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15 MAY 2015

GIFT OF POETRY AND MUSIC: GIFT OF LIFE CHARITY RAISES FUNDS FOR RUSSIAN CHILDREN WITH CANCER BY HOSTING A POETRY EVENING AT THE RUSSIAN EMBASSY IN LONDON

5th March 2015. London. All money raised during the evening celebrating the poetry of Anna Akhmatova, organised by the Gift of Life Charity were used to support 6 year old Anton Kochetkov from Primorskiy krai.

The event took place under the auspices of the Russian Ambassador to Britain, HE Dr Alexander Yakovenko, at his Residence. The poetry evening was attended by more than 100 guests, representing both the British and Russian community in London who have been active in providing support to seriously ill children in Russia. Princess Catherine Galitzine, Katie Melua and Christopher Hampton were among guests.

The Gift of Life’s prominent status in the United Kingdom was highlighted by the distinction of the evening’s co-hosts: British actress Justine Waddell and Russian actress Dina Korzun. Dina Korzun is a founder and trustee of the charity, whilst Justine Waddell is a patron of Gift of Life.

The evening’s theme was inspired by the fateful meeting in, what was at the time known as Leningrad, in 1946 between young British diplomat Isaiah Berlin, and poet Anna Akhmatova, one of the 20th Century most prominent and tragic figures. Sensing danger in meetings between Soviet writers and foreigners, the Soviet authorities instigated a campaign against prominent cultural figures, leading to increased persecution and draconian censorship.

Akhamtova’s poems written in the wake of these tragic events, and excerpts from Sir Isaiah Berlin’s memoir were read by Justine Waddell and Dina Korzun. Singer Alice (Alexia) Mankovskaya, Sholpan Sharbakov (piano) and Jose Manuel Gandia (violin) performed musical accompaniments.

The evening of of Anna Akhmatova’s poetry was organised in parallel with the “Akhmatova.Anrep.Berlin” Exhibition held at Pushkin House in London between 5 February – 29 April. Important artefacts of the exhibition were kindly loaned by the Anna Akhmatova Foundation in St Petersburg.