Blog 4th November – Dan Walker and Strictly

Father Help Me Acknowledge You” featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from the album I Look Up To The Heavens recorded and produced by John Hodgkinson.

I am probably in the minority when I say that I do not watch “Strictly Come Dancing”. I have watched it in the past and I think Craig Revel– Horwood and his “Disaster Darling” comment are brilliant but for me a lot of the dancers who do really well are trained dancers already.
However, Sports Commentator Dan Walker is definitely not a trained dancer and I am so pleased that he has not yet been eliminated. (I may not watch it but I still ask Caroline, my wife how Dan is doing)
Dan is a personal favourite of mine (as a commentator not dancer!) and featured in my blog of July 17th 2020- and here he is again as the focus of today’s blog. Why? Because like me he is not a Halloween fan. Here is the story, courtesy of Premier Christian Media, of why he did not dress up in “spooky clothes” as many of the other contestants (and jury) did.
Strictly Come Dancing contestant Dan Walker opted for silly over spooky on Saturday’s Halloween special, saying he doesn’t celebrate the occasion.
While most of the show’s stars embraced a scary theme in their performances, the Christian broadcaster danced a fishy jive with partner Nadiya Bychkova to the B-52’s ‘Rock Lobster’ in matching lobster costumes.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Walker explained that the Strictly team had made an exception for him and allowed him to avoid the Halloween theme due to his beliefs.
“So, we don’t celebrate Halloween in our house and I’ve got to say a huge thank you to Strictly because they enabled me to be a part of that programme without sort of doing Halloween.”
Walker went on to explain that he wanted to set a good example for his children by living by the standards he teaches them.
“And our kids, they would normally go to a light party on Halloween weekend or whenever that might be and I couldn’t go on that programme and be a disingenuous dad.
“Anybody who’s got children and they talk to their children about what they can do and what they can’t do and why they do things a certain way…
“And I can’t say, ‘Do as I say but not as I do’, so that’s where the lobsters came from.”
This is not the first time the BBC Breakfast host has made public stands for his faith. Early in his career he made a choice not to work on Sundays, something he has maintained to this day. He has also spoken out about his belief that God created the world, a view that has received some negative responses in the press.
Speaking to Premier, Walker explained that his ‘strong faith’ informs who he is and is integral to his existence.
Responding to media backlash he added: “I never mind what people write about me, or say about me, because, as a Christian, I don’t take my value from what people think about me. I know that I’m valued.”
Dan and Nadiya’s jive earned them a score of 27 from the judges on Saturday, putting them low on the leader board at number eight.

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Blog October 28th – The Cross – Jewellery?

Love is Patient, Love is Kind from the album Love is the Way featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard – recorded and produced by John Hodgkinson

I was one of the countless people in front of my tv screen cheering on Emma Raducanu to victory in the recent US Woman’s Tennis Open. I have to say I was less than impressed when she ditched her coach – but that’s another story.
I noticed Emma was wearing a cross around her neck while she was playing- I could not find anything to suggest she was a Christian but I did hope she was. I then noticed in a later interview in which she was glamorously dressed that a large gold neckless and not a Cross adorned her neck. This made me wonder if she had just worn the cross when playing as a piece of jewellery rather than as a statement of faith.
This reminded me of the story of a young woman that went into a Jewellery shop and asked the shop assistant if she could see their range of crosses. When the assistant returned with a number of them, the young woman exclaimed “No, not one of those – I want one with a little man on it.”
How sad!

