Sell-out concert kick-starts urgent fundraising campaign

Alexander Baillie and John Thwaites

Concert goers packed the magnificent dining hall of Forest School on Saturday 9 June 2012 to enjoy a charity fundraising concert ‘From Heart to the Heart’ given by world renowned cellist Alexander Baillie, accompanied on piano by John Thwaites.

Alexander Baillie and John Thwaites

The event, attended by Cllr Richard Sweden, Mayor of Waltham Forest, was held to raise funds towards a new mobile therapy playbus, which is central to the work that Carefree Kids does in Waltham Forest and the surrounding boroughs.

The concert, which consisted of works by Tchaikovsky, Schubert, John Ireland and Cesar Franck, proved so popular that extra seating had to be brought in at the last minute.

The audience were welcomed by Anne Dufton, chairwoman of Carefree Kids. Shara O’Brien, a volunteer with Carefree Kids then gave a short talk about the work of the charity followed by a welcome by The Mayor, who also drew the raffle after the interval. Raffle prizes were donated by: Jean Lambert MEP, Chabad Centre, Children Salon, photojournalist Geoff Wilkinson, Petals in Bloom, Ros Zalicks, one of the Carefree Kids trustees and Waitrose South Woodford.

Forest School also kindly made the room available at no charge. Speaking to Carefree Kids staff and volunteers at the end of the concert, The Mayor described the concert as the best chamber music concert he had attended in Waltham Forest for a very long time.

Ros Kane, Founder of Carefree Kids, said:

This was not just an evening of wonderful music in such a beautiful setting. The concert has also given us the opportunity to reach out to many people who had not heard of Carefree Kids before and explain our work to them and involve them in the future. The money we raised will also be a very important first step towards our target of raising over £30,000 which we urgently need for a new playbus to replace the current one which is over 20 years old. I am extremely grateful to Alexander Baillie and John Thwaites for giving their time free for such a marvellous performance, to the Mayor for attending and showing such interest in our work, and to all the volunteers who helped and the audience who came along to support us. One of our former volunteers and musician himself said ‘he left on a cloud’ and I’m sure that’s how many people felt.

Contact about this press release and photos

Leigh Horton E: M: 0789 422 8652

Notes for editors:

1. Programme


  • Anne Dufton, Chair of the Trustees, Carefree Kids
  • Shara O’Brien, Carefree Kids volunteer therapeutic play worker
  • The Worshipful The Mayor of Waltham Forest, Cllr Richard Sweden

The Concert

  • Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), Pezzo Capriccioso
  • Schubert (1797-1828), Arpeggione Sonata
  • John Ireland (1879-1962), Sonata (1924)
  • César Franck (1822-1890), Sonata

2. Alexander Baillie

Alexander Baillie is internationally recognised as one of the finest cellists of his generation. He began playing the cello at the comparatively late age of twelve having been directly inspired by the late Jacqueline du Pré. He went on to study at London’s Royal College of Music and with André Navarra in Vienna. He has appeared with many British orchestras and has worked with Sir Simon Rattle, Sir John Eliot Gardiner and has appeared regularly as cello soloist in concertos, recitals and festivals throughout the world. He has given notable first performances of works by Penderecki, Hans Werner Henze, Takemitsu, Colin Matthew and H.K.Gruber. Recordings include the Tippett Triple Concerto with the composer conducting and the Shostakovich First Concerto with Benjamin Zander and the Boston Philharmonic. His version of the Britten Cello Suites achieved the highest acclaim in the New York press. He features in the film “Dvorak…who?” about the motivation for young people falling in love with classical music. Together with pianist partner James Lisney he has been promoting the Beethoven Project in England and Germany.

More information about Alexander Baillie: Alexander Baillie on Wikipedia.

3. John Thwaites

John Thwaites studied on the Joint Course between Manchester University and the Royal Northern College of Music, at the Guildhall, in Siena, Vienna and (as the recipient of an English Speaking Union scholarship) in the United States. His teachers included Harvey Dagul, Sulamita Aronovsky, Paul Berkowitz, Martino Tirimo and Christian Blackshaw. In addition to early recitals for the Park Lane Group and Live Music Now!, John won the 1986 North West Arts Young Musicians’ Platform with bassist Leon Bosch. Both were founder members of the Music Group of Manchester (1986-’93) undertaking innovative projects such as commissions and a Tchaikovsky tribute with Tim Piggot-Smith for the Royal Exchange Theatre. John has been working with Alexander Baillie for thirty years. They appeared in the first and last Manchester International ‘Cello Festivals, released a recital CD in 2000, and selected live performances in 2009. Another longstanding association is with Sue Lowe’s ‘Cello Schools, and John has performed with Johannes Goritzki, Louise Hopkins, Pierre Doumenge, Li Wei, Oleg Kogan, Melissa Phelps, Alexander Ivashkin, Alexander Boyarsky, David Cohen and Natalie Clein.

More about John Thwaites:

4. Carefree Kids

Carefree Kids is a children’s charity based in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. Since 2004 we have been providing emotional support to children, teenagers and their parents and carers. We use non-directive therapeutic play, art therapy, dramatherapy and dance/movement therapy to help release troubling emotions that may be difficult to communicate verbally or in other ways.

For those who have the personal qualities we offer training in our approach to help those in need of emotional support. Our aim is to offer the highest standards in our work and relationships with our schools, children, parents and carers.

Carefree Kids works in approximately 25 schools, mainly in Waltham Forest but a few in Redbridge and Newham helping helping children who have been identified as needing therapeutic help. Our volunteers — male and female of all ages — come from a wide range of backgrounds. We recruit community volunteers as well as counselling and psychotherapy students on placement throughout the year.

Carefree Kids regularly receives positive feedback from parents and schools whose children it has helped:

S. is much calmer and has changed a lot. Her behaviour is better in class and she will sit and concentrate. She did a maths test recently and moved up two sub-levels. This is unheard of for S. and I didn’t believe it, so I made her take it again and she did it again!’ SENCo about a child we worked with for 10 sessions so far, after two school exclusions for aggression

I was very impressed by the amazing work you were managing to sustain with the help of some dedicated volunteers.’ Senior social worker

Honorary President: Lord David Ramsbotham

Patrons: Sir Richard Bowlby, John Cryer MP, Iain Duncan Smith MP, Jean Lambert MEP, Sue Palmer, Dr Sami Timimi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *