I am a tree surgeon and musician living in North Devon, England, and I want to tell you about the one off charity event for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity (No.1095197), that is fast becoming an adventure of truly epic proportions... and quite a dangerous obsession!
On the 2nd of June 2012, I climbed to the top of the tallest tree in my then home county of Surrey (Douglas Fir, Dorking - 140ft). Once at the top, I performed an acoustic gig with a specially made guitar. The event was filmed, posted on YouTube, considered a great success and that was supposed to be it - until my imagination ran away with me...
Exactly a year on, on June 2nd 2013, I did the same thing at the top of the tallest tree in GREAT BRITAIN!!!* (see a teaser here: http://youtu.be/8cyRjTxAYeg ). This was an entirely more challenging experience and couldn't have been achieved without the generous offers of time, energy, inspiration, equipment and donations from some truly remarkable people. It made me feel like Nothing was Impossible, and that It'd be a shame to stop there, and why shouldn't I have a crack at climbing THE TALLEST TREE IN THE WORLD?!?!** Hyperion: A Coast Redwood in California, USA.
So, the plan as it stands now, is for me to write and record an album and tour it throughout our country, and then out across America, all the way to California and those mighty, monumental redwoods. The interesting part is that the album will be recorded UP A TREE! And tour dates and gigs will include various Tree Top appearances across the land!
When my wonderful mum was diagnosed with breast cancer, it was the wonderful people at The Royal Marsden Hospital who made an unbearable situation somehow bearable. They were an incredible source of support, reassurance and information. The more people I speak to about this campaign, and their experiences with The Marsden, the more my resolve grows to do something extrordinary for this organisation that literally saves and changes lives on a daily basis. Thanks to them, my mum and many other survivors are living a very happy, healthy and thankful life!
There isn't a happy ending for everyone, however. Even since TTT began, we have lost some very special people, who were painfully close to the campaign. More and more we turn to pioneers like those at The Marsden, as they not only treat cancer, but ultimately aim to find a VACCINE against it, researching tirelessly to find answers to thus far unanswerable questions. Through this campaign I aim to raise awareness and funds for The Marsden, but also to make something positive out of something so terrible. I aim to raise the hopes and spirits of those suffering from, or in any way affected by cancer.
The whole campaign is being filmed (watch the first part here:http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjsykda9hQELqXX39jaiIbQ ) and will be made into a documentary with the help of Paul McMahon (Sullivan's Reach Films) and other generous TV/film production personnel, to raise awareness of the campaign and hopefully lots and lots of money for this brilliant cause.
I have already raised thousands for the cause, in no small part thanks to the help and support of some huge names in entertainment, including Brian Blessed, Andy Beckwith, Winston Ellis, Twinnie Lee Moore and James Toseland. Artist and aviator Richard Symonds has also donated work and his tireless enthusiasm. Google any of these names and you'll be blown away by their achievements.
As if that wasn't enough, Rock Super Star JOHN PARR (St Elmo's Fire) played a breath-taking set at the LIVE DELIBERATELY FUNDRAISER for the campaign on April 20th 2013, and continues to be a great supporter and source of inspiration.
Chris Delia of Surrey based Carillion Guitars has created the most beautiful tribute to the campaign in the shape of his "Troubatar", made almost exclusively from local timbers. Martin Guitars have also donated one of their Backpackers. Both guitars, among other items, are to be auctioned at the end of the campaign.
My band, Bommerillo, released their long awaited Ten Thousand Reasons singlehttp://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bommerillo3 to raise funds for the campaign. It is also available on iTunes, Amazon and all good download sites.
What began as a one off idea to raise money for a local cancer charity, has now become an inspirational campaign that will bring a positive angle to the terrifying subject of cancer. It is, in a way, as much about raising the spirits of sufferers and their loved ones as it is about raising money for the charity.
I am so thankful for donations and contributions from people and organisations so far, and I really believe that if everyone spreads the word and gets behind the campaign, we can raise many thousands of pounds for The Royal Marsden!
So, join me on this adventure, come along for the ride lets do something EXTRORDINARY!!!
For more info:
Many thanks for your time, PLEASE spread the word, see you at the top!!!
*Tallest Tree in Britain was a 213ft Grand Fir at Ardkinglas Estate, Scotland. It was also the tallest tree in Northern Europe at the time but has since sadly been overtaken by a 217ft Douglas Fir at Reelig Glen, Scotland - maybe I'll climb that too, one day!:)
**Tallest tree in the world is Hyperion, a Coast Redwood in California that stands at over 380ft. I have thus far been refused permission by the U.S. Parks Authority to climb this tree. They threatened me with imprisonment and a hefty fine - I'll take that as a maybe!;D In the meantime, another legally climbable tree may be the only alternative if permission isn't granted.