On 18th June - the day before Father's Day - Annie's Supperclub will be hosting a fund raising Garden Party for Coeliac UK.
Prior to that event, we are asking people to make a donation to Coeliac UK. Everyone who makes a donation will be entered into a prize draw to receive one of two great hampers filled with gluten free food and other goodies kindly donated by a number of companies.
Coeliac UK is the only national Charity supporting people with coeliac disease in the UK. It is also the biggest coeliac society in the world. Up until five years ago however, I'd never heard of them.
On 13th January 2006 I wrote in my diary:
"In the evening, Mum rang to say that Dad's illness has been diagnosed - he has a duodenal ulcer. Hopefully now we know what is causing all the pain, they can start some treatments. It's a relief to know that it isn't anything even worse than that. Mum is a cancer survivor and I guess we'd all feared the worse."
My Dad had been suffering from increasing stomach pains since the end of the summer of 2005. He's seen the GP, and then a gastroenterologist and had finally been for a biopsy which resulted in the news that he had an ulcer. Tragically, what they didn't tell us at the time was that the biopsy had also revealed the fact that he had coelic disease.
(Extract from Coeliac UK website) Coeliac disease (pronounced see-liac) is an autoimmune disease. Gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye triggers an immune reaction in people with coeliac disease. This means that eating gluten damages the lining of the small intestine. Other parts of the body may be affected.
It was another two months before we were told about the coeliac disease - and only then because Dad had been hospitalised for severe malnutrition. A week later further "inconclusive" tests suggested there might be something else wrong.
Whilst in hospital we were told that they couldn't provide him with a gluten free diet - we had to take food in daily for him. Even then there were mistakes, with him being given biscuits with his evening drink..
He continued to lose weight and sicken further. Finally, less than 2 months after his diagnosis, his bowel burst and he was found to be riddled with T-cell lymphoma which, we were told, had been exclusively caused by the coeliac disease having gone undiagnosed for what must have been a long time.
He died two weeks later.
We were all devastated and the knowledge that his death could have been prevented by better awareness of coeliac disease by the GP or by the specialist made that pain worse.
Hospital procedures - especially in the kitchen - were shown to be shockingly inadequate.
Throughout all this time Coeliac UK
were our one source of information, support and concern. Since Dad's death both my Brother and my youngest Son have been diagnosed as coeliac too.
I am the chef behind Annie's Supperclub - the first underground restaurant in the UK to run a 100% gluten free kitchen. Coeliacs and others on a gluten free diet dine with us in comfort, without fear, and enjoy great food secure in the knowledge that nothing they eat is going to make them ill.
We are very proud to have this opportunity to raise funds for Coeliac UK
in order for them to continue their excellent work. We are also very grateful to the companies that have donated products to the prize draw.
So far, this includes:
Livwell - a mixture of bakery products
Wellfoods - £25 of fresh bakery products delivered direct to the winners
Doves Farm - a selection from their gluten free range
General Dietary Ltd - a selection from their Ener-G products
PGR Health Foods - 10 x 500g packets of their Rizopia Pasta (Lasagne, Spaghetti, Penne and Fusilli)
Dietary Specials - a selection of products
Glutafin - a selection of products
TruFree - a selection of products
Juvela - a selection of products
Gluten Free Foods - a selection of their BARKAT products
Black Farmer - a set of their new cooking sauces
Foodamentalists - a selection of their dry mixes
Innovative Solutions - a selection of their excellent range
Taywell Ice Creams - a selection of their delicious gluten free ice creams
Freedom Deli - a selection of their gorgeous ready meals
Especially Delicious - a voucher for a Celebration Cake from their fabulous birthday cake designs valid for 6 months
Drink Marvel - a selection of their Bakery on Main products
as well as pledges from other gluten free producers. This page will be updated with details as they become available.
To make a donation and enter the draw, please visit our fund raising page:
To book your place at the Garden Party, please visit:
and select the 18th June event.
Please help us raise money for this very worthy cause.