Christmas Film Festival 2017 for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices – A Thank You

Past Event: 2017 Christmas Film Festival for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices



Robinson Theatre
Hills Rd, Cambridge

Dear lovely people of Cambridge,

Ellen Downes here, co-founder of Enchanted Cinema and organiser of last December’s mighty magical Christmas Film Festival for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices. When I sat down at my laptop to write an article I found it hard. I couldn’t to make the story of such a community-centred charity and event into anything other than a letter.

A letter to you, you who are about to have your heart and soul stirred and warmed! Through A Christmas Film Festival and A Christmas Prize Draw we raised an incredible amount for the incredible local children’s hospices. I am about to unveil a list of Cantabrigians who did the most wonderful things to make it all happen.

Let me first tell you how we pulled off the festival. The sublime Lydia Higginson of Made My Wardobe/Threadworks did not take her role as Queen of Decor lightly. She created a glittering garland with flowers, foliage and fairy lights for every table and chair leg and doorway. Local filmmaker Ryd Cook volunteered as projectionist and gave the most lovely intro to his award-winning film Single to London (which we screened before Love Actually, best festive film ever). And then there was the handsome musical duo, Harri Beasley and Tom Petit. These guys are behind Unpluggedin open mic nights at The Earl of Beaconsfield. They programmed the afternoon of festive acoustic sets. We even had a real life Elsa performing after Frozen who didn’t even hesitate to donate her time. A real life Disney Princess waiting outside the cinema! This girl made dreams come true.

I am delighted to name those on the Hall of Pop-up Cafe Fame. Our cafe at the film festival was stocked by these glorious businesses: Kandula, Teapigs, Drink Me Chai, Nisbets, Dragonfly Tea, Cambridge Fruit Co., Foodcycle, Radmore Farm Shop, Cotto Restaurant, The Garden Kitchen, Kath’s Kitchen & Caffe Mobile.

And the list of those who jumped at the opportunity to help continues. Hold your breath, prepare and take a look at quite how many more businesses donated (prizes for our Christmas Prize Draw): Cambridge Satchel Company, Limoncello, ADC Theatre, Cambridge United, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Shepreth Wildlife Park, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Cotto Restaurant, Carluccio’s, Tradizioni, Old Bicycle Shop, Five Guys, The Olive Grove, Pint Shop, Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, La Maison du Steak, DoubleTree by Hilton, Stir, Pret A Manger, CB2 Bistro, Norfolk Street Bakery, Costa Coffee, Hot Numbers, Cuckoo Clothing, Bravissimo, Scotsdales Garden Centre, Go Ape!, Dion Gallichan Photography, Scudamore’s Punting, Toni & Guy, Douce UK, Vision Hair, Marc Jason, Stilo Hair & Beauty, Eddie’s Barber Shop, Finn Jordan & Dragonfly Beauty Spa.

Pretty incredible ey? And I was blown away yet further by the hand-written notes of encouragement which arrived with donations and the copious emails wishing us good luck for the event.

A very special thank you must be given to the lovely team at Printerbello who, like so many others, went above and beyond to help make the fundraising the success that it was. They printed and delivered 20 posters, 1,500 flyers and a good few thousand prize draw tickets, all premium quality and absolutely free of charge.

Have you heard of Nic Farrell? She’s really great. She designed all the artwork for our posters and website pretty much overnight and volunteered at the festival too. I would recommend that you improve your life by visiting her online shop.

Lydia Melbourne volunteered with us and through Lloyds Bank Foundations’ The Matched Giving Scheme she claimed £1,000 towards our grand total. Which is, you might be wondering, £5,252.32.

And of course a huge thank you to the local web design studio ThinkSmile for our amazing website and making selling all those tickets possible!

Last May my sister died and the world lost a bright and shining light. She was the most kind, lovely and creative person I’ll ever have known. To have run an Arts event which was fuelled by kindness, and all for a charity which made her so happy and also cared for her so lovingly during her last weeks, is really special.

Just to repeat (I’m very proud), together we raised an incredible £5,252.32 for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices. The hospices have to raise almost £6 million in voluntary donations every year (that’s the same as £16,000 each day, 365 days a year). They care for and support children with life-threatening illnesses as well as providing end of life care for dying children and their families EACH can only continue to do this if we continue to fundraise. So, here’s to more events. Watch this space!

And in the meantime, you can donate at Every penny really does help.

