Laurie Holloway Trio

Laurie Holloway,musical director for Michael Parkinson’s chat shown and for the first three series of Strictly Come Dancing, gave a concert at Holy Trinity Church in Cookham on Friday night in aid of Elizabeth House, Cookham’s day centre for independent senior citizens. 

In the first half, a chamber orchestra made up of local professional musicians led by Julie Dawkes Bentley played some of Laurie’s own compositions. 

In total contrast, the Laurie Holloway Trio with Laurie on piano, Harold Fisher on drums and Dave Olney on bass kicked off the second half with a medley of Beatles songs.  The set interspersed instrumental jazz from the Trio with songs from two talented young singers Emily Ashcroft and Jake Willett who sang standards and music from the shows.

Audience applause filled Holy Trinity Church Cookham to the rafters at the end of this fundraising event which raised around £1,500 for Elizabeth House.


Cup cake heaven

Our first ever stall at the Cookham Dean Village Fair was a great success.  Friends and supporters baked and iced delicious cupcakes and enough people visited to raise £200! 

We’ll be back next year.




Elizabeth House at Cookham Regatta

Elizabeth House had a wonderful spot at the Regatta this year – just about at the finish line for the boat races – which gave the crews the perfect excuse to try and win a bottle or two on our now infamous stall. We are always very fortunate to receive our target 250 bottles and the bottle that was most coveted this year was a Gordons’ Sloe gin! Thanks to all who took part – we raised £636.90 and had a lovely day.

Elizabeth House AGM report

The annual general meeting of Elizabeth House was held in July.  Chairman Chris Harris announced that the Cookham day centre for independent senior citizens had enjoyed another successful year.

“In 2017-2018 we embarked on an ambitious programme of works that included replacing the lift and boilers, and completely renovating the day room: installing air-conditioning, lighting and audio visual equipment. The cost was partly funded by grants, bequests and donations from the Cookham Festival and the Cookham Bridge Rotary Club, topped up from our own funds.

“We are now well placed to move forward, with a well-maintained building and a contemporary interior that fully meets our practical daily needs.

Chris thanked the staff and the superb team of volunteers “who make this place ‘hum’ every day, contributing to a warm, happy, caring and enjoyable environment”.

Lady Aurelia Young, president of Elizabeth House, presented certificates to former trustees with more than five years’ service and badges to the volunteers.

A first class day out

A coachload of members of Elizabeth House and helpers enjoyed a splendid day out at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, thanks to the generosity of a local benefactor.

Their first stop was the excellent café in the Visitor Centre for refreshments and home made cakes and they later returned for a buffet lunch. 

There was plenty to see across the extensive site.  Amongst the attractions was a Travelling Post Office where they could learn about the Great Train Robbery which took place nearby in 1963 and sort envelopes under expert guidance.

By common consent the highlight was a short steam train ride – as Elizabeth House manager Miriam Blazey had arranged the visit on a ‘steaming day’.  Riding in old fashioned railway carriages with a corridor certainly brought memories flooding back!  

Definitely the best quiz in town (on the night)!

Regular quizmaster John Sykes put the general knowledge of Elizabeth House supporters to the test with his challenging and well-researched questions.  Trustee Jill Cruse and helpers cooked and served a delicious meal and Bernadette Clark (pictured) sold raffle tickets on the night.  This fundraising event raised over £1,625 for Cookham’s much loved day centre. 

New community seating outside Elizabeth House

The Co-op last year donated over £5,000 from their Local Community Fund to Elizabeth House. 

“This funding had to be for a community project rather than specifically for Elizabeth House members”, explains manager Miriam Blazey.  “We noticed that many people sat on the bench outside in the sunshine but this is now 16 years old!

“With the Co-op money we have replaced the seating with benches made from recycled plastic, added new entrance and exit signs and are waiting for another bench, new planters, a bird feeder and some garden whirligigs for everyone to enjoy.” 

April outing to Waterperry Gardens in Oxfordshire

Thanks to a generous benefactor, a coachload of members, volunteers and staff from Elizabeth House went to Waterperry Gardens for lunch and a wander around the gardens.

We arrived, had a quick coffee and then visited the onsite museum full of old brewery memorabilia, farming and village life – with a few surprises!  Who knew that sheep and goats could have little welly boots for their feet?

Returning to café, we enjoyed an amazing roast chicken dinner, apple pie and cream and tea or coffee, then spent time shopping, visiting to the old church to see the stained glass windows or walking in the grounds. There is so much to see at Waterperry Gardens that members have asked to come back for a longer visit later in the year.

Next outing  (proposed dated Wednesday 18 July) to Buckinghamshire Railway Centre near Aylesbury where we are hoping to ride on a steam train!  Please speak to Miriam for more information.

First impressions of day room

First impressions count!  Members returning to Elizabeth House from their four week move to the Cookham Dean Cricket Club said ‘it’s like a luxury hotel’ when they first stepped into the dayroom, then looked around to see the different features.  

Interior designer Sarah Swain had involved members in the design process and the new look dayroom now has comfortable seating, better lighting, air conditioning; a storage unit with TV and audio facilities and new carpeting. 

This refurbishment was made possible thanks in part to bequests from past members Dorothy Stevens and Jack Tomlin.  

In the dining room ‘state of the art’ presentation equipment has been installed as a result of a generous donation from the Cookham Festival.  This will also enhance the value of Elizabeth House to external groups wishing to hire the room for meetings and presentations. 

“We aimed to upgrade the building to modern standards, to provide a more comfortable environment for members and to incorporate new technology capable of allowing future flexibility – and with Bill Bennett’s project management skills, we have achieved this”, said chairman of the trustees Chris Harris.

“We used local contractors where possible: Build Trade Ltd, Degrees of Comfort; Climate Solutions and David Butler.  Both Bill and Sarah both generously gave their time to the project free of charge, for which we are immensely grateful”.

The refurbishment project was enabled by generous grants from The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, The Shanly Foundation and the Louis Baylis (Maidenhead Advertiser) Charitable Trust.  Elizabeth House is also fortunate to receive donations from local individuals and organisations, such as The Spice Merchant and Cookham Bridge Rotary Club, who recently raised £5,000 from a concert by the London Welsh Male Voice Choir at Taplow Court.


Memento of Taplow Concert

Cookham’s Geraint Lewis, singer in the London Welsh Male Voice Choir, presented a framed photo to commemorate the choir’s concert at Taplow Court.  The concert, organised by Cookham Bridge Rotary Club, raised £5,000 for Elizabeth House.