The annual Addenbrooke's Hospital Choir Christmas Concert, sponsored by HP Autonomy, Cambridge, was once again a great success raising nearly £4,000 for CLIC Sargent.
The concert this year returned to Great St Mary’s Church following the wonderful renovations of this historic building and paid tribute to the Christmas WW1 truce by singing some of the songs reported to have been sung by the soldiers in No Mans Land.
The Soham Comrade Band performed putting on a great performance. One of their buglers also beautifully played the Last Post as part of the WW1 tribute.
The message of thanks on the night was also very kindly delivered by
Mr. Smith-Bubbins, Account Delivery Executive of HP Autonomy.
The choir also performed an evening prayer to a very special piece of music written by Cadet J S Smith and found in an autograph book compiled by a nurse from the 1st Eastern General Hospital during WW1 which has recently been very kindly donated by Captain and Mrs. Watson to Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
With only the soldier’s signature to go on this prompted a search for his identity. Signed only as ‘J.S.Smith’ of No 22 Garrison Officer Cadet Battalion, the daunting task of tracing a young soldier from nearly one hundred years ago, armed merely with initials and one of the most popular British surnames, was set.
The research team who embarked on this mystery found the answers within the vast archives of the Rare Books Department at Cambridge University Library.
This contained the name ‘J.S.Smith’ and an address upon enlistment, in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Online data was searched through, using censuses and records of births, marriages and deaths. The investigation then uncovered two local history books containing details of ‘John Sidney Smith’ once a well-known member of the Stroud community and organist at a local church for 50 years.
The Army service record of Second Lieutenant J S Smith was then located at the National Archives; also containing the correct address. So a search which traced through one hundred years stretching from Cambridgeshire to Gloucestershire to the Western Front, came full circle: the man, the musician and the soldier had finally been found.
Relatives of J S Smith were able to come along on the night and felt very humbled by the reception they received and how everyone had gone to so much trouble to find them.
They also brought with them his medals which were displayed at the rear of the church along with his photo, the autograph book displaying his piece of music and fittingly a ceramic poppy from the Blood Swept Land and Seas of Red display at the Tower of London.
CLIC Sargent Fundraising Manager Karen Roberts said ‘This is always a lovely event but this year it was something special and has also raised nearly £4,000. This amount really does help make a difference to the lives of children and young people with cancer and their families.
"I would like to thank everyone involved in making this event such a great success with special thanks to HP Autonomy, Cambridge for very kindly sponsoring the event."
Find out more
If you or your company are interested in fundraising for CLIC Sargent, please contact Karen Roberts on 01284 829 090 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.