Joyce’s Chat Column


Three columns ago I spoke about our old friend and colleague Stuart Keane, and I said I would let you know what Stuart was up to and how you could possibly help.

Stuart’s late son Shaun was 37 years old in 2007 when he was diagnosed at Hull General Hospital with crippling Motor Neurone Disease (MND), and – obviously not wanting to believe it ­– Stuart said they should seek a second opinion, and for this they went to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield.

There, they met Professor Pam Shaw, who confirmed that Shaun did have MND.  This meant that Shaun had to have bi-monthly check-ups and during that time Stuart being Stuart got to know Professor Pam Shaw quite well, and from her he found out about the Sheffield Institute Foundation of Sheffield Transnational Neuroscience (SITraN) who were carrying out research and trying to develop more effective treatments for patients with MND, but of course they needed extra funding to continue with this research.

Stuart took the bull by the horns and said he would help them fundraise, and he contacted relatives, friends, colleagues and business associates in fact just about anyone he thought that could help, and this led to both Stuart and Shaun giving two radio interviews and numerous TV interviews to publicise the fundraising.

After an initial donation of one million pounds from Jonathan Stone (a Founder Patron) two years previously, things had slowed down.  Soon new events were held and two guys raised £700,000 walking to the South Pole. Don McIntyre an Australian re-enacted Captain Bligh’s epic voyage, this raised £150,000 and an old friend of Stuart’s donated three million pounds.

After the first five million pounds were raised, the university match funded and to date 18 million pounds have been raised and –  as previously reported – the new SITraN  building was opened by the Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.  Stuart won’t rest (and I don’t know if he will then) until he raises the one million pounds annually that’s required to fund the salaries for a new top scientist and doctors from around the world that SITraN is attracting to research MND.

Now comes the crunch, how can you help, well Christmas is just around the corner and what better time to donate, and if you don’t want to donate money maybe you could buy the disc ‘Only One Minute More’ which has been written and recorded by a friend of Stuart’s in memory of Shaun with the royalties going to the SIF, I must admit this is a lovely and emotional song and it really moved me.

Stuart is hoping to get a famous recording artist to record the song, but up to now he’s had no luck, so if any of you out there have connections with the rich and famous in this field maybe you could pull a few strings and help Stuart this way, whatever way rest assured all help will be thankfully received.

Stuart can be contacted on his landline 0113 2666146, mobile 07737 534918 or via email at

Shaun unfortunately died in 2010 but two things he used to say are things we could all a learn a lesson from and they are ‘Concentrate on what you CAN do, don’t dwell on what you can’t do’ and the other is ‘You are not properly dressed unless you are wearing a smile.’

I was talking to that well-known Irish character David Hawthorn from Larne recently, and unfortunately David informed me that he has suffered a heart attack a while ago, but he was up and running again now. Just remember Dave you will have to take life easier now, none of this running about here there and everywhere.  We want you to be around for many years to come, otherwise how am I going to travel around Northern Ireland without you?!!  Seriously though, we all wish you well and hope to see you at the shows but in the form of a more relaxed David.

Another person that has been in the wars is Harry Farr of Riverside Amusements Cornwall. Harry suffered a serious accident in his garage (these garages have a lot to answer for) when a metal bar went into his head causing him several horrific injuries.  Anyway after an operation, some of the injuries have been corrected but he has still got very bad problems with his left eye, but knowing Harry as I do, he will not let this beat him. In fact, when I spoke with him recently you would think that he hadn’t a care in the world, that’s just typical of him, he always faces things head on no matter what.  I’m sure you will all want to send Harry, his wife Clare and their family good wishes.

Staying with the same family, this time Clare’s brother Harry Parkin Junior of Exmouth Leisure. Harry too has been in the wars; he was at a golf club function when he was taken ill and fortunately there was a doctor at the same event, and the doctor got Harry to hospital right away, as he had suffered a heart attack. I am again pleased to report that he too is on the mend, and good wishes are sent to him too.

It’s a bit worrying reading the three snippits above, as it just goes to show one never knows what is around the corner, and how in this industry we all work ourselves virtually to the bone. Maybe we should learn to relax a little more and have some fun from life as this is one thing we are always trying to give to other people, so let’s give some to ourselves.

Now on a much brighter side of things!

Harry Levy Amusements’ Mick Kennedy’s wife Pin got a surprise on her birthday. She thought she was going out for a meal with Mick in the evening, but oh no! our Mick had planned a surprise for her, and when they got to the restaurant it wasn’t just Pin and Mick, he had invited friends along… Many of them Pin’s Thai friends to celebrate her birthday, and from what I can gather it was a great party. Mind you when Mick organises ‘A Bit Of A Do’ they usually are a great success, and I speak from experience as I’ve been privy to many of them.

Talking of parties and food, another person who is very handy especially on the food side is Derek Lynch of Carnaby Gaming, as Derek was once a chef at hotel in Bettystown, Ireland. Again having sampled Derek’s food I can guarantee that it is most enjoyable – no wonder Maggie his wife always looks so happy and contented! They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, maybe the roles have been reversed here…  One thing Derek if ever you decide to call it a day in the amusement industry you could maybe open a bistro/restaurant, and I would always be willing to come along and sample the food, free of charge of course!!

On an even brighter note for me at least, whilst you are all reading and hopefully enjoying the column I will be sunning myself on the white sands of Jamaica topping up my tan in time for Christmas, and I am really looking forward to this trip.  I am a fan of Jamaica and have been several times before, but something tells me this trip will be my most memorable one, I hope so.

Comments (1)

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Thanks Joyce,
And may I thank all in advance for their KIND DONATIONS
Any thing gratefully accepted, however Small or Large.
Stuart Keane

Stuart Keane
Sheffield Institute Foundation for research into Motor Neurone Disease
09/11/2011, 17:42

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