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Blog October 21st “What goes around comes around”

As regular blog readers will know I read “Word for Today” and the other day I read this which I would like to share:

In the late nineteenth century, a member of parliament went to Scotland to make an important speech. He travelled to Edinburgh by train, then took a horse-drawn carriage southward to his destination. But the roads were bad and the carriage became mired in mud. A Scottish farm boy came to the rescue of the team of horses and helped to pull the carriage loose. The member of parliament asked the boy how much he owed him. ‘Nothing,’ the lad replied. ‘Are you sure?’ the politician pressed, but the boy declined payment. ‘Well, is there anything I can do for you? What do you want to be when you grow up?’ The boy responded, ‘I want to be a doctor’. The member of parliament offered to help the young Scot go to university, and sure enough he followed through on his pledge. More than a half century later Winston Churchill lay dangerously ill with pneumonia; stricken while attending a wartime conference in Morocco. A new ‘wonder drug’ was administered to him, a drug called penicillin that had been discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming. You’ve guessed it: Fleming was the young Scottish lad who came to the aid of the member of parliament. And the member of parliament was none other than Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchill’s father. Yes, what goes around comes around. Jesus told the truth when He said, ‘Give, and it will be given to you.’ So, when God tells you to sow a seed of kindness into the life of someone else, it’s because He has a harvest of blessing waiting for you somewhere down the road.

Todays featured video/song is the last extract from our demo reel of “Theophilus The Musical”- the sequel to “Risen- The Musical” – and as I said last week we have been asked to put on a hybrid musical/concert version next year so please watch this space!

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Derek Prince

Blog October 14th “Balloons in a Room”

There is a great post that has been doing the rounds on social media – here is a simple version I would like to share today:

A wise teacher once brought balloons to school, told her pupils to blow them up and write their name on one. After the children tossed their balloons into the hall, the teacher moved through the hall mixing them all up. The kids were given five minutes to find the balloon with their name on it, but though they searched frantically, no one found their own balloon.

Then the teacher told them to take the balloon closest to them and give it to the person whose name was on it. In less than two minutes, everyone was holding their own balloon.
The teacher said to the children, “These balloons are like happiness. We won’t find it when we’re only searching for our own, but if we care about someone else’s happiness- it will ultimately help us to find our own.”
I have also shared another extract from the demo reel of our forthcoming musical “Theophilus – The Musical.” Actually, we have been asked to put on a hybrid musical/concert version next year so watch this space!

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Blog October 7th “Sophie’s Final Journey”


I have been sharing the story of Sophie’s journey and could not leave it without this most poignant episode.


The featured video and photographs re tell the day so well but I am going to give the final word to Charlotte – Sophie’s amazing mum.


What an incredible day yesterday. I was so worried about it and something not going to plan. I didn’t finish the PowerPoint slide show until 1am of the day of the funeral. Amelia then didn’t sleep very well as she was anxious about things.

Thankfully the day went like clockwork and it was the perfect send off for our beautiful warrior princess. So much time went in to organising everything yesterday and I couldn’t have done it all on my own. I have the best friends around who all helped me organise things when I needed them. I had my trusted spreadsheet helping me work through everything including the invite list which gave me a lot of sleepless nights.

Amelia also decided at the last minute she wanted to do a reading in the church. It was a quick case of finding one she was happy to read and writing it out for her.

The turnout from the village and wider community was truly unbelievable. The horse and carriage was stunning, so fitting for the princess that Sophie was. The horse and carriage came from a company in London who wanted to give it to us free! We put the tiara that Holly Willoughby gave her on top of the coffin. Going past so many of you who took your time out to pay your respects was incredible. It brought me to tears in the car. When Lucy and Amelia joined the horse and carriage for the final bit it was so moving. To see them support their sister is something they won’t forget. Thank you to everyone involved in decorating the village, it looked so full of colour.

The church service was beautiful. The vicar Richard England was incredible, he pitched it just right. Gareth and myself carried Sophie into the church along with two others from the funeral directors. We wanted to take Sophie on her final steps and be by her side. The song by Jo Downs (The Arc of a rainbow) played when we entered and it was so perfect. Lucy was in tears from arriving at the church and I had put her first to speak but then I was worried about if she could do it after seeing her so upset. She wiped away her tears stood up and shared her words in front of a few hundred people. That takes some strength at 15 and I’m so proud of her. Amelia then stood up and said her words which was perfect and she spoke so well. Again a really difficult thing to do for your sisters funeral. Sophie would’ve loved it that they both did this for her.

