By Pat Murphy, Malcolm Richards and Graham Silk
Last July, a much-loved cricketer and friend of so many, sadly died of leukaemia, aged only 55. Andy Payne left a widow, three children and a massive gap among mates accumulated in the West Midlands down the years at King’s Heath, BBC Midlands and Belbroughton PfP Strollers cricket clubs – not to mention the team on BBC’s Gardeners’ World, where he was such a valued and popular cameraman.
Andy was great for getting on with things, no waffling but action. So instead of moping around, saying how much we all miss such a great team-mate and friend, we’ve decided to be practical and try to organise something in his memory.
Andy died in Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the base for world-class scientists and clinicians who battle against blood cancer.
An appeal has been launched by Cure Leukaemia to help raise £1m that will help enhance the Centre for Clinical Haemotology’s ambition to establish effective treatments of all blood cancers within 25 years. This would help fund even more vital research, enhancing Birmingham’s global reputation.
In tandem with that fantastic aim and appeal, Andy’s many friends are trying something tangible to commemorate what he meant to us. We are looking to raise £30,000 to establish the 'Andy Payne Fund a Leukaemia Nurse' project.
A bit of a mouthful, yes, but it simply means paying for an extra specialist nurse who can administer vital research.
That nurse will be specially trained in exact disease diagnosis and how to help the patient progress. The necessary trials with drugs will be researched by the nurse (conforming to Dept of Health standards), acting as the crucial link between doctors,patients and the drugs developers.
The money can't buy, silent auction
Auction Ends 16th August 19.00hrs except Lot 15 which closes 30th July.
So just how do we reach our £30k target? We hope you agree there are a few auction items in here that could fairly be described as in the 'Money Can't Buy' category. We have listed just a few of the items but to see all 20+ lots, visit the website HERE.
A batting masterclass with Ian Bell - A batting masterclass in the Edgbaston nets with IAN BELL, Warwickshire captain, with over a hundred England Test caps. Ian will put you through your paces for an hour, ironing out your various technical defects. You’re bound to emerge a better player!
A Match of the Day Studio Experience - Join Gary Lineker to see the most popular sports programme in the country go out live at the BBC Studios in Salford. Sit in on the analysis meeting with Gary and his studio guests, see them debate the programme's running order then watch the transmission go out live in the studio gallery with the production team.
A Monty Don Garden Visit - An exclusive visit to your garden from MONTY DON, the presenter of BBC TV’s Gardeners’ World programme. Monty will come along to give tips on how to improve the current state of your garden, then offer advice for next year.
An England Football Team Exerience Day - A day out at St George’s Park, England’s football centre, early in October to see the senior squad training at close quarters before two World Cup qualifiers. Then a tour of St George’s Park, a unique look behind the scenes, conducted by Aidy Boothroyd, England’s Under-21 manager.
A coaching session with Chris Woakes - Join the England all-rounder and Player of the Year in the nets at his home Edgbaston ground for a one hour lesson in how to improve both your batting and bowling. A kindly chap, Chris will concentrate on the good aspects of your game and encourage with tips.
A Radio 5 Live Studio Experience - Get behind the scenes with the nation’s biggest football phone-in. Join Robbie Savage in the Radio 5Live studio on a Saturday night in Salford. Sit in the control room,watching the calls come through and watch how the 606 producer and Robbie react to what the fans want to talk about.
Lunch with Martin O'Neil and Stiliyan Petrov - Join them at a classy pub restaurant in rural Worcestershire to discuss Aston Villa, Glasgow Celtic, Brian Clough, playing and managing in World Cups and Euros. And fighting leukaemia. Pat Murphy from BBC's Radio Five Live will pour the drinks and handle the selfies.
Around Gleneagles with Ian Robertson - Join the BBC's rugby union correspondent for a round of golf on the historic PGA Ryder Cup course. Robbo will host a four ball with three others, with golf carts supplied. Lunch is included, where Robbo will regale with you with his legendary golf, rugby and horse racing anecdotes, that have entertained after-dinner audiences for decades.
An Aston Villa Experience - Come and meet the Villa manager, Steve Bruce and watch him train his players for the home match next day at Villa Park. Then pick up two tickets for the directors’ box for tomorrow’s game.
A West Bromwich Albion Experience - Join Radio 5Live’s Pat Murphy at the West Brom training ground one Friday morning. Watch West Brom’s manager Tony Pulis deal with the press conference, sit in on his radio and TV interviews, then join him on the touchline, as he finalises his preparations. He’ll even let you interview him – certain you’ll do better than the regular reporters! Then on Saturday, join Pat Murphy up in the gods on the Radio gantry at the Hawthorns and after the game come down to the dressing-room to watch all the post-match interviews.
A Birmingham City Experience - Be the matchday guests of Birmingham City's platinum sponsor No 5 Barristers' Chambers in their box at St Andrew's. Free parking, buffet and drinks for at least 4 hours. Have your photo taken with the Blues' Man-of-the-Match. A choice of 4 home games, to be negotiated.
A Wolverhampton Wanderers Experience - Come to the Wolves training ground, where you’ll meet the manager and his coaching staff and players. Watch them in training, hear what the boss is expecting from them the following day – then be treated to two tickets in the directors’ box for the game.
To view all auction lots and to bid, visit - www.jumblebee.co.uk/andypayne
It sounds a lot, £30,000 - and it will only pay for a trials nurse for a year. But if our project helps to save just one life in Andy Payne's memory, we won't have laboured in vain. Having seen how hard Andy battled in his ultimately fruitless struggle, and how much he valued the medical assistance he had at the QE, we think something like this appeal is in keeping with his uncomplaining, practical nature. He was never one for fanfares, even when scoring any of his many hundreds down the years. In the bar afterwards, you'd never know if Andy had scored a century or a duck. He treated those twin imposters just the same, as well as in the final, devastating years of his life.
There's absolutely no reason why this particular appeal for this human being should resonate with you at a time when there are so many deserving causes needing support. That would certainly be Andy's trenchant opinion.
But his countless friends are going to try this summer to make a difference.
WATCH: Andy's son Tom crosses the finish line at the 2016 Great Birmingham Run
How funds raised for Cure Leukaemia help save lives