At the age of 19, local baker Lawrence Gorsden found his passion for food while serving in the British army catering corps. After many years spent in London working at the famous Grodzinski Bakery in Stamford Hill, he moved back to Leeds in 1975 to establish the much-loved Chalutz kosher bakery on Harrogate Road, where he worked with his son for 30 years until the business went into liquidation in 2010. After contracting cancer, he put the baking on ice, but once he makes a full recovery, Lawrence hopes to share his expertise with the UHC shul kitchen.
“I spent six months receiving chemotherapy every three weeks at the Bexley Wing and the service I received was fantastic. Speaking to my wonderful oncologist Dr Johnson, I was told the unit was desperate for funds.”
Combining a love for music with a desire to give something back to those that helped him through his illness, Lawrence has brought together a talented line-up of musicians to perform in an effort to raise as much money as possible for the dedicated cancer care unit.
“I saw doctors, nurses, cleaners and even those making tea and coffee working so hard. I want the money to help the lives of fellow cancer sufferers by improving facilities, but I also hope it will contribute to better conditions for all those employees.”
The concert, to be held in the foyer of the Bexley Wing itself will be hosted by Natalie Pearce and will feature speeches from those who have received cancer treatment in the past, including Sophie Fisher, Jacob Ziff and Lawrence himself.
The extensive musical line-up for the event will feature live ensembles including Alan Harris and his Hot Rhythm and Blues Band and Phil Cammerman with traditional klezmer accompaniment. It will also feature vocalists including cantor Albert Sebastian Chait, Susan and Steven Wilcox and Maggie McDonald, mezzo-soprano for the Hallé Choir in Manchester. Lawrence, a renowned vocalist, plans to perform once again, after wowing last year’s audience with a sterling rendition of Bring Them Home from Les Misérables.
Entry is free and everyone is welcome: “We want as many people as possible to come down. Buckets will be going around and people can put in whatever they can, there’s no pressure to donate – but you can be sure there will be top quality music on the night!”
Lawrence’s musical fundraising event will be held in the foyer of the Bexley Wing at St James’ Hospital on 17th March from 2 – 4pm.