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Celebrities sing brain charity’s praises

Stars lend their backing at the National Brain Appeal’s annual carol concert in Queen Square

21 December, 2018 — By Tom Foot

From left, actress and patient Joanna David, charity chief executive Theresa Dauncey, Professor Alex Leff, actor Edward Fox, ITV presenter Richard Arnold, journalist and patient Rosie Millard, chairman Peter Stone, and Sinead Dineen of major supporters the Danny Sullivan Group

CELEBRITIES were out in force at the National Brain Appeal’s Christmas concert.

Actors Edward Fox, his wife Joanna David, and Dame Eileen Atkins were joined by ITV’s Good Morning Britain presenter Richard Arnold and former BBC arts correspondent Rosie Millard at the annual carol concert in St George’s Church, Queen Square.

The event raises funds for the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, which treats diseases of the brain, spine and nervous system.

Rosie Millard, who recently had surgery to remove a brain tumour at The National Hospital, read a passage from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Of her treatment at the hospital, she said: “Queen Square is probably the best place in the world to have your brain treated.

“The care, expertise, and kindness here is exemplary.”

ITV presenter Richard Arnold with actresses Dame Eileen Atkins and Joanna David at the carol concert in St George’s Church, Queen Square

Mr Arnold, who read the Joseph and The Shepherds poem, said: “I’m delighted to support The National Brain Appeal – a small charity with huge ambitions.”

Joanna David said: “I wouldn’t be here today without the skilled and caring staff at The National Hospital.

“That’s why I feel compelled to support The National Brain Appeal to do my bit to help ensure that the hospital has all the support it needs for patients now and in the future.

“It really is a remarkable charity.”

Her husband, The Day of the Jackal and Edward and Mrs Simpson actor Edward Fox, read A Child’s Christmas In Wales by Dylan Thomas.

He said: “Thanks to The National Hospital, my wife Joanna has made a full recovery. But it could all have been so different. Without the incredible care and treatment she received, Joanna might not be with us today.

Michael Powell and his daughter Alice Powell

“I’m doing what I can to support the work of The National Brain Appeal in the hope it will help more people like her.”

They were joined by Bafta and three-time Olivier Award-winning actress and screenwriter Dame Eileen Atkins.

Her career spans 65 years, and she has most recently been seen on TV in the long-running series Doc Martin and has just finished performing in The Height of the Storm alongside Jonathan Pryce at the Wyndham’s Theatre.

She read Brian’s Nativity Play by Willy Russell.

Retired consultant neurosurgeon Michael Powell, who recently became a trustee of the charity, performed two pieces, accompanied by his daughter, singer Alice Powell.

Along with Matthew Herd, they performed Imagination by Antony Newley and Leslie Bricusse and The Christmas Song by Bob Wells and Mel Torme.

Music was also provided by the Lakeside Brass Quintet and The Julius Singers.

The singers take their name from Julius Althaus, founder of the London Infirmary for Epilepsy and Paralysis, which became the Maida Vale Hospital, and was amalgamated with The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in 1948.

The choir includes two of Julius’s great-great-great nephews and one of his great-great-great-great nieces.

• To donate to The National Brain Appeal’s Aphasia Service go to: justgiving.com/campaign/aphasia or call 020 3448 4724.

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