Newsletter, May 2020 – an online Music Festival, Annual Report and Liberian developments

Dear friends and supporters

We very much hope that you are ALL safe, well and managing OK through the Covid-19 pandemic – and even managing to enjoy some of the sunshine and fresh air! What follows is news of HLMT’s work and some exciting developments, supported by photos that are attached.

Live Music Festival Saturday 13th June 2020

Most immediately we have a live Fifty Fifty Folk festival for you on 13th June – online and live! HLMT trustee Roger Williams has arranged six top-drawer music acts to perform from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. UK time. During the current Covid-19 crisis many people and organisations have had their income dry up. Among them are performing artists and charities. The Fifty Fifty Folk Festival will split income between The Helen Loewenstein Memorial Trust and the artists who are performing at this virtual event.  They are Greg Russell, Kirsty Merryn, Louise Jordan, Pete Morton, Truckstop Honeymoon and Winter Wilson. You’ll find more information about the festival at and at Please go to the site and sign up to view it. Acoustic and visual quality will be excellent, and if you’re able to connect your laptop/ phone/tablet to your TV with a HDMI or SCART lead, it’ll be even better. Please support both HLMT and the musicians by signing up for the festival.

Annual report and annual meeting

HLMT AGM on Zoom

HLMT Trustees held their first AGM on 22nd April via Zoom software and agreed the Trust’s annual report and accounts for the period February 2019 until 31st March 2020. The report and accounts have been independently examined and approved by a chartered accountant. The attached report contains sections on the Trust’s beginnings, trustees, goals, supporters and its activities both in the UK and in Liberia over the period. It ends with an outline of plans for the coming year.

There were four very positive events in March 2020 before lockdown, details of which are at The annual report shows that, as a result of the magnificent support of so many people, we have reached just under halfway towards our initial financial target of £100,000. Whilst our plans, like those of so many other organisations, have been badly affected by Covid-19, the forthcoming music festival is an indication that the Trust continues to move forward positively. If you are willing to contribute to our work in any way – such as organising or taking part in fundraising events, making cards, cushion covers etc. or staffing the stall –  please let us know.

HLMT cushion covers

In Liberia…

In our January newsletter we described the very positive visit that our Trustee Carol McCormick made to Liberia – a report is also on the HLMT website

HLMT trustee Carol McCormick meets Willimai Weetol-Geninyan, Directress of the Esther Bacon School of Nursing and Midwifery

Since then we have been in discussion with the Esther Bacon School of Nursing and Midwifery (EBS) in Zorzor, Liberia. The excellent news is that we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the EBS. This will involve the HLMT supporting the college fees of two midwifery trainees in the academic year 2020-2021, being involved in their recruitment and receiving regular feedback from the EBS on student progress. Recruitment was due to take place in June/July, with the study year starting in September. Liberia, however, is also currently locked down to contain Covid-19, so we await developments once colleges reopen, hopefully later this year. We are confident that our support for Liberian midwifery trainees will be ongoing and will grow over time.

And finally

This newsletter is currently emailed to over 300 HLMT supporters. We intend to send out future newsletters and other information from the HLMT site via Mailchimp. For you to receive these, we need you to give your permission for HLMT to hold your contact details securely. We require your agreement in writing in order to satisfy data protection requirements. Thank you if you have already responded to our previous requests – most of our supporters have done so. If you haven’t emailed your permission yet, please email or message it now. If you’re not sure, best to send it again than not at all. If we don’t receive this, the HLMT will sadly not be able to send you information in future.

Also, if you have any queries or comments about this newsletter, the HLMT website or anything else to do with the Trust, please let us know.

Keep safe and we’ll keep you in touch with all that develops over the next while.

With best wishes

HLMT trustees

The Fifty Fifty Folk Festival Saturday 13th June 3.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.

A virtual festival with SIX great artists on the folk & festival circuit on one special Saturday. Purchase your tickets at a suggested minimum donation of £10 per person. Proceeds to be split 50/50 between the musicians performing and the Helen Loewenstein Memorial Trust

For further details about the festival and to sign up please go to 

What’s The Big Idea? During the current COV-19 crisis many people & organisations have had their income dry up. Chief among them are performing artists & charities. Tours & Festivals are no more & major charity events have been cancelled. The Fifty Fifty Folk Festival will split income between The Helen Loewenstein Memorial Trust & the artists who are performing at this virtual event. 

Running Order

3.00 p.m Kirsty Merryn

4.00 p.m Pete Morton

5.00 p.m Truckstop Honeymoon

6.00 p.m. Louise Jordan

7.00 p.m Greg Russell

8.00 p.m Winter Wilson

Who’s Performing? 

