Brian and Izzy
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Our Journey – The Royal Opera House Supplement

Brian and Izzy
Posted by
08 Jul 2014

Need to call out 3 very important people, without who the Royal Opera House concerts would not have happened or raised as much as they did.

Need to call out 3 very important people, without whom the Royal Opera House concerts would not have happened or raised as much as they did.  It was organising and promoting the concert that brought us into close contact with the charity and changed our lives.

The 1st two are Andy and Julie Staples.  Back in 1996 they ran a BYS summer school for children 6+ who were learning to play a orchestral string instrument, e.g. violin or cello.  Andy and Julie wanted to give the children the opportunity of playing in an orchestra rather than just practicing alone at home.  Jamie - aged 6 - was part of this summer school.  The success of summer school led Andy and Julie to make BYS a fortnightly event during term-term.

Andy’s “day job” (well main night job) was/is a member of the Royal Opera House orchestra.

It was Andy and Julie’s vision to run the concerts in Jamie’s memory and to raise money for the charity.  Andy persuaded Michael Kaiser (then CEO of the Royal Opera House) to make the newly opened Linbury Theatre available for free and provide the front of house and other support services.

Andy also got colleagues from the orchestra to both help rehearse on the day and perform.  They included Vasko Vassilev, David Thomas and Andrea de Flamminies.

Without Andy and Julie the event would have never happened – so we owe them a high thanks.  They also run Northcote Music shop (Northcote Road, Clapham) so if you are in the area I would recommend them for all your musical needs.

The 3rd person is Andrew Downes.  Without his tireless work, calling in favours from friends and work contacts the amount of money raised would have been nowhere near as large.  We met Andrew and his wife Kirsty in the Royal Marsden when their son, also called Jamie, was being treated for ALL.  The great news is that their Jamie was 18 last month.  Very sadly Kirsty died from cancer when he was still young.

Andrew was then working in marketing and leaned heavily on his friends and clients for sponsorship.  The names on the web site are all companies that Andrew persuaded to support the event.  Their contributions represented a sizeable percentage of the total money raised.  He also had the programme designed and printed for us.

We had lost touch with Andrew but yesterday tracked him down via Twitter – he is now Curate at St. Nicholas, Chiswick and had posted a picture of himself and Jamie celebrating Jamie’s 18th.

There were many other who made the day happen and very special but without Andy, Julie and Andrew it wouldn’t have happened nor raised the amount it did.

If you can please sponsor us



Thank you so much for this blog, Brian.

As a patient who will have undoubtedly benefited in some way from the money that these concerts have raised, I'd like to say a massive thank you to Andy, Julie and Andrew for all their hard work in not only getting the concerts organised and off the ground but ensuring they were such a great success.

I hope you had a good weekend and that you're looking forward to the Bikeathon - not long to go now!!!


Can't be with you but I'll take Jamie's bike out of our garage and go for a spin and think of you.... good luck!

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