Jeremy Irons reads at The Child Bereavement Charity event
Actress Vanessa Redgrave mourns daughter Natasha Richardson at Child Bereavement Charity event
8th December 2009
By Oliver Evans
ACTRESS Vanessa Redgrave spoke movingly of the loss of her daughter Natasha Richardson at a concert for The Child Bereavement Charity, supported by this year’s Bucks Free Press Christmas Appeal.
She appeared alongside recitals and performances from actor Jeremy Irons, broadcaster Alan Titchmarsh and singer Eddi Reader at the fundraising show at Holy Trinity church in Brompton, West London.
Mrs Redgrave spoke of the loss of her daughter, the wife of actor Liam Neeson, who died following a March skiing accident in Quebec, France.
The 72-year-old read Death is Nothing at All by Canon Henry Scott-Holland, which contains the lines: “Why should I be out of mind / Because I am out of sight?”.
She told the candle-lit audience: “I was in two minds whether to read it.
“Sometimes I feel what Henry Scott-Holland is saying, it is so true, and sometimes I feel where is she?”
She praised the “wonderful” event and revealed Princes Charles had written her a “wonderful letter shortly after Tasha died”.
We are calling on readers to donate to the West Wycombe charity, which runs local groups for bereaved parents and children and provides nationwide training and support.
Attendees sang carols and heard from charity patron Flappy Lane Fox and founder patron and trustee Julia Samuel, who said: “Grief is such a small, tidy word that in no way conveys the complexity and messiness of loss.”
Jeremy Irons read Captain R.J Armes’s A Christmas Truce, about the brief ending of First World War hostilities in December 1914.
He told The Bucks Free Press: “There but for the grace of God go I.
“I haven’t lost a child and I could think of nothing worse. I was sitting there tonight thinking my boy is in Costa Rica and I hope he’s all right.
“I can think of nothing harder. It is a tremendous charity. I was very glad to be part of tonight.”
Alan Titchmarsh brought laughs with his recital of short story “Albert and the Liner” by Keith Waterhouse, who passed away this year.
He told the BFP: “I think it is something that one hopes won’t happen to them. Most of us know someone to who it has happened and how important that support is.”
Eddi Reader, former singer with Fairground Attraction, said the song she performed, Dragonflies, was about humans cope with mortality.
The singer, who travelled from Glasgow for the show, told us: “We have to live life today, like it is the end all the time.”
High Wycombe soprano Natasha Marsh performed Mike Sheppard’s Lullaby. She said: “I really wanted to be involved in this.”
The evening was opened by the Cantate Choir, which entered and left the church by candlelight and in song.
The programme featured artwork by cartoonist Gerald Scarfe.
Prince William, the charity’s Royal Patron, wrote: “The loss of a parent can be devastating and utterly bewildering for a child – and the loss of a child equally overwhelming for a parent or sibling.
“This wonderful organisation reaches out a hand at such times, when people most need help in their lives.”
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