Although we were one of many neighbours who celebrated Paul’s arrival into the world, the years have whizzed by and there have only been a few occasions when we have shared events during his childhood, teenage and now adult years.
Geoff and I therefore had no hesitation in saying ‘yes’ when Julia asked us if we were free on the 18th April as there was to be a jazz evening to support the CHIPS charity that is very much part of Paul’s life.
Previous events had been great and apart from the fact it was for a good cause, Geoff, being profoundly deaf, can enjoy the beat of drums and rhythms , even though he always says ‘I don’t know what they are playing’ but I love the noise’!
We therefore invited some family members and arrived at Debenham Community Centre not expecting the sight that greeted us! In the gloom we could see that every table was occupied and the atmosphere was electric. It was like a huge Ronnie Scott’s!
Olivia Castle, who was a former pupil of Framlingham College, was on stage and we immediately knew we were in for a very special and wonderfully entertaining evening.
Having seen numerous posters displayed in surrounding Suffolk villages advertising Carlo and his friends we were naturally curious to see who they were, what instruments they all played and of course how good they were!!! We were NOT disappointed. To think we only had to travel five miles to be on the receiving end of such talent. We were amazed when we learned that they did not regularly play together (and indeed that evening was a the first for some of the band)
As if the musical entertainment was not sufficient for a fabulous night out we were then treated to a delicious meal. Julia, Bernie and friends had pulled out all the stops to provide a truly super evening out. It certainly surpassed all our expectations.
Julia told us that Jake, (the drummer) with the help of his father, set up all the lighting and along with the band members would not accept any payment for the many hours that they gave in preparation for the evening ... what a very generous gesture.
CHIPS team members engage in practical action and so Paul and his future wife Katherine have chosen to be a part of the Brixton Community where tensions exist as they do in other parts of the world.
Paul has taken on many challenges since joining CHIPS; some physical (including numerous half marathons) and emotional ones and so with his experience in Africa he is equipped for the one he now faces in our own country.
Listening to his talk that evening must have had an enormous effect on many who had gone to the Community Centre for an evening of light entertainment. It was a humbling experience.
I was glad I was there.