March 23rd, 11 – Jake 38

Dear Friends,

At last I get a chance to write to you all!

Since the last missive we sent you things have really been ‘on the up’ for me and I’ve been having the most wonderful, if slightly exhausting and hectic time. I’ve begun to start attending the Royal Academy of Music again part time and really just get to choose the nice bits that I particularly enjoyed doing in my first year there. I have a weekly lesson, attend specialist keyboard skills classes, play concerts, go to performance classes and enter competitions… What bliss! Recently I won the ‘Harold Craxton Prize’ for piano chamber music, playing the Brahms clarinet trio with my two lovely friends Max and Hermione, and on the 18th March I won the Henry Samuels Prize for Bach playing. I am intending to restart my studies at the RAM in September of this year in the second year and have already received a scholarship of £2000 per annum to help me through this financially.

I’ve been playing lots of concerts locally and these have been so generously supported by many friends. We have now raised in excess of £6000 for the Marsden!

Tragically, I lost one of my life’s great inspirational people, my Aunty Jane. She and I had a rather unfortunate but hugely supportive and comforting bond particularly towards the end of her life. Although her death was certainly a desperately sad time for both the family and me I have the feeling that she will live on through each of us.  I was really pleased that I had seen Jane at her best snuggled up on our sofa, giving me advice about how I might lead the next chapters of my life. I was even more thrilled to be able to offer the music at her funeral. It was a beautiful event and I was particularly proud of my cousin Leo and my Father for their deeply sincere and moving tributes to Jane.

Healthwise, things are a little shaky as the disease seems to be ‘rearing its ugly head’ again. However what is really very positive is that it seems to be just confined to the glands in my neck. My blood counts and bone marrow seem to be perfectly under control and once I manage to come off these horrible steroids my blood glucose levels should also settle down (just in time for Easter eggs!). On Monday we went for a review with the radiotherapy team at the Marsden who seem cautiously optimistic that a course of five days of radiotherapy to my neck starting as of next week should bring down at least some of the swelling.

In the meantime, I’m spending some time in Canterbury enjoying this wonderful spring weather we’re having. I make the occasional trip up to London for rehearsals and am even considering beginning to write a book of my experiences over the past 2 years. There are 3 more concerts booked and any support would be really greatly appreciated!

April 6th at 7 p.m in London, (49 Queen’s Gate Terrace) with my piano quartet  ( which includes wine and food, so booking will be necessary (  £10.

April 13th at 7.30 with the Marryat Players at Kings College School in Wimbledon.

April 17th at 4p.m. at St Peter’s Methodist Church in Canterbury with the Crowther Wind Quintet.

To finish off, I would just like to thank all of you for the constant support that you offer me and my family, whether it be through prayer, delicious things to eat, flowers, charitable donations, coming to concerts or just being at the end of the phone, each one of you seems to have so much to offer and I really cannot thank you enough.

With much love to you and all your families

Jake xx

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