Cathy Gilman
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Award winning composer and leukaemia survivor set for birthday tribute

Cathy Gilman
Posted by
25 Feb 2014

Expect the unexpected, that’s one of the best things about working at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research! It was certainly true in 2006 when I took a call out of the blue from Abi, daughter of world renowned composer and leukaemia survivor, Patrick Doyle. At the time I was Director of Fundraising and Abi wanted to know if we “might be interested” in doing a “little show” with Patrick and his mate Kenneth Branagh to celebrate Patrick’s recovery from leukaemia.

You may already know that Patrick is petite in stature but has one of the biggest personalities that you are ever likely to meet. So it’s not surprising that he has a huge circle of friends, many of them some of the UK’s best known faces of stage and screen and so “Music from the Movies” was born. It was an amazing evening, here at the Royal Albert Hall in October 2007, featuring Sir Derek Jacobi, Dame Judy Dench, Emma Thompson, Imelda Staunton, Jim Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman- to name but a few- all sharing special memories of moments with Patrick.

One of the most touching moments was when our lovely Calendar Girl Angela Knowles introduced the song that Patrick wrote with Beth Neilsen Chapman ““I Find your Love”,  for the Calendar Girls film. At "Christmas with the stars" at the Royal Albert Hall in December, in celebration of Patrick's 60th Birthday, Patrick worked with Steve Rockie to re-arrange “I Find your Love” for brass. Patrick was the first person ever to be allowed to "borrow" the baton of our much-loved maestro, Radio 2s Frank Renton, to conduct Frank's brass. Patrick’s son Patrick (confusing I know!) accompanied his sisters, Abigail and Nuala in a unique performance.

The talent of this family is extraordinary, but so is the courage and kindness of Patrick’s wife Lesley, who proudly watched the performance from the Royal Box. To the excitement of the audience, the performance was introduced by Patrick’s great friend Richard E Grant.

Tonight on BBC Radio Scotland, in a special 60th birthday celebration, Billy Differ, also a great friend and supporter of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, introduces a musical tour of the life and works of Patrick . In conversation with Billy, Patrick describes his early forays into music and his role in John Byrne's iconic play Slab Boys.

Sir Derek Jacobi and Emma Thompson share their memories of working with Patrick over the years, and we hear about the challenges that still lie ahead for this Oscar-nominated composer of over 50 films.

Tune in to listen and be carried away for a moment with some of Patrick's beautiful music. And don't forget to book Christmas with Stars at the Royal Albert Hall on December 9th, details coming soon, you never know the surprises we have in store!

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