A final thank you to everyone who volunteered at the event, to all those who bought tickets and of course to you. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Thank you to the moon and back,





Radmore Farm Shop and Enchanted Cinema for EACH

10Qs with Radmore Farm Shop’s Vicky

Vicky runs Radmore Farm Shop with her husband Ben. Their vision has always been to bring the best of their farm’s produce into the city of Cambridge, and they do just that. Vicky’s Bakery is a staple part of their business and we are delighted to say that they have donated 50 mince pies made with love from their farmhouse bakery to our pop-up cafe at A Christmas Film Festival for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices on the 16th of December.

Vicky and I had a chat one morning on the phone after she’d come back from a children’s signing class with her little ones. We spoke about how she got into baking, why it’s so important to her to source ingredients locally and why she’s so kindly donating her delicious mince pies to our fundraising project.

How did you get into baking?

I used to bake a lot in my spare time as a hobby really. I’ve always loved to bake, and it was back in 2006 that I started experimenting with the odd sponge cake to sell in the shop. Those Victoria Sponges were what started my cakes becoming such a big part of Radmore Farm Shop. We had great feedback and very quickly it went from me making 3 to 150 for the shop each week.

Do you remember the first thing you baked for the shop?

That infamous Victoria Sponge was the first cake I ever made for the shop. But it’s the lemon drizzle that I’d say was the first thing I baked that was a big turning point. It just sold so well. It’s the cake of the shop. Whenever a customer asks what we recommend we always point them towards the lemon drizzle. It’s the go-to bake for us, very happy with that recipe.

What influences you recipes?

It often starts with someone saying ‘have you ever made a…’ or ‘you should try baking a…’. And sometimes we make something for a special order, for a wedding or party or something and it goes really well. I experiment a lot and when I have a recipe that’s at a point when I like it, out it goes. Then it’s all about getting feedback from our customers. I ask people what they think and then we end up with a recipe that sticks and people love.

Where do you source the ingredients for your cakes?

Anything we can, we get local. All the eggs I use are from our own hens, they’re literally a few metres from the bakery. I hear them clucking at the door, so local as can be! The flour is made at Heygates Mill 2 miles down the road, and they use the wheat from our farm.

Favourite Christmas sweet treat?

Definitely Christmas cake. I really like making the cake itself, making it really rich and indulgent. I absolutely love that people will be sitting down on Christmas Day and that what I make will be enjoyed and part of a special meal. Ben and I always enjoy that on Christmas Day, and say to each other ‘imagine how many people are eating our food’. It’s a great feeling know that the work we do on the farm and in the butchery and bakery leads to lots of people sharing and enjoying meals and treats over Christmas.

You bake your range of cakes, desserts, pies and pasties from a custom-designed bakery that was converted from a cowshed, how did this come about?

At the start I was doing it all in the kitchen of our old house. The bakery was going so crazy, it got to the point where I really needed my own space and to have someone else helping me. So we moved house. We converted the cowshed which was attached to the house into my bakery. I was heavily pregnant at the time so I really wanted to be close to the house. It means I can easily go back and forth between being with the little ones and baking.

I’ve heard you still use traditional ‘wooden spoon’ technique, why is this?

Everything in the bakery is made using wooden spoons. We don’t use any industrial mixers, nothing commercial. The reason is that I think it makes it more personal. That’s why people buy from places like our farm shop, because they know that our produce is made with lots of care and love. Without mixers and machines things do take longer. But I have another woman who helps me in the bakery and we have a mini production line going!

You also write a blog called My Family and Other Hungry Animals, what inspired this?

In the Summer I broke my ankle and had an unexpected amount of time on my hands. I missed the farm shop and it was originally a way for me to keep in touch with customers while I wasn’t there. Then, with looking after the kids and baking from home, I naturally have spent more time at home. It can be quite isolating on the farm and it’s nice to keep a link going with customers and Cambridge.

You’re baking and donating 50 of your delicious mince pies for us to sell at our pop-up cafe on the 16th, what’s special about this recipe?

So these mince pies are a perfected recipe and as ever they’re a product of locally-sourced ingredients. The mincemeat is made by the lovely lady at Bracken Hill who also makes the jams we sell in our shop. It’s the best mincemeat I’ve ever come across so we’re especially happy with these mince pies and really glad that people at your cafe will enjoy them as part of a great event.

Why did you want to support the pop-up cafe at A Christmas Film Festival in aid of EACH?

