherapy course will finish in mid-December. Thank you ALL, Musica Buena and all our friends and supporters, for your loving kindnesses throughout this whole experience. I'm feeling well and strong, praising God and very grateful to you all.
2009 - Our 10th Anniversary concert:
On October 3rd this year, Musica Buena performs with The Bristowe Recorder Ensemble and Guest Artists Lavinia Redman, oboe, and Josephine Reece, keyboard, at Redland Parish Church at 7:30 pm. Please read further details on the This Year's Events page. This is the only concert in 2009 and is our 10th Anniversary! Up to now, we have raised over £40,000 for the children and youth at El Hogar and Project Micah. In 2010, we look forward to presenting more concerts for them.
Last Year's 'Messiah':
You might remember that last year's 'Messiah' was originally to be performed in Redland Parish Church on October 4th, but that we altered the venue in favour of the larger Tyndale Baptist Church. Well, that concert was a great success and a wonderful advance in our scale, choir and use of period instruments. The concert was full, the performers received a standing ovation, and £1500 was raised for the Honduran children. Thank you all for your wonderful support!
Anita Simmons and her visit to Honduras:
Anita, a farmer's wife and JP from Kingston Seymour, is a long-standing friend of both the Honduras concerts and of Darwin Pavon, the young Honduran who won a scholarship from Project Micah to study at the Central America Agricultural College in Honduras, and who spent his practicals in 2006 with John Redman on his then dairy farm near Portishead. Anita visited Honduras, Darwin and his family in July 2009 and has brought back memories of treasured, life-changing experiences. She will be talking at the concert on October 3rd, sharing with you some of her insights and photographs of our young people as they have progressed with Project Micah and El Hogar's dedicated and loving help.