On Thursday 25th September 2008, Jacky Paice hosted her third fabulously unique and intimate rock’n’roll charity evening of dinner and musical entertainment.
  • Deep Purple
  • jon lord
  • Bruce Dickinson
  • sam Brown
  • steve balsamo
  • margo buchanan
  • zalon & ade (Amy Winehouse)

The Sunflower Jam 2008 was held in aid of the Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust which provides funds to the Complementary Therapy Team working within cancer services at UCLH and elsewhere. It was another incredible evening featuring a line up of amazing musicians, some of which were playing together for the very first time. Held again in Porchester Hall the evening was yet another resounding success, raising a substantial amount of money and awareness for the wonderful work of The Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust, which is supported by HRH the Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health.

The evening started with a Champagne Reception on the Grand Staircase sponsored by The Crooked Billet Restaurant, as the guests made their way in to the main hall they were greeted by the amazing sight of two beautiful contortionists performing on the stairs.

The hall – transformed beautifully, as always, by the great Timothy Dray – this year took on the appearance of a medieval extravaganza. The evening kicked off as special guest and MC Rick Wakeman took to the stage to introduce a welcomed return performance by top burlesque dancer, Gwedoline Lamour. Gwendoline performed a fan dance as drinks were served from Paul Clerehugh of The Crooked Billet, along with delicious culinary delights. Guests were also treated to further surprise performances, including a fantastic performance on stage by the contortionist duo and a beautiful powder puff dance by Gwedoline Lamour during dinner.

This year Dr Maria Michelagnoli, a paediatric and adolescent consultant oncologist at UCLH and David Holmes, a patient, who has been receiving healings, bravely came on stage. Dr Maria Michelagnoli went on to explain from a medical angle her belief that healing is an integral part of the services that patients in the ward receive, and that complementary therapies are not just a luxury but an essential part of the patient experience. David Holmes then spoke about what the work of the charity had done for him as a patient receiving the treatment, and thanked everyone for their involvement. Their speeches were received with a rapturous applause from all the guests.

The auction this year was held by Lord Mark Poltimore, chairman of Sotheby’s England. Lord Mark had some incredible lots, including a signed Ian Paice snare drum, a white fender guitar signed by all musicians of the evening, a one to one recorded and videoed session with Ian Paice, signed hand written lyrics by Julian Lennon and photo of him and his father donated by Julian, a Wimbledon collection donated by Pat Cash including a racket used at this year’s Wimbledon legends, a Finn Costello print of Ian Gillan, taken in a London studio in 1978 signed by the photographer and Ian Gillan, a Barcelona number 10 football t shirt signed by Ronaldinho, and many other fantastic items. Also up for grabs was a Craig Kilford painting of his favourite Deep Purple song ‘Hush’. Kindly donated by him and signed by members of Deep Purple on the night.

John Madjeski and Rick Wakeman with the help of Calli Paice, Jacky’s daughter, then drew the tickets for the raffle with some wonderful prizes kindly donated by supporters of the event.

Finally, before the music began Jacky was called up on stage by last year’s compere, Jeremy Irons, who thanked her for her amazing work to achieve such a success and presented her with a huge bouquet of flowers.

The house band kicked off with a scorching version of Sly and the family Stone’s “Dance to the Music” and kept the energy at full pace with a set of Stax and Motown tunes. Zalon and Ade (Amy Winehouse) whipped the crowd up with a hugely charismatic performance, leading the way for Margo Buchanan, then Steve Balsamo to take to the stage. Sam Brown wowed the guests with Aretha Franklins Respect and then Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) commanded the stage with versions of “River Deep, Mountain High” and “Get by with a little help from my friends” Jon Lord (former Deep Purple member) then joined the band for a performance of the Whitesnake classic Walking in the shadow of the Blues. The house band this year were Murray Gould, Micky Moody, Aitch McRobbie, Dawne Admas, Frank Mead, Matt Winch, Howard Francis, Jerry Brown, and Nick Fyffe.

After a short break, during which guests were treated to a show by sword swallower Miss Behave, Deep Purple came on to perform a blistering set of their recent and classic hits. One highlight of the evening was Jon Lord joining the band for the first time in 8 years alongside current keyboardist Don Airey. Bruce Dickinson made an impromptu reappearance onstage towards the end of the set, as did Ade Omotayo.

The atmosphere in the hall was electric and after a fantastic evening of musical entertainment, great food, surprise performances and lots of dancing, guests slowly began to make their way home, taking with them big smiles, tired feet, and the feeling of having been a part of something truly unique!

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