We really like to get involved in as much local stuff as possible. It’s local people who help and support our business, so it’s our way of giving back.

You can now order online and have Radmore Farm Shop’s quality foods from Ben’s Butchery, Vicky’s Bakery and more deliver straight to your door by clicking just  here.

10Qs with Ryd Cook

10Qs with Ryd Cook

Ryd Cook is an award-winning, Cambridge-based filmmaker who makes naturalistic films inspired by life, people & experiences. His films have screened in festivals around the world including San Francisco, New York, Toronto, Paris, London & Cambridge

We met at Hot Numbers on Gwydir St and chatted about Ryd’s films, influences, RoboCop and why he can’t wait to be part of A Christmas Film Festival on the 16th of December.

How did you get started as a filmmaker?

So as a kid I used to write stories loads. I didn’t know at the time that I wanted to be a filmmaker but when I looked back at the pages of stories I wrote I noticed that I’d drawn little pictures and the words ‘lights, camera, action!’. I guess I’d always envisaged worlds coming to life through direction and storytelling. Film has always been a big part of my everyday life. I grew up watching films with my older brother. My dad made a lot of home videos, and it was through those that I got really interested in the idea of time travelling through film. I used to talk into the camera and speak to my future self. I really liked that I could replay moments in time.

Do you remember making your first film?

My first films were made on school computers. I made animations using Paint and PowerPoint.How would you describe your style?All of my work is pretty self-indulgent!  I know that may sound strange but I actually don’t think that’s a bad thing, that I relate everything to my personal life and own lived experiences. So my style is… realistic, naturalistic – believable and relatable performances are really, really important for me.

Who has really influenced and inspired you to make films?

I’m hugely influenced by Shane Meadows. When I was at college he did a talk that inspired me. As I was listening to him speaking about film-making I remember a moment when I thought, ‘that’s it. I’ll be a filmmaker then.’.What’s your creative process?Hmm. Well I can tell you what I definitely don’t do. I don’t choose a time and place, sit down and force myself to come up with an idea there and then. Basically for me how it has to work is I have to allow ideas to come forward naturally in my mind. If I’m excited by an idea I’ll go ahead and make some art about it. Sometimes I’ll get an idea and feel like I need to race to a pen and paper so I can get it all out and down. And from there the idea constantly develops until the film is finished. It’s definitely not a linear process for me.

What part of the process that you most enjoy?

I love the casting and rehearsal process. We always rehearse a lot before we shoot. But then things inevitably change along the way. While we were shooting Single to London (Single to London will be screened before Love Actually, book your tickets here) the First Assistant Director made a suggestion that we went with and it massively improved the film.

What’s the best thing about being a filmmaker?

The weird situations I find myself in that I just would not be in if I weren’t a filmmaker! I actually thought about starting a hashtag, #becauseimafilmmaker that would caption photos of the strangest scenes on set. I’ve been in a field with people running around me dressed as gorillas. It’s moments like that when I think to myself ‘#becauseimafilmmaker’.  And I get to spend loads of time surrounded by great people. Yeah that’s a great thing, working with people, making new friends.

Favourite film?

RoboCop 1987! It ticks a lot of boxes. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry. It’s horrific, gory, scary, political, funny, romantic, action-packed. There are very few things that it doesn’t have. It’s the same age as me too and I like to make the gag that 1987 was the year of that the best films and filmmakers were released.

Your award-winning short film Single to London will be shown before Love Actually as part of A Christmas Film Festival  (Saturday 16th December, 7PM, The Robinson Theatre, Hills Road). Why do you think it will be perfect to show before the ultimate Christmas romcom?

I’m really chuffed to have Single to London screen in front of this huge film. Single to London is a romcom at heart, but I think it is different to the usual. To say why may spoil it! I think it’ll be the perfect film to kick off the romcom mood of the screening. I also like the fact Love Actually is British, and it’ll be nice for the audience to see an even more local (Cambridge) film before it.

Why did you want to get involved in A Christmas Film Festival in aid of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices? 

I like to support charities in general and I like working with Enchanted Cinema. We’ve worked together in the past and it was really good fun. So when you got in touch, I looked up East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and agree that it’s absolutely a great cause. So yeah, of course I’m happy to help. It’s rewarding working on a project like this in more than one way, because not only are we raising money for a great charity, but we’re also making sure lots of people have a really great time at the event. Basically it’s a no brainer. It will be all round totally lovely.

