WEDNESDAY 7 DECEMBER 2011 • A VISIT TO THE JOHN RADCLIFFE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL
A Visit to the John Radcliffe Children's Hospital
On Monday, laden with boxes of Le Manoir mince pies and gingerbread men, I visited the John Radcliffe Hospital Children’s ward.
It was the most humbling experience. I met with the children, most of them affected by serious illnesses; I can honestly say they make you realise how lucky we are. They were some of the most inspirational and courageous children that I’ve ever met.
They had already prepared beautiful shortbreads for me and cut them into delightful Christmassy shapes - trees, baubles and teddy bears – such a lovely and touching gesture.
I was there in part because I wanted the children to enjoy the therapy of cooking – smelling, tasting and touching. While learning and cooking with the children I was told that this was the most enjoyable therapeutic activity for just these reasons – as well as creating a lovely mess and having huge amounts of fun. I learnt so much from these amazing children and cooking with them was a huge bonus.
Every child engaged with me except for one. He was a little chap who sat in the corner and didn’t interact with anyone. I tried my hardest to make him smile, but I didn’t succeed. But I received my reward later. When I was about to leave the room, this sad little boy put a smile on his face and….blew me a kiss.
Coming back to Le Manoir I was eager to relate this experience to my guests and team. I seized my opportunity as that night was our second carol concert and for my sins I was the reader at the service in our local church of St Mary’s.
I hope that my British friends understood what I was talking about!! I think they did...
Whilst reading from the height of the Pulpit, I related my experience to my friends and guests. While we feast over Christmas with our families and loved ones, it is good to remember that all around the world there will be people who can’t for so many different reasons.
Just like many of those children in the hospital who will not have what we have and will not be able to go home at Christmas. I hope you will join me in thinking of them as we celebrate and enjoy our good fortune.
On 15 December at 6.30pm, Raymond did a book signing at Waterstone's in Oxford. There will be a raffle, with a prize of dinner for two at Le Manoir. The raffle raised £176.55 for the John Radcliffe Children's Hospital.
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Raymond Blanc's new book, Kitchen Secrets, featuring recipes from Kitchen Secrets Series 1 & 2 and many more, was published by Bloomsbury on 14 February and is available to buy online from Amazon, from Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Brasserie Blanc, Maison Blanc, and from online and retail bookstores.
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