There is nothing better than a family day out, whether the family is your own immediate family or a wider family group. Saturday 5th November saw the wider family that is The Encephalitis Society hold their Annual General Meeting at York Racecourse and we at Clarke Willmott feel privileged to have been invited to attend.
In a packed day, the boring but necessary business of a formal charity AGM was dealt with early on, leaving plenty of time for a mixture of fun, information, mutual support and a few tears (punctuated by some excellent food and the odd glass of wine later in the day).
Prof Tom Solomon, (Director of the Institute of Infection and Global Health; Head of the Brain Infections Group; Professor of Neurological Science; Honorary Consultant Neurologist, Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Liverpool University Hospital) proved that (very) serious people can be entertaining and amusing. Demonstrating that science and medicine can be fun, Tom kept children and adults amused as he wove the thread of the life of Roald Dahl through his informative presentation. Dahl’s own interest in medicine was a driver in his writing and is explored in Tom’s book “Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Medicine”.
Claire’s story was touchingly re told by Professor Barbara Wilson, the eminent neuropsychologist, whose lifelong efforts to improve rehabilitation for those with acquired brain injury is without equal. The story had the added poignancy of Claire’s presence in the room, conveying the message that rehabilitation is not recovery but demonstrating that there is a life to be explored and enjoyed after an acquired brain injury.
Presentations of the “Exceptional Service Awards” by Matthew Bose, brought an end to the formal proceedings, delivered with the usual panache, although even Matthew was for once upstaged by the junior fundraisers who received awards and who have done so much to raise money for the Society in memory of family members.
The day concluded with a performance of “Tracing Grace” an incredibly moving portrayal of a family coping with the effects of encephalitis. Written directed and performed (with the company of the Off The Wall Theatre Co) by Annie Eves, this autobiographical tale has a raw reality, sometimes almost unbearable to watch, which drives home the need for us all to be aware of the impact of the condition and support those who live with it on a daily basis. Barely a dry eye in the house as the curtain fell!
Thanks to the ever efficient Phillippa Chapman for organising the event and CEO Dr Ava Easton for keeping everything moving in the right direction all day. Ava’s book “Life After Encephalitis” makes compelling reading and comes highly recommended.
It was a pleasure to spend the day with an inspiring group of people. We are proud to support The Encephalitis Society and hope that we can in some small way contribute to the success of the charity.