Ryd will be running projection at the A Christmas Film Festival and we’re delighted to be screening one of his short films before Love Actually at 7PM. He’s busy hatching plans for new content and will be releasing comedy videos through his Youtube channel over the next few months, subscribe here & follow him on Instagram here.

Printerbello and Enchanted Cinema for EACH

Thank You Printerbello

We’ve been pretty blown away by the generosity and kindness that local businesses and creatives have given in support of A Christmas Film Festival in aid of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices.

Andrew from Printerbello was not overly enthusiastic about a blog post being published about how great his company is. We know that he did not donate to this project for any publicity, but from the goodness of his heart and we just had to share this little story.

Cambridge Live Tickets gave me Andrew’s contact when I was first looking to find a printers to print our fab poster (designed by Nic Farrell). I emailed asking if a discount could be possible and explained that 100% of the profits from the event would be going to EACH.

Andrew replied asking how many I wanted. I said between 10 and 20. He replied ‘20, done. Do you want flyers too?’ At this point I wasn’t sure if we were to pay for them or not and said that ideally we would like to flyer outside a couple of lovely family events at Cambridge Corn Exchange and put some up on community notice boards and in cafes around town.

There was no mention of costings and after a few more very brief emails, Andrew asked for my address. 2 days later 20 beautiful A2 posters and 1,500 flyers (which are all double-sided and printed onto silk-coated card) arrived by courier.

You can see me pictured very shortly after the delivery with a big ol’ grin on my face! What an unbelievably kind contribution to this fundraiser from local printers Printerbello.

Cambridge Independent Article

Independent Cambridge.

A huge thank you to Culture Editor of Independent Cambridge Gemma Gardner for supporting our fundraising project and featuring A Christmas Film Festival in the fantastic local newspaper and What’s On online page. The above photo was taken by Keith Heppell. The article below was originally published in Cambridge Independent on the November 7th and can be found online here.

A film festival will raise money for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices following the “love and kindness” it gave to the organiser’s family.

A Christmas Film Festival, presented by Enchanted Cinema, will be held at The Robinson Theatre on Hills Road on Saturday 16th of December.

All the profits will go to the Milton-based hospice that provides care and support for children and young people with life-threatening and life-limiting illnesses as well as end of life care for dying children and their families.

Ellen Downes is organising the event after the death of her younger 17-year-old sister, who died at Milton Hospice in May. Ellen has decided to raise money for the hospice as she wants to raise money for other children and families to continue to have that support that her sister and family experienced.

She told Cambridge Independent: “She always loved going there and she had a lovely time when she did.

“She spent her last weeks with all of us and the amazing team at Milton around her.”

Ellen said her sister and the family had a great amount of support and care over the years.

“We were there for four weeks in May and the team at EACH were unbelievably kind, patient and they did everything they could to make it as peaceful as it could have been, so my sister felt as comfortable as possible and we felt safe, and at home there,” Ellen said.

She continued: “The cooks were amazing, they were incredible. They were so flexible and understanding of the circumstances and how things changed day to day, they are amazing women. All of the staff are so skilled and incredible.

“The overall aim for care at end of life is for a peaceful death, made as comfortable as possible. The EACH staff  provide care in the family home, in the hospice or at hospital, depending on the child’s and family’s preferences.

“What is really, really fantastic about the approach at EACH is that the planning of end of life care is guided by the child’s and family’s hopes and wishes, together with the other professionals involved in the family’s care.

“We will be forever thankful to EACH and all those who have previously fundraised to support the charity.

There is so much love and kindness at the hospice and I would like to do all that I can to help more children and families to be cared for and supported as my sister and our family have been.”

The film festival kicks off with a screening of Disney’s Frozen at 10am and ends with Christmas favourite Love Actually at 7pm.

There will also be an autism friendly screening of The Polar Express at 1pm and Bridget Jones’s Diary at 4pm.

A Christmas pop-up cafe will be running all day next door to the theatre.

“It will be super cosy and festive,” explained Ellen. “There’ll be hot drinks, homemade cakes, and brownies and mulled wine and mince pies and a few more festive foodie surprises.

The cafe will be open 10.30am to 7pm.

When customers book their seats for a film, they will have the choice of how much they would like to donate to EACH for the ticket.