Richard then read out the eulogy which I wrote and he delivered it so well. Then Lorraine Phillips (Executive Head teacher) of Sophie’s school shared lots of memories which was really touching. I then had my piece to share. When Richard said it would be a good idea for someone to talk about the last year of Sophie’s life and legacy I just knew it had to be me. It’s been my journey with Sophie and I knew it was going to be hard but I had to do it.

Even through my practice runs I cried reading it I kept saying I just need to do it. Sophie hated my crying and would often tell me to calm down and pull myself together. I think Sophie gave me the strength to get through it as I wanted to do her story justice.

We had a beautiful montage of photos along with music which was put together by Dan (a colleague of my sister in law).

Our friend Andy Vaughan read a beautiful poem we found about passing over. Everything was just perfect.

The immediate family then headed to Portchester crematorium and on the way Fareham Fire Station had pulled out the trucks and stood out to pay their respects, a beautiful tribute.

After the crematorium we headed back to The Crofton Club for the wake. We had lots of children’s activities arranged as I didn’t want them to feel it was a sad and sombre day – that was never Sophie. My friend Kayrn organised so many things (huge thanks). We had the extremely talented man ( The Bowtie Balloon Guy) making balloons for all the children and adults, he gave his time up for free and I would definitely recommend him. We had arts and craft activities provided by The Creation Station Hampshire Fareham. We had cinnamon swirls provided for free by Sainsbury’s in Fareham thanks to Teresa Panks. Rainbow cookies were made by For Bakes Sake UK which tasted delicious.

The food was provided by Wright Choice Catering and tasted delicious. A huge thank you to Neon & Blush Weddings and Events who provided all the balloons in the church and in the Crofton Club. She’s absolutely incredible as this is the fourth event she’s given up her time for free for us – if you ever need balloons Claire is your lady! Thank you so much to Jo from Driftwood and Daisies Florist and Flower School who did all the flowers for the funeral as well as the table displays at the club, they were stunning and it’s great to support a local business.

So many people attended the wake and I’m sorry I couldn’t see you all. Quite a few I missed even those that came such a long way, we really do appreciate the effort people put in to attending and giving Sophie the best send off possible. She even gave us so many rainbows yesterday morning which was so fitting. I’m just glad it didn’t rain when the horse and carriage went through the village.

We couldn’t have asked for anymore. I’m so pleased we gave Sophie the send off she deserved. The funeral directors Co-op Funeralcare in the village went above and beyond. I would like to particularly praise Grace who from start to finish was so professional, caring and thought of everything. She’s only 23 and took so much care of Sophie from when she arrived at our house to take Sophie to Naomi House right through to the very end.

It’s now the hardest time for us as things settle back to normal, people carry on with their lives and we have to adjust to living without Sophie. It definitely will be the hardest part especially when I get reminders that I only have two living children now. I logged on to get some more medication for Amelia and noticed I only have Lucy and Amelia as my children attached to my name. It would’ve been nice to have had a phone call or letter from the surgery but nothing, not even to see how Gareth or myself are. It was lovely seeing the Stubbington doctor surgery all stood outside when we passed yesterday and they had a huge balloon rainbow arch outside (these are not our doctors!).

You can still watch the full service on the Holy Rood Church Facebook page if you didn’t catch it yesterday. I will also post a video of the horse and carriage which is just stunning.


Thank you so much for what has been the most difficult times of our lives. We really felt the community spirit and support yesterday and we’ll never forget that.


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Blog October 1st “Sophie’s Journey Continues”

Sophie and Charlotte Fairall

Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled – featuring Ben Morris from the album “Risen! The Musical” recorded and produced by Joffy Girling

I have been sharing the story of Sophie’s journey and wish to do so again via this video to tell the story of how her horrible illness and tragic death have inspired so many, many people and have raised the awareness of the underfunding of childhood cancer.

