Recently we were asked if we could take Out of the Ashes and the Beacon Gospel Choir to do a fund raising event in aid of the work Helen and Alastair Sammon are doing out in Tanzania.
It was easy to say ‘yes’ because Helen and Alastair Sammon are good friends of ours. I first met Helen, just after we moved to The Cotswolds, when my father in law died and it was part of her duties as curate for our local church to do compassionate visits for newly bereaved widows.
As a curate, she was a breath of fresh air, brave, funny and with a refreshing take on church life that was delightful.
Alastair was a surgeon, treating breast cancer patients when we first met him, he has a gentle, self effacing sense of humour, and intelligent humility I have never found the match of.
The two of them gave us huge encouragement when we first started the Beacon Gospel Choir, and Alastair became our first bass guitar player for the choir band. It should be noted that he loves working with wood and he seems to have built himself, and then learnt how to play, a collection of musical instruments, the latest being a portable cello to take to Africa on their current stay.
Actually, the Beacon Gospel Choir often think of Alastair with a twinge of guilt as we can’t help remembering that we nearly brought his career to an abrupt end a few years ago. He was helping Kevin and I unload equipment for a gig and misjudged the weight of a sharp cornered flight case. The result was eleven stitches in the fingers of his right hand… stitched up by a terrified junior doctor in casualty at Gloucester Royal hospital… nothing like feeling that your needle work is under the first hand scrutiny of someone who’s got a reputation for doing it rather well.
Well, now they’re in Africa and we miss them. We miss impromptu Sunday lunches (regardless of who cooks, we always get Alastair to carve the meat… He really DOES know what he’s doing), days out on the Sammon barge and gently irreverent humour.
So it was a real delight when we were asked, quite independently, if we would do a fund-raising gig for them, for desperately needed medical equipment to go out to join them in Tanzania. The concert will be featuring both The Beacon Gospel Choir and Out of The Ashes and is being organised by Rotary Club of Severn Vale. It will be held at The capital Venue in Gloucester on October 12th 2013.
If you would like to get to know Helen and Alastair better, have a look in on their blog at http://sammonsinafrica.blogspot.co.uk.
If you’d like to come to the concert, tickets are available from the Box Office on 01452 223214 or 01452 883450.