Scout Book launch at Sutton Coldfield Cancer Support Centre

What: Wellbeing Day and Book Launch
Where: The Cancer Support Centre, Lindridge Road, Sutton Coldfield, B75 6JB
When: Saturday 21 January, 11am – 3pm

An inspirational scout leader from Sutton Coldfield is launching his latest book between 11am – 3pm on Saturday 21st January at the Cancer Support Centre, Lindridge Road, Sutton Coldfield – and all of the proceeds are going to the charity.

Ian Henery with Jeremy Cunningham from The Levellers

Ian Henery with Jeremy Cunningham from The Levellers

The latest book by Ian Henery, Assistant Scout District Commissioner for Development, focuses on trying to get his life back following being struck down by a viral infection which paralysed his left diaphragm. He went from a fit and healthy man who successfully completed the 3 Peak Challenge in 2007 and 2008 (three highest mountains of England, Scotland and Wales in 24 hours for charity to being semi-disabled overnight.

Ian, who is Managing Director of Ian Henery Solicitors in Birmingham, said:

“As part of my training for the 3 Peak Challenge”, said Ian, “I used to run across the Malvern Hills. After the viral infection I couldn`t run up the stairs, let alone run a bath.”

Treatment for the lung included Bowen Therapy, reflexology and acupuncture. Ian competed in various timed Scout hikes including the Cotswolds Marathon with Gloucester Scouts and the Chase Walk across Cannock Chase with Sutton Coldfield Scouts but his lung remained inoperative. “My diaphragm was flat as a pancake”, he said.

Help from a private hospital followed at The Priory in Edgbaston. Ian continued:

“I was given the choice of a expensive series of operations to cut into my abdomen, break my ribs and fold my diaphragm in half to give me a 10% increase in lung efficiency or let nature take it`s course. I was told that in 99% of these cases the lung returns to normal. I was that unlucky 1%.”

The book, Scout On A Bike – The Miracle of St James, published by Mapseekers Archive Publishing at £10.99, tells of how Ian, on a cruise, visits the shrine of St James the Fisherman at Santiago de Compestella in Spain on a pilgrimage.

The 53 year old solicitor explained:

“I asked for forgiveness of my sins of which they were many since my time working with Mother Teresa in the slums of Calcutta and the homeless of London and Manchester.”

After writing and helping to produce and direct a play about global climate change and poverty for his scout group, which went on a tour to raise money for an orphanage in Tanzania, he decided to enter into the spirit of the Olympic Games and cycle 100 miles along the South Downs Way between Winchester Cathedral and Eastbourne Pier in 2 days. the ride was in aid of a scout group who had been burgled with the loss of £7,000 worth of kit:

“…As a Scout I couldn`t sit back and do nothing. The group were facing the threat of closing down. I decided to get on my bike and do something to help.”

A consortium of businesses and organisations were put together called Scouting 4 Fun(ds) to back the project, including a health food supplement company called Forever Living for the bike ride. Ian`s training included karate lessons from a world champion and Ian, a former Poet laureate whose previous book was called Black Country Blues by Thynks Publications, was commissioned by the University of Wolverhampton to write poems for the Olympics which were then performed and broadcast around the world from the University. The poems are also included in his latest book.

Ultimately, could this self-confessed “vegetarian couch potato with one lung” cycle 100 miles across the South Downs Way in 2 days to save a scout group from closing down? One man. One bike. One dog. One lung. One mission. Can he do it? “Read the book and find out”, he said, “because it`s all going to the Cancer Support Centre”.

Ian has some unlikely allies in the world of music. The book is being sold on the website of the international folk rock band The Levellers and one of the reviews is by Jeremy Cunningham, bassist with the band. “A lawyer with a heart – who`d have thought!”, said Jeremy in the book. “He lost a lung and then got it back in compensation – which is how the story actually begins, though it`s kind of a postscript too. Anyway, no more spoilers!”

Each chapter begins with a quote from The Levellers` lyrics and Jeremy adds:

“Quite suitable for the South Downs as we live in Brighton and most of those songs were recorded there. The adventure is told briskly and interspersed with Ian`s poems and photographs. Funny and tragic rub up against each other – as in life! It`s an amazing, uplifting story”

The Levellers are not the only rockers extolling Ian`s book. “This book is full of character and fun”, said Chris Difford of the band Squeeze. “It`s a good read, even with both eyes wide open. Hang on to your hats as the journey is a wild one, in many ways”.

Sutton Scout Leader Ian then appears at the Wolverhampton Literature Festival on 28th January in the Art Gallery with poetry workshops and readings, the Verve in Birmingham in February and then the Brighton Arts Festival in may, performing on Brighton Pier and Brighton & Hove Libraries. Further readings are scheduled along the South Downs Way kin Winchester and the Underground Theatre in Eastbourne.

The Cancer Support Centre on Lindridge Road provides a place where adults can come for support when they are affected by cancer either by a diagnosis themselves or supporting a loved one. It can be a very stressful time for all involved.

Jackie Price, Centre Manager said:

“We can give help in all sorts of ways some of which will be available at the book launch on 21st January. We are supporting Ian with a Well Being Day at our Centre”

The Centre will be running workshops and taster sessions on stress including stress busting techniques such as meditation and relaxation as well as some of the therapies they have on offer, including their own choir, who will share their love of singing.

Jackie continues:

“The Centre has to raise every penny through fundraising and events put on by it`s supporters and our running costs are £2,500 every week so it`s not easy. Everything helps, from the smallest donation to the largest fundraising function.”

There will also be a preview from the Scouts of the Royal Sutton Coldfield Gang Show 2017, running in February at Bishop Vesey Grammar School. The Gang Show celebrates it`s 50th Anniversary, bringing together cubs, scouts, explorers and leaders from all over Sutton Coldfield.

Nigel Palmer, Chairman of the Sutton Coldfield Gang Show, said of the 2017 Gang Show:

“This year`s show will be better than before. I`ve seen the work that the young people have put in to this over the last 6 months. the talent and dedication they have is truly amazing. The opening number will have you on the edge of your seats. You`ll be splitting your sides at the comedy sketches. And you`ll be awestruck at the finale.”

The Cancer Support Centre is very grateful for the additional support of the Royal Sutton Coldfield Gang Show. “On behalf of everyone at the Centre, I want to say a big thank you to Sutton Coldfield Scouts”, concluded Jackie Price.

Be sure to pop along and help the Centre make a difference to people affected by cancer on Saturday 21st January.

1 Response

  1. Neil says:

    I have been a Scout leader for many years , and many of my Scouting friends have our reunions at Levellers concerts. It’s music that holds people together and in times of crisis ,it is great support. Would love to get the book. And the support of the Levellers shows what a great bunch of people they are.