I also have to share this video with you – it really does exemplify the impact that Sophie had – I have never heard of a professional football match being stopped (after ten minutes – Sophie’ age) to allow everyone, and I mean everyone, players, coaches and fans from both teams to join together with a minute’s round of applause.

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Blog September 23rd “The Arc of a Rainbow” – Official Dance Video

In my blog of August 26th, I shared this song written by ex-Crofton pupil, Jo Downs. Here is an extract from Jo’s explanation of why she wrote the song which is now accompanied by the featured wonderful dance video:

“Sophie was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive form of cancer, Rhabdomyosarcoma at the age of 9 in September 2020. She had a large tumour removed and went on to have 9 months of very aggressive, intensive chemotherapy to try and eliminate the cancer. Devastatingly, the tumour returned this April and her family have had to make the decision to not put Sophie through any further treatment and allow her to enjoy fulfilling her bucket list of life experiences in the time she has left.”

I can tell you that people like Ed Sheeran, Gordon Ramsey, Mason Mount and Jack Grealish helped Sophie enjoy much of her bucket list. I can also tell you that Sophie’s story of bravery inspired so many people that 9.9k people have so far commented when Sophie’s mum, Charlotte had to tell everyone that tragically on Saturday morning her beautiful Sophie died.

It is my privilege to share a post from Sophie’s beloved mother

My name is Charlotte Fairall and I do not want other mums to have to suffer the most horrendous cancer journey like I have. No mother should have to witness their child enduring the most horrific pain caused by cancer, or to witness the debilitating after-effects of outdated and harmful treatments.
My beautiful daughter, Sophie, at just 10 years of age, was taken from us on 18th September 2021 by this horrid disease.
At no point during this last year, has Sophie given up, or not lived-up to her end of the bargain. She has fought hard, she’s been relentless in her fight, she’s shown dogged determination and spirit throughout her journey. SHE did not lose the fight to cancer, she was let down by the lack of funding, research, awareness and support available for children with cancer.
Sophie’s legacy will be one dedicated to the cause for real and impactful CHANGE in outcomes for children with cancer. During the long periods of painful, tiring and draining rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Sophie told me that she wanted CHANGE. She wanted things to be better for future children who endure this battle. Better food, better play, better care, kinder treatments and better support for parents.
Here’s how we can make CHANGE.
Most people will not be aware of the frankly shocking statistics around funding for childhood cancer. Only 3-4% of government cancer research funding in the UK is fully dedicated to childhood cancer.
Yet, cancer is the number one killer of children age 0-14 by disease in the UK. So, how can governments and cancer research organisations justify the pitiful % of funds that go in to identifying cures and new treatments for childhood cancer?!
Why isn’t this an issue of national importance? Why are we still allowing beautiful children like Sophie to endure the most horrific end to their lives because drug companies and Government feel as though these children are not worth it?
We need to stand together and make this CHANGE. It will be Sophie’s legacy.
Sophie’s cancer was a form of Sarcoma, known as Anaplastic Rhabdomyosarcoma. It is extremely rare. Accounting for 3% of childhood cancer cases each year. Sadly, survival rates for Sarcomas remain very low and on relapse, there is only an 8-20% chance of survival.
Sarcomas are cancers that can resemble bone or soft tissues. Rhabdomyosarcomas are the most common soft tissue sarcomas that occur in children and they tend to look like developing muscle or fibrous tissue. It is a highly aggressive form of childhood cancer with a variety of subtypes such as embryonal and alveolar which influence the outcome. They can originate in almost any part of the body and are commonly seen in the head and neck, abdomen, chest and bladder. There are around 70 new cases in the UK each year. They are currently treated using a combination of surgery (if possible), chemotherapy and radiotherapy which results in debilitating short- and long-term side-effects.
The long-term side-effects are just horrific. Children who endure these archaic and damaging chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, often must deal with life-long, serious heart conditions, kidney issues, fertility problems and cognitive issues. These are just a few of the side-effects. The harsh treatments used such as cytotoxic drugs and radiotherapy, are so toxic that some children die not from the cancer, but from the actual treatments.
Here are some of the statistics that we need to CHANGE:
– About 1,900 children (up to the age of 15) are diagnosed in the UK with cancer each year
– Around 240 children in the UK die from cancer each year. This is more than 4 children each week.
– Only 4 new drugs have been approved in the last 20 years to treat childhood cancers
– Drugs used to treat Rhabdomyosarcoma and have seen very little change in treatment or research in decades! Some of the cancer drugs Sophie was given, haven’t changed since the 1960s.
Sophie’s legacy will be one of hope for children with cancer. During her fight, Sophie often talked about the changes she wanted to make for other children in the future. She didn’t want others to have suffer like she’s suffered. Sophie wanted more to be done. Sophie demanded CHANGE and it will be my life’s work to make this CHANGE.
Together we can all make an impact, and with Sophie’s star shining brightly above us, we won’t rest.