For more tickets and more information visit, or search Enchanted Cinema on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


10Qs with Nic Farrell

10Qs with Nic Farrell

Nic is an award-winning freelance illustrator who specialises in typography and all things hand drawn. She lives in Cambridge and splits her time between drawing, pointing at dogs and grumbling about poor grammar on signs. Nic designed the poster for Enchanted Cinema presents A Christmas Film Festival.

The festival is a fundraiser for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and so Nic produced all the artwork for free. She’s great. Ellen and Nic had a chat on the phone and talked about illustrator life and what’s up next for Nic.

  1. How did you get started as an illustrator?

As a kid I was always drawing. It was such a great moment when I realised that illustration was actually a career! I studied illustration at the University of Plymouth, graduated in 2011 and then it all went from there really.

  1. How would you describe your style?

So I do everything by hand and most of my work is typography. I would say my style’s pretty playful. Doing things really accurately is not my thing, I like to be free and do things by hand. I’d describe my style as being quirky too. Playful and quirky.

  1. How did you find your style? Has it changed since you started?

As a teenager I doodled a lot, song lyrics and things like that. I’ve always loved language and working with words and lettering sort of came naturally.

At university I suddenly had access to so many resources and learnt different techniques and ways of creating imagery through illustration. I think you really realise what your style is when you’re working alongside so many other illustrators. I’ve realised how much I love illustrating through words and that I’ll always prefer to take on projects where I can use lettering and typography. That’s the great thing about being freelance, I can pick and choose what I do.

  1. What’s your creative process?

Normally I start in my sketchbook. I never really use a pencil, I just go for it from the word go and put pen to paper. I tend to scan in my work and then use Photoshop to fill in colours.

I don’t think many other illustrators are this old-fashioned, but I do still sometimes use tracing paper. Ooh and I sometimes use Indian ink and a dip pen.

  1. What’s the best thing about being an illustrator?

That I get paid to draw things for people! As a kid that was my dream to spend my life just drawing and now I’m doing it. I get to do exactly what I love and somehow I can earn a living doing it too, how amazing.

  1. What inspires you?

Modern landscapes. Signs. Literally any and all signs. Road signs, shop signs. I stop so often to make a notes and take photos of any that get my attention.
When I go abroad I always think that the most conventional and obvious place for me to find inspiration as an artist would be in galleries or at exhibitions. But that’s not really how I work. I tend to go to sketchy areas and draw shop fronts and old signs.
Music inspires me a lot too. Song lyrics often become part of my work. Language and words are always central to what I do. It can be a lyric, an overheard conversation, phrases in speech or wording on a sign that gives me an idea.

  1. Where do you do your work?

From home mostly. I have a corner of my living room where I do a lot of my work. We live in a little cottage and my neighbour has a studio which we use. I tend to do the sketching and scanning at home and then go to the studio for screen printing.

Something I love to do is meet up with my artist/filmmaker/writer/illustrator friends. We get together in a cafe – CB2 is a nice spot – and spin ideas. It’s nice to work alongside each other, think I’d go crazy if I did all my work on my own.

  1. What’s your favourite music/podcast to listen to as you work?

Good question. Music wise, it really depends on my mood and what’s on my mind at the time. I’ve actually only recently got into the big podcasts. I loved listening to S-Town and Serial. I’m also really into The Guilty Feminist, I designed their logo which was fun. Podcasts are great, it’s nice listening to conversations and stories as I draw.

  1. What did you enjoy about designing this poster?

It was really nice to have creative freedom to be playful with this design. I wanted it to be festive but not necessarily red and green and gold and glittery. I thought about what would catch people’s eyes as they walk past the poster. I enjoyed working out how to communicate all the info about the festival. It’s so pleasing to draw letters and experiment with the words!

  1. Why did you want to get involved in A Christmas Film Festival in aid of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices?

I was referred to the project by a good friend whose opinion I really trust. I love film and it’s felt like a natural thing to be part of. The autism friendly screening of The Polar Express is something that really got me on board with the project too. It’s great that Enchanted Cinema are creating a way for people with autism, their parents and carers to enjoy a film in a safe space.

So why did I want to get involved? I’m always up for getting involved with local charities. I didn’t really think twice. I like drawing and, why not?

Catch Nic and her partner in Hot Yoghurt (self-titled ‘stay at home screenprinting sorcerers’) at Mill Road Winter Fair on Saturday 2nd December where they’ll be selling their prints, tees & tote bags for you to nab as Christmas presents for yourself or your favourite people.
Click here for Nic’s Etsy Shop & here for the Hot Yoghurt Shop.