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Saturday, 23 May 2015

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Top chefs hold fundraiser at Dalton hotel for Barrow cancer father

RAY ARMSTRONG has always been a private person.

He has never been one to seek the limelight for himself or his companies.

But the deeds of one of his colleagues has prompted him to come out in public about the cancer fight he faces.

In August Mr Armstrong, 52, was told he had terminal cancer. He has cancer of the pancreas and liver.

Ray has already faced adversity in his life. The family were involved in a tragic road accident in 2007 and have been
working hard to move on with their lives.

And now together they are facing another uphill battle with Mr Armstrong’s cancer fight.

His wife Jane, and sons Hal, 22, Hayden, 19, and Cavan, 10, have received support and understanding from the community.

And Mr Armstrong, who is having chemotherapy at Furness General Hospital, is vowing to fight the condition which threatens to cut short his life.

He said: “I will fight it. I will still be here in two years’ time. I can’t go now – there’s too much I want to do with my wife, Jane, and my children.

“My wife has been a rock for me.”

Mr Armstrong, managing director of PKA, has received “fantastic support” from company manager John Goodwin.

PKA, based at Sowerby Woods Industrial Estate, Barrow, employs 12 people supplying high performance products to the energy and engineering sector.

It is the deeds of Dan Austin, managing director of one of Mr Armstrong’s other companies – Lake District Farmers – which have prompted Mr Armstrong to go public about his condition.

Mr Austin, 25, who has been supported in his early career by Mr Armstrong, wanted to give something back to his boss when he found out he had cancer.

Lake District Farmers employed 14 people and was going bust in 2009 when Mr Armstrong invested heavily in it.

The Lindal-based company is now going from strength to strength, employs 16 people and sells only the best top quality Cumbrian meat to leading chefs in London and the North West.

So Mr Austin rang his contacts, including some of the country’s best-known chefs.

He asked them if they would come to Furness to cook for a five-day food fundraising extravaganza in aid of Mr Armstrong’s charities. Without hesitation they all said yes.

After visiting Clarence House at Dalton, they opted to stage the event at the four-star hotel.

It takes place at the beginning of February, with seats at £100 and all the money going to local charities.

Eight chefs confirmed so far are Alyn Williams, Angela Hartnett, Andre Garrett, Andy Cook, Luke Rayment, Paul Ainsworth, Nigel Haworth and Simon Rogan. Chef whites signed by Michel Roux and six cookbooks signed by Gordon Ramsay will be among items put up for auction at the event.

Mr Austin said: “Ray has done a lot for me. So I wanted to give something back and make him proud.”

Mr Armstrong said: “I have been taken aback, I have been amazed. We will never get this happening again in Cumbria.

“The chefs have been amazing, giving up their time for nothing. The farmers have been superb in the way they are supporting the event.

“Victoria (Barber-Bolam) and Pauline (Barber) at Clarence House Hotel have been fantastic, giving up their hotel for free and giving us all the support they can.

“If it makes someone else’s life better by raising money then that’s got to be worth it.”

St Mary’s Hospice at Ulverston, charities helping children with terminal illness, the Salvation Army and Ostley House dementia unit are among a whole host of charities who stand to benefit from the event.

All the money raised will go to charity through the Lake District Farmers Armstrong Family Charitable Fund.

The One Week Only event takes place at Clarence House from February 1 until 5. To book tickets, priced at £100 for a five-course meal, call Sarah Earley on 01229 870168. For further information email lakedistrictfarmers@live.com.

Anyone who is unable to attend but wants to donate to the charitable fund is invited to emaillakedistrictfarmers
@live.com or telephone Steve Winward on 01229 588299.

BARROW’S popular Strawberry pub closed its doors to the public on Saturday night.

At the private function attended by 200 people, £5,000 was raised for local charities through the Armstrong Family Charitable Fund.

Friday 1 February


Smoked Diver Sea Scallops, with pickled vegetables and shoots
West Coast Langoustine, Scorched Leeks, Scorched Leek & Potato Gel, Caviar

Beef Rib, smoked marrow, leeks, salt baked celeriac and alexanders.
Rare Breed Pork Shoulder, Jerusalem Artichoke Gratin, Roasted Sage & Onions

Poached Yorkshire rhubarb with hazelnut, sweet cicely and meadowsweet
Bramley Apple Trifle, Horlicks Mousse, Apple Sorbet, Lemon Choc Ice Coffee & chocolates

Saturday 2 February


Beef Carpaccio, lemon, olive oil, basil, parmesan, aged balsamic and crisp shallots
Tomato, sliced with crumbled Stilton, red onions and aged balsamic

LDF Rib Eye Steak OR LDF New York Sirloin Steak Served with Hand Cut Chips, Mushrooms with Garlic Butter, and Spinach creamed with Gruyere cheese and a choice of Bearnaise, Pepper or Stilton Sauce

Baked New York Cheese cake with Berry Compote
Strawberry Eton Mess with Strawberry Ice-Cream

Coffee & Chocolates

Sunday 3 February


Seared Scallop, with cucumber, apple, and sea purslane
Roasted Halibut, crushed swede, thyme butter, and chestnut

Rib of Beef slowly cooked in dripping with oxtail, turnip tops, mushroom vinaigrette, and roast potatoes
Pork belly, Scottish langoustines, plum purée, and smoked almonds

Baked apple with rolos, and hazelnut cream
Chocolate ganache, crumble, passionfruit sorbet, and mint

Coffee & chocolates

Monday 4 February


Rabbit and pistachio ballotine with endive and gem heart salad, honey and grain mustard dressing
Cornish crab and carrot cannelloni with citrus puree and soft herbs

Braised Beef shoulder with roasted fillet, sautéed curly kale, parsley root and horseradish puree
Roast veal rump with vanilla marinated sweetbreads, glazed baby endive, salslfy puree and a lemon and caper sauce

Pear and chocolate tart with mascarpone and honey ice cream
Cold Valrhona white chocolate fondant with raspberry macaroon and white chocolate and raspberry ripple ice-cream

Coffee & chocolates

Tuesday 5 February


Slow cooked Loch Fyne Salmon, aromatic & salted herbs, oyster emulsion
Smoked haddock, vichyssoise, yolk, & black pudding

Loin of Cumbrian mutton, caramelised onion, barley & shepherd’s pie
Beef chateaubriand, ox cheek, grilled leek, horseradish, & red wine sauce

Baked cheese cake, blueberry, lemon & granola
Chocolate ‘cake’, pistachio, caramac, dark chocolate sorbet

Coffee & Chocolates

Have your say

I first met Ray Armstrong when he was nine years of age. I was sixteen. You could say that I have got to know him quite well in the next forty three years. My admiration for this fellow Irish man knows no bounds. If anybody can beat this, he can. His family needs him. This event epitomises the high esteem he is held in the community.

Posted by Harry Foy on 28 November 2012 at 20:06

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