For many of those affected by leprosy, social exclusion brings loss of livelihood and social status. Often referred to as “cripples” or “untouchable”, many sufferers face rejection from their families and peers.
The Leprosy Mission International (TLMI) is an international Christian development organization, founded in 1874, working in 28 countries across Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia, providing health care, training, education and housing for many individuals and families affected by leprosy, and assisting in their treatment and rehabilitation.
One of the few Christian charities to focus specifically on leprosy, TLMI offers special expertise that would not otherwise be available, including reconstructive surgery, treating complications and addressing stigma. Since 1996, the Salvation Army and TLMI have worked together in Mirpur, Bangladesh to help people with leprosy and tuberculosis. The organizations share a goal to find and treat people by providing medical assistance and supporting those affected to regain their independence.
It was against the background above that members of the Knowle Parish Church invited the Birmingham Citadel Band (Bandmaster Graham Lamplough) to give a concert at the church to raise funds for TLMI. The concert was held on 13 June 2009.
The church was filled to capacity to greet Bandmaster Lamplough and the members of the band. The concert opened with a lively item from the pen of Martin Cordner, Lighter-Brighter, which features the songs “Send the Fire” and “O Boundless Salvation”. The program continued with music to suit all tastes, including Joyful, Joyful, Canadian Folk Song Suite and Joy, Peace and Happiness. During the latter the audience responded enthusiastically to the bandmaster’s invitation to sing along with the band.
Soloists Gavin Lamplough (cornet) and Neil Blessett (tenor horn) added variety with their renditions of Heavenly Gales and Somewhere Over the Rainbow, respectively, and reminded those present of God’s love and the many blessings bestowed upon us each day of our lives.
Dr. Sunil Anand, Director Designate of TLMI in India introduced “snapshots” of some of the work undertaken in Mirpur, while Allister du Plessis, TLMI Area Coordinator, provided “food for thought” in his appeal for financial support for the work of TLMI.
Light-Walk (Barrie Gott) introduced the second half of the concert which featured David Taylor with the euphonium solo The Conqueror (Ray Steadman-Allen), The Last Spring (Edvard Grieg) and New Frontier (William Himes). A simple arrangement by Nick Samuel, Wonderful Grace, and words of encouragement and challenge from Band Sergeant Ian Kershaw reminded those prsent of how privileged we are as Christians.
As this very special evening drew to a close, Commissioner Dr. Paul du Plessis, TLMI Vice President, offered a closing prayer.