The very first ‘North East Last Night of the Proms’ was staged in1990 by George and Rosalynde Walker to thank Professor Stephen Proctor and his team at Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI), Newcastle upon Tyne, who saved George’s life. The starting point was simple: a one-off concert to raise funds for the Marrow Transplant 2000 campaign. George asked Benjamin Luxon, the internationally acclaimed baritone, old friend and university colleague, if he would perform. The 2000 tickets sold very quickly and the night was a resounding success ending with cries from the audience for ‘another next year, please’. So began an annual event for the people of the North East to raise money for blood cancer research and patient care in the region.
George died in 2001 but Rosalynde continues the charity with the help of family and friends. Funds are largely raised through musical events, but also from a range of other events, many of which are organised by supporters and the families of those who have benefited. These all contribute to improving blood cancer treatment and survival rates.
NEPAC regularly raise funds from the following events:
George Walker North East Last Night of the Proms
Our very own Last Night of the Proms was held annually in the autumn at the City Hall, Newcastle upon Tyne from 1990 to 2014 when after 25 years it was felt a good time to bow out from this event. During that time the audiences have been treated to a wide range of music, provided by soloists, choir and orchestra, always including the usual flag-waving favourites of the Last Night. There have been some exceptional performances. Singers and musicians have included Benjamin Luxon, Janice Cairns, Thomas Allen, Suzanne Manuell, Bradley Creswick, David Haslam, Jonathan Lemalu, Blake Fischer, Kitty Whately, Rachel Dyson, Graeme Danby and James Cleverton, and a number of these are now Patrons of NEPAC. All have given their generous support.
This concert continues. Since 2014, it (now the North East Last Night of the Proms ) has been organised by a Steering Group, under the Chairmanship of David Hall (Northumbrian Water). The aim is to raise funds for the two charities, Water Aid and NEPAC, who equally share any profits. Both concerts to date have been at a new venue, Sage One Gateshead, and have followed the tradition of the earlier concerts whilst also giving opportunities to young performers. The event was not repeated in 2017.
Suzanne Manuell Concert
One of our regular singers, Suzanne Manuell from Cornwall, was so impressed by the North East Proms that she offered to stage an annual springtime concert in support of NEPAC. This concert treats the audience to popular classics and favourite songs from the musicals. Suzanne and her guest are accompanied by Anthony Seddon on the piano. The concert is held in the impressive Banqueting Hall at the Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne. The 22nd concert held in 2017 was the last in the series.
Bradley Creswick’s Musical Extravaganza Night
Bradley Creswick, violinist and Leader of Royal Northern Sinfonia, makes his own personal contribution to NEPAC through his annual Musical Extravaganza Night. This is always a fun evening of musical entertainment when Bradley gathers together a group of talented friends to provide a varied and enjoyable concert. These concerts have been held in several locations but are currently held in the relaxed surroundings of the Excelsior Club in Westerhope.
Several Charity Golf days have been held over the years, mostly at the local Westerhope Golf Club. The most recent event was in June 2018 at Prudhoe Golf Club and was organised by the Tailford family in memory of Ron Tailford, the father-in-law of our Trustee Polly Tailford.
Each year we have a number of charity places for the Great North Run. Runners who take these places raise substantial sums for NEPAC whilst enjoying the experience of taking part in this prestigious event, often for the first time.
The Run for Bob, in memory of Bob Peart, one of the North East’s top veteran athletes who died of cancer in 2001, also raises funds for NEPAC. This run, along the Whitley Bay coastal path and through Holywell Dene, is in early January and is organised by the North Shields Polytechnic Club.
Other fundraising events range from sponsored walks and cycle rides to more leisurely coffee mornings and fashion shows.