Eye concert for Christina
A devoted fan has organised a concert in aid of one of his favourite artists, whose daughter has inoperable cancer.
Lee Lucraft, 46, has arranged the charity concert in Eye to raise funds for soul singer Kenny Thomas.
In February last year, the singer, who now lives in Costessey, near Norwich, found out his five-year-old daughter Christina had an inoperable brain tumour.
He started fundraising for a trip to Mexico where several children are being treated for brain tumours with promising results.
Last year, ‘80s stars including Midge Ure,Tony Hadley, Kim Wilde, Martin Fry and Nik Kershaw held a special charity performance to help raise funds. The trip will cost £300,000.
Now, after first meeting the singer at a festival in Norwich two years ago, Lee has organised his own charity concert in Eye Community Centre in September this year.
Mr Thomas was so touched by the gesture, he has agreed to perform himself.
“I was a massive fan of Kenny in the ‘90s, along with artists like Luther Vandross and Alexander O’Neal, and had all of his albums as they came out,” said Lee, a courier.
“After I met him at the Reload Festival, we became friends on Facebook and would often exchange messages.
“He praised my daughter’s dancing, as she is a member of LK’s School of Dancing and I told him how upset I had been about learning about Christina.
“I wanted to do something for him and, when I told him I was planning an event, I couldn’t believe he said he would actually come and perform himself. I was chuffed.”
Mr Thomas, 50, an English soul singer, had a string of hits in the 1990s with eight UK top 40 singles and two UK top 10 albums. He was a boxer and a BT technician before turning to a singing career.
His breakthrough came in 1991 when his debut hit, Outstanding, reached number 12 in the UK singles chart. He played concerts worldwide.
News of his fundraising campaign made national headlines.
Christina was diagnosed with a mid-brain glioma and, at first, doctors felt she only had a short time to live.
Mr Thomas and his partner were told that chemotherapy and radiotherapy would prolong their daughter’s life, but not save it.
Concerned about the damaging side effects, they have been using alternative treatments while raising money to fly to Mexico for Christina to undergo immunotherapy. They have so far raised £151,000.
“I got to know Lee over Facebook and, when he said he was arranging the concert, I thought ‘I’m definitely up for that’. Lee has lived in East Anglia since he was ten but we are both from Islington, London, originally.
“The venue holds around 220 people and, though reasonably small, I said ‘OK, let’s make it special’.”
The Eye event is being held on September 1 and will also include a performance by comedian Mike McClean, also a friend of Lee’s, an ‘80s and ‘90s soul disco with Park Radio and a charity auction.
Tickets cost £25.
Christina’s treatment fund is at chuffed.org/project/christinathomas.