Anita D’Attellis, a professional pianist from Henley, will be playing at a special event to support Sue Ryder Celebrate a Life Thames Valley this December.

Ms D’Attellis was personally touched by the work of the organisation when her husband, John Downing, fell terminally ill in 2019.

After being diagnosed with lung cancer, it was Mr Downing's wish to die at home.

Herald Series: Anita is a professional pianistAnita is a professional pianist (Image: Anita D’Attellis)

According to Ms D’Attellis, the team at Sue Ryder made this last wish come true by providing unparalleled support and care.

She said: "With every single visit, the nurses were so special and kind, as well as cheery.

"They weren't just doing their job, they were caring in every way.

"Even when John didn’t feel like having visitors, he said he felt better after they had come round."

Mr Downing passed away in 2020, but the charity continues to hold a special place in Ms D'Attellis' heart.

Motivated by their support during John's illness, she decided to organise a series of concerts to raise funds for Sue Ryder.

She's also participated in other fundraising events, including half marathons and two London Marathons.

Herald Series: Anita has twice run the London MarathonAnita has twice run the London Marathon (Image: Anita D’Attellis)

She said: "I can’t imagine what John’s end of life experience would have been like without Sue Ryder. And they supported me at every turn too.

"I know I am going to be playing for John. He loved listening to me play the piano and would come to all my concerts.

Ms D'Attellis feels that the upcoming Celebrate a Life event is a significant occasion, offering the chance for companionship in grief and celebration of loved ones.

She added: "It is lovely to reminisce about the wonderful relationship we had, and Celebrate a Life gives me the chance to honour his memory and remember the good times."

She strongly encourages anyone experiencing grief to take part.

Ms D'Attellis said: "It can be healing to have a cry, and also to remember you are not alone in what you are feeling."

Deciding to turn a personal tragedy into a raising awareness and funds campaign, she's setting an inspirational example.

The Sue Ryder Celebrate a Life Thames Valley event will be held at the Great Hall, University of Reading at 6.30pm on December 13.

Anyone interested in attending can register at

You can also get in touch with the Sue Ryder Thames Valley Fundraising Team via or call 0118 9550 433.

The event provides a crucial chance to both remember and celebrate life, whilst supporting a charity that helps make difficult times more manageable.