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How a memorable meal led to a Tough Mudder

When Lynne Bennett was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 at just 51 she wasn’t too worried as it was found early. She had a partial mastectomy and radiotherapy and got on with her life with her three children.

In 2016, Lynne had severe back pain and a bone scan detected secondary cancer in her bones; the cancer had spread and, although manageable, was no longer curable.

Lynne was given chemotherapy but had a severe reaction and at one point her doctors thought she would die; her children were called in to say goodbye. Lynne somehow managed to survive and two months later she was referred to St Joseph’s Hospice. She knew of St Joseph’s as her dad had died here in 2015. He’d only spent a day here but Lynne found it calming and the staff very loving.

Lynne started coming to Day Hospice every Wednesday, taking part in pottery, bingo, arts and singalongs and enjoying her weekly chats. She also came in for Complementary Therapies and counselling to help her deal with her pain and her diagnosis.

Art is a big part of life at St Joseph’s and the Day Hospice patients were asked if they wanted to take part in a project called memorable meals, a project using art to show what a particular meal means to them.

Lynne’s memorable meal is Calçotada, a traditional Spanish dish that reminds her of the time when she was teaching English in Tarragona, Catalunya in the mid 1980’s and 2000’s.

Lynne said, “In the winter months, my Spanish friends and I would go up to the rugged hillsides around Tarragona to have a Calçotada with lots of wine!  They came armed with hundreds of calçots (looking like large spring onions), newspaper and home-made romesco sauce.  On a dug-out grill, the calçots were charred, then wrapped in newspapers to steam. Then…fun: we would get so mucky by holding the blackened outsides while pulling out the soft steaming central stems. We dipped them in the delicious romesco sauce – which we held above our heads and slowly chewed…heaven!. So more-ish.”

When her memorable meals artwork was finished, Lynne approached Tapas Brindisa Shoreditch with her story and presented them with her artwork. They were very moved by her letter and charitable efforts and put the picture in pride of place in the restaurant where they were celebrating the seasonal Calçotada festival with a dedicated weekend feasting menu. Inspired by Lynne’s story, Brindisa also pledged to donate 50 pence from every Calçotada the restaurant sold to the hospice during February and March (now extended due to its popularity). So far they have raised over £230.

Eight members of the team from Tapas Brindisa Shoreditch have now gone one step further and have decided to raise more funds for St Joseph’s Hospice by taking part in Tough Mudder on the 28th April.

Lynne said, “I never expected that a favourite meal that I enjoyed so many years ago would lead to such a fabulous fundraising effort from the team at Brindisa. They recently invited me along to the restaurant with my son and two of the fundraisers from St Joseph’s Hospice and we all had a Calçotada feast. It was just as delicious as I remember.”

If you would like to support the Tapas Brindisa Shoreditch team visit justgiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/brindisa

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