Charlotte Fairall. In memory of Sophie Fairall – 12/08/2011 – 18/09/2021.

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Blog September 16th The Eternal Wall of Prayer

Bathe Me In Your Light – featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from the album “I Look Up To The Heavens” recorded and produced by John Hodginson

Some weeks ago, I received a message out of the blue from an old friend, Jon Gamble, who I had not spoken to since we were at college together – King Alfred’s College, Winchester to be exact. He had not been a PE but an Art student and we had got to know each other by working together on the College Social Society, organising concerts and the like.
Jon created the promotional artwork (which was brilliant) and I booked the bands and venues. We had some success, but also one total disaster when no one and I mean no one (except the band members themselves) turned up at for a concert I had organised at The Guildhall, Winchester. I remember one of the bands being “The Alan Bown Set” who were pretty big at the time. I still have nightmares dreaming of the expected long queue of people waiting to come in but who never did. I should make it clear that there had been no drop in the quality of Jon’s promotional artwork, it was just that I had not got round to putting any of his promotional artwork (i.e., posters) up!!
Anyway, Jon and I have been having some great phone calls, sometimes reminiscing on college “good old times,” including what happened to ex-girlfriends, but we have also had some very interesting discussions on “life.” In addition, it turns out that Jon’s son is Richard Gamble who, as some of you may know, is the one with the vision of the amazing project- “The Eternal Wall of Prayer.”

To explain all about “The Eternal Wall of Prayer” please open the ITV interview video at the start of today’s blog and also this link –– the latest “Theophilus-The Musical” extract can wait till next week.

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Blog September 9th Ibrahim Hamato

In the last few weeks, I have featured the inspirational speaker Nicky Vujicic who has no arms or legs. I have now discovered another amazing man who has no arms, Egyptian Ibrahim Hamato, but who plays table tennis with his mouth!
He took part in the recent Para Olympics but today’s video shows him playing against a “Table Tennis You Tuber.”
Ibrahim who lost both arms in an accident when he was ten years old really does exemplify that “nothing is impossible” or as Nicky Vujicic puts it ” If you don’t get a miracle become one.”
Today’s other video is another extract from Mustard Seed’s forthcoming “Theophilus The Musical”

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Blog September 2nd Nicky Vujicic – Part Two”

You are my Rock – featuring the Mustard Seed Soul Band with Ross Gill on vocals. Recorded live at a Mustard Seed Concert.

Two weeks ago, I posted a video of Nicky Vujicic, the inspirational guy who was born with no arms or legs (just what he calls his “chicken drumstick” foot) He said something in that video that really touched me – something like “I may not have hands to hold my wife’s hand but if it happens, I can still hold her heart.”
Having re visited the video I realised that there was a part missing from the video I would show those pupils at Crofton School that I was mentoring. It featured Nicky stating that it’s not the end until you have given up. The featured video shows him making this point most dramatically, starting around 4 mins 50 secs.
Also, Nicky has been able to hold the heart of Kanae, his beautiful wife as can be seen in the second of the videos, which also shows his lovely children.

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