A letter from Luke Martineau
I would like to invite you to join us for Carols by Candlelight 2021 in memory of my sister Alice. In 2020, due to the pandemic, we had to cancel the service at St Luke’s, and instead we made a film which we pre-recorded at Abbey Road studios and also at the church. It was a fantastic success in that we raised more than £60,000 and also the film was viewed more than 5,000 times.
I am very pleased to say that we will be back at St Luke’s in 2021, at 7pm on Thursday 16th December. The Winchester College Chapel Choir have agreed to sing for us again, and we will have readings by some of our wonderful celebrity supporters. This year the party after the service will be held at St Luke’s Church Hall next to the church. There will be canapés and wine, an auction and raffle, and a warm welcome from all of us on the carol service committee. We will also record the service, and this film will be available to view online between 23rd December and Christmas.
It is still a wonder to me, and source of so much pride and emotion, that Alice is remembered every year at our carol service. She suffered a great deal in her short life, but she also achieved so much, signing her record deal with Sony and releasing her debut album Daydreams to critical acclaim in 2002. It has always been our family’s hope that we can use what she went through to help make a better future for the thousands of people who suffer now from cystic fibrosis, and for their families who support and care for them.
You may have read about the incredible advances being made in the treatment of cystic fibrosis, particularly in the form of Kaftrio, a wonder drug which is helping to keep infections down in a great number of CF sufferers. It may sound sometimes as though the battle has been won. I wish it had been, but it has not. Not everyone responds well to Kaftrio; lung damage itself can be halted, but not reversed; and even if the lungs do not deteriorate, other organs such as the kidneys or liver still get worse over time. Finally, although the increased longevity and quality of life for those with CF is to be hugely welcomed, with longer lives come other difficulties to overcome: how to plan for the workplace or families whilst keeping up with the burden of daily treatment, for instance. The Cystic Fibrosis Trust still desperately needs your support to be able to help make a better life for so many people.
My family and I, along with all the committee of Carols by Candlelight, look forward to seeing you at St Luke’s on 16th December. If you cannot join us in person, why not buy a ticket for the online film? I hope you will enjoy being part of this year’s celebration, the nineteenth service held in Alice’s memory.
With best wishes,
Alice Martineau was a singer-songwriter who died from cystic fibrosis aged just 30, having signed a major recording contract with Sony and released her debut album Daydreams in 2002 to great critical acclaim.
Alice was born with cystic fibrosis (CF), a life-threatening, genetically-inherited condition which damages the lungs and digestive system. A very strong character, Alice was blessed with stunning looks, great talent, and a mischievous sense of humour. This helped carry her through much of the appalling suffering caused by her condition, as well as the drudgery of its treatment, which involves courses of antibiotics, physiotherapy, and vast quantities of capsules and other drugs.
By the time of her record deal in 2002 she was down to a quarter of a healthy person’s lung function, was on a permanent oxygen supply and was also waiting for a triple transplant - heart, lungs and liver. She never received the transplant and died on 06 March 2003 shortly after the making of a BBC documentary entitled The Nine Lives of Alice Martineau about her struggle against CF and the fulfilling of her dream to become a successful singer-songwriter.