This week has been a rollercoaster! We had a fantastic quiz with Hugh Dennis which has raised a really amazing £7,554 for our #MoreTimeMoreLives ECMO Appeal. Hugh Dennis was as brilliant as we knew he would be! He delivered humour and warmth, whilst keeping the momentum and excitement going to deliver maximum fun – and funds for our cause. That’s a great talent. 

Rich Warren produced the quiz again, it’s really testing and I won’t tell you where we came but it was nowhere near the top. My table was mostly family and two very close friends but I was also delighted to have Rosie Smith and Jack Satchwell who are Perfusionists on the ECMO team, and thank you Rosie for giving a very brief, but with every point covered, talk to our assembled quizzers to remind them what it was all about. 

So what is ECMO about? Primarily about saving precious lives, an extraordinary piece of equipment which is nothing without the highly skilled and experienced team which operate it – frequently racing to rescue someone who would die without ECMO. Far more details here and stories that simply take your breath away.  

And our other big, big news is truly bitter-sweet. For months I have been writing with growing excitement and anticipation about how we are over the moon to have Joanna Lumley as our Carol Concert reader at our very special Concert at St Luke’s Church, Chelsea on Wednesday 18th December at 6.30pm. Imagine our distress when we heard Ms Lumley was no longer able to be our star reader for the evening… Joanna wrote; 

"I am heart-broken not to be free to read at this most longed-for concert. Please forgive me, and accept my deepest apologies. The film industry is always a victim to changes of plan and last-minute decisions, and I hope with every bone of my bony body that the audience will understand. Thinking of you with love from Scotland, I shall be there in spirit, wishing I were with you all in St Luke’s beautiful surroundings, lit by candles and filled with the best of the best.”

But before we all slump into misery, just listen to this. Zoë Wanamaker – yes Zoë Wanamakerhas stepped in to take Joanna’s place. So how’s that? A major rescue and the excitement can once again bubble up. This is going to be just as wonderful (and I am a terrific Harry Potter fan!). 

Tickets are going really fast so we are thrilled that it looks like we will have a full Church for this special evening. Come and join us if you haven’t bought your tickets already. 

And I take this opportunity to thank the wonderful Savills and Imperial Hotels for their generous sponsorship for our event. 

Credit to Idil Sukan for image of Zoë Wanamaker.