A Night of Resilience and Revelