The charity was founded by his parents in memory of George O’Brien, a chorister at the Abbey for ten years, who died suddenly on 31 October 2008 from a rare and very agressive form of cancer.
After an opeing prayer specially composed for the Trust and offered by the Vicar of Romsey, the Reverend Tim Sledge, George’s father, Joe O’Brien, spoke movingly about George’s life.
Robert Fielding then described how the Trust’s financial support would help to train and motivate boys who begin to singing alto, tenor or bass’ in the Abbey Choir when they are no longer able to sing treble. Four young men who joined George onto the ‘back row’ last year will be able, if they wish, to take singing lessons and attend choral courses; future generations choristers will similarly be able to benefit from the Trust’s generosity.
He was followed by Helen Hayes, who represented the Teenage Cancer Trust. It is seeking to raise £1.3 million towards a new unit to be built at Southampton General Hospital that will provide 10 rooms for cancer sufferers aged between 13 and 24, who would otherwise have to share wards with young children or older patients. George’s Trust is hoping to raise £100,000 towards this target.
Tim Ballantyne, a youth worker, then outlined how George’s Trust would help Youth in Romsey to provide activities in the local community for young people. George had been a keen Scout, a member of Romsey Amateur Schools Orchestra (RASO) and Romsey Area Youth Jazz Orchestra (RAYJO) and a sportsman, as well as a chorister.
The evening concluded with a toast to the Trust and the lighting of a triple-wicked candle that symbolises its three-fold mission: to support adolescent Abbey choristers, cancer care for teenagers and youth work in Romsey. Guest lingered, however to talk about their memories of George over a buffet kindly laid on by Abbey Choirmums.
Several events to raise funds for George’s Trust are planned, including concerts by RASO, RAYJO and the Abbey Choir, a firework display and a sportmens’ dinner.
To learn more about George’s Trust visit www.georgestrust.org.uk.