Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Musicians are tuning up to play ‘Jazz for Kamuli’

AN EVENING of world-class jazz is in prospect at Perseverance Farm in Harpsden next month — and

AN EVENING of world-class jazz is in prospect at Perseverance Farm in Harpsden next month — and it’s all in a good cause.

Each year Dr Philip Unwin of the Hart Surgery in York Road, Henley, travels to the Kamuli Mission Hospital in rural Uganda, where a queue of maybe hundreds wait patiently for treatment and operations.

It is unending work in demanding conditions, yet Dr Unwin and his colleagues regularly save limbs and lives despite limited equipment and funding.

Their efforts have previously drawn support from the Henley Rotary Club and others — but now a fundraising concert has been organised by friends of Dr Unwin.

“Jazz for Kamuli” is the brainchild of Anthony and Yai Wrigley, the owners of Perseverance Farm.

They are inviting music lovers to rock up from 4pm on Saturday, July 16, for a concert to be introduced by Henley resident Art Themen, one of the UK’s top jazz saxophonists.

The concert itself starts at 6pm, but guests are invited to enjoy a picnic in the grounds beforehand, with their 20 acres of lawn, ornamental lakes and fountains. A bar will be available in a marquee near the stage area and the concert runs until 11pm.

Acts lined up for the star-studded event include the Anglo-American jazz supergroup The Impossible Gentlemen, the Jason Rebello Quartet, singer-songwriter Sumudu Jayatilaka and Art Themen’s New Directions Quartet.

As the name suggests, all profit from Jazz for Kamuli will be donated directly to the Kamuli Friends group that supports the Kamuli Mission Hospital in rural Uganda.

This provides vital medical care to a widespread community of 750,000 people with a team of just nine nurses and three doctors.

They are assisted by visiting doctors like Dr Unwin, who is the senior partner at the Hart Surgery, and other medics who donate their holiday time to work at the hospital — including Dr Unwin’s niece Alice.

Dr Unwin will be explaining the work of the charity during the course of the evening — something he has previously done at Henley Rotary Club events, among others.

Concert organiser Anthony Wrigley said: “To get an idea of the scale of Kamuli’s task, the Royal Berkshire Hospital’s catchment of 750,000 patients is served by 500 doctors, 900 nurses, 50 surgeries and a fleet of ambulances, yet Kamuli Hospital has the same number of patients but survives on a permanent staff of three doctors, nine nurses and no ambulance. This year we hope Jazz for Kamuli can fund their first ambulance, as patients often walk up to three days from their villages for aid, during which time their wounds can become septic, and demand amputations on arrival.”

He continued: “We’ve known Philip for some time and he’s also our GP. I came up with the idea of the concert after hearing what Philip does and the fact that all the money goes direct to where it’s actually needed — ie no middlemen or corrupt officials.

“I know quite a few musicians and a guitarist friend of mine Hugh Turner introduced me to Jazz in Reading. They kindly said they would help organise the event and have even put up some of the sponsorship money. It’s the first of its kind in Henley and we really hope with a good turnout we’ll be able to put one on every summer and perhaps with even more bands.

“We are deeply indebted to enthusiasts from Jazz in Reading for getting this off the ground and hopefully the jazz festival will become a permanent local fixture.

“Everyone is welcome to bring a picnic, though a bar and food is provided, and enjoy three world-class jazz bands in a beautiful Chilterns location while supporting a hugely worthwhile local charity.”

Tickets for the event are £50. For more information and to book, visit www.jazzinreading.com/jfk

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