Graham Bennett and his wife Denise Bennett have kindly given their time to support St Gemma’s for many years, using their specialist knowledge of classical music to raise funds in the community for patient care at St Gemma’s. This is their story.
Graham has had a life-long passion for classical music. He opened the Classical Record Shop in Leeds in 1968, running the business for 30+ years. He also founded Sinfonia of Leeds chamber orchestra in 1973 and conducted it for the next 17 years.
Once he retired, Graham started to volunteer for St Gemma’s Hospice at the Street Lane shop. He concentrated on the music, CDs, books and sheet music. One day he had a call from the St Gemma’s Retail Hub in Bramley, as they had found several bags of classical CDs and they understood he might know a bit about these and the best way to sell them.
Graham and his wife Denise went to talk to the Head of Retail with an idea for Graham and Denise to reach out to their music contacts within the Leeds area, to explore possible opportunities to set up a classical CD pop-up shop.
“To date we have raised £12,120.”
“Our original goal was to raise as much money as we could selling this impressive donation of classical CDs for St Gemma’s. However, we soon realised that the audience were very appreciative of the CDs we were bringing to the concerts and that all the money was going to their local hospice St Gemma’s. We were then very fortunate to be offered the late Lord Harwood’s CD collection to continue our fund raising for St Gemma’s.
“With the success of the pop-up shop, we then had a chat with Jane Kent and Jason the warehouse manager to formulate a possible opportunity to carry on the pop-up shop for as long as we could… Jason has been brilliant arranging the collection of CDs to the Hub so we can sort through them at the warehouse.
“We couldn’t have achieved what we have to date without the amazing support of the following music societies including, Leeds International Concert Season, Leeds Baroque and Leeds Lieder and their supporters and audiences. To date we have raised £12,120.”
If you have classical CDs or DVDs you could donate to support Graham and Denise’s pop-up shops, please contact the St Gemma’s Retail Hub on 0113 2362547 or drop them off at 54 Waterloo Lane, Bramley, Leeds LS13 2EL.