Sweet sixteen birthday-bash raises over £1,000 in memory of three special friends

Bethany Lickiss and Will Emery
Bethany Lickiss and Will Emery

On the evening of 8th February a very special concert took place in The Barn in The Causeway, Horsham.

It was in memory of three inspiring people, Valerie Newman, Paul Jinks and Laura Skuce.

Bethany Lickiss

Bethany Lickiss

The memorial concert was the brainchild of local sixteen year old Millais School girl Bethany Lickiss. Bethany, who sings with St Mary’s Church Choir and Glyndebourne Youth Opera, decided on the special event instead of having a birthday party. She said,

“On my birthday in February last year I lost a good friend in Paul Jinks, who was, with me, a choir member at St Mary’s Church. This was the second tragic event for our choir having lost Val Newman, a consultant anaesthetist at East Surrey and Crawley Hospitals just a short while before.

“Since then our lovely Kairos music leader, Laura Skuce, a professional musician, singer, songwriter and tutor, also died very young leaving three children. I wanted to pay tribute to them and make a difference to other people in their name.”

Bethany’s vision of a memorial concert seemed to be a fitting tribute to these three people who loved music, entertainment, life and fun.

They inspired her and they inspired a tremendous number of other people, both young and old. It was a truly fantastic community turn out. Over one hundred and twenty people crowded into The Barn where they were entertained by twenty two different acts.

Many people hadn’t even known each other before the event but they’d come to support Bethany and to honour these very special people. Those who couldn’t make it sent donations, gifts for the raffle and offers of help.

Bethany’s older sister Rebekah sorted out the, ‘Just Giving websites’ and the publicity as well as performing brilliantly herself.

Also roped into performing were her parents Elizabeth and Michael and her cousin Esther.

Bethany herself opened the concert in a duet with Will Emery singing “Panis Angelicus” and she finished the concert by singing “Silver” by Armstrong Gibbs and “The Life I Never Led” by Menken and Slater.

Jeremy Weaver and Mike Overend were quite wonderful accompanists, coping with a hugely diverse range of pieces for people they hadn’t even met until the day.

Other acts included a dance from The Lion King, trombone solos, sketches, piano solo, oboe duets and others. The Kairos Music Group sang a special arrangement of “The Lord’s Prayer” by Laura Skuce and the church choir sang three beautiful pieces to round off the evening, “O Magnum Mysterium”, Cantique de Jean Racine” and “Ave Maria” which were favourites of Val, Paul and Laura.

Many people from the church and local community gave their support, decorating the hall and helping with organising the food and bar.

The event was sponsored by St Mary’s Parish Church, The Co-Operative Funeralcare (Horsham), Simmans Consulting Ltd and Art Studio (Billingshurst) and The Cook Shop Horsham.

The money is still coming in however the total amount raised so far is in access of £1,100.

This amount will be shared evenly between the three charities.

Bethany is delighted and said, “I secretly wanted to raise £1,000 but it seemed an almost impossible dream, but thanks to family and friends that dream has come true”.

Donations can still be made to any of these via the Just Giving web links below.

www.justgiving.com/Bethany-Lickiss-CR - (Cancer Research)

www.justgiving.com/Bethany-Lickiss-SCH - (St. Catherine’s Hospice)

www.justgiving.com/Bethany-Lickiss-SA - (Stroke Association)