Greg Russell

Greg Russell has worked with Mick Ryan but is probably best known for his partnership with Ciaran Algar. His reputation has grown over the years with his utterly distinctive voice & powerful guitar style driving his own compositions & re-interpretation of traditional songs. He’s been part of the revival of Peter Bellamy’s revered Transports project & has collaborated with others on Shake the Chains while also finding time to present New Traditions on BBC Radio Sheffield

Kirsty Merryn

Kirsty Merryn‘s album Our Bright Night was chosen as The Guardian’s Folk CD of the month earlier this year, so we’re really pleased she has agreed to perform from her home with partner Alex. Her CD introduces us to ghostly lovers, thieving politicians & cunning little foxes. Her keyboard arrangements & work with Alex makes Kirsty a very welcome addition to our bill.

Louise Jordan

Louise Jordan has been a favourite of ours ever since we heard her crystal clear voice on the album Veritas. Her celebration of women in wartime “No Petticoats Here” enhanced her reputation & her very timely new release Florence has been released to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.

Pete Morton

Pete Morton is a fine songwriter, performer & interpreter of traditional songs. His new album A Golden Thread was CD of the week recently on Blues & Roots Radio & is a great set of performances tackling contemporary issues & traditional themes. Pete is a sought after performer on the circuit & amongst his many credits are a number of roles in Mick Ryan’s series of Folk Operas.

Truckstop Honeymoon

Truckstop Honeymoon have recently relocated to mid-wales from Kansas having lost their home and entire neighbourhood in New Orleans courtesy of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Mike & Katie’s shrewdly observational, almost journalistic songs convey so much, often in the space of just two or three minutes. By turns, witty, wry & filled with compassion, their songs & performance energy have made them very popular entertainers on the festival scene.

Winter wilson

Winter Wilson are one of the most popular acts on the circuit. Dave Wilson is one of our best contemporary songwriters & his songs performed with Kip Winter are witty, emotional & a delight to hear. They’ve gone from strength to strength since cutting free from their day jobs a few years ago & as Dave says “we’re still getting away with it.”

HLMT Annual General Meeting, 22nd April 2020

The trustees of the Helen Loewenstein Memorial Trust met on 22nd April 2020 via Zoom software, to scrutinise, discuss and agree the annual report and accounts for the period February 2019 to 31st March 2020.

The HLMT Annual Meeting 2020, using Zoom

Thanks were given to so many magnificent HLMT supporters and to trustees for a sound first year and for all the work put in including running stalls and events, card making, banner making, organising and supporting music evenings, gaining sponsorship, drafting and reviewing policies and procedures, grant applications, liaison with Liberia, finance and investment strategy, accounts, and fundraising. The meeting concluded that the trustees and key supporters have been a good team, supported by sound leadership.

Very positive visit to Liberia

Meeting with the Minister of Health

HLMT trustee and consultant midwife, Carol McCormick and her colleague, Maureen Raynor from Leicester De Montfort University, visited Liberia in January 2020. The purpose of the visit was to build relationship with partners, establish procedures for the recruitment of trainee midwives who HLMT will support with grants, and gather information about initial midwifery training in Liberia.

Meeting with the President of the Liberia Midwife Association

Supported by Abdul-rahman Bah, they met the Liberian Minister of Health, Dr Wilhelmina Jallah, the Directress of the Esther Bacon School of Nursing and Midwifery, Willimai Weetol-Geninyan, the President of the Liberia Midwife Association, Wilhelmina Flomo, the Director of the Liberia Board for Nursing and Midwifery, Mary Tiah, John Harris and others at the Ministry of Health, and the British Ambassador David Belgrove.

Meeting with the Director of the Liberia Board for Nursing and Midwifery

They also visited several hospitals and clinics where Helen Loewenstein had worked, and met a number of people who had known, worked with or befriended Helen.

Meeting with the Directress of the Esther Bacon School

The visit was extremely useful and very successful. The upshot is that it looks very likely that the first student to receive a grant from the Helen Loewenstein Memorial Trust will be recruited at the end of the current school year in June, and will start training in September this year at the Esther Bacon School.

Meeting with John Harris, Ministry of Health

Some details are still to be finalised, further work will be done with colleagues in Liberia and the HLMT trustees will meet in February to make decisions and to progress the work that Carol and Maureen have done so brilliantly with Abdul’s wonderful support. This is great news.

Meeting with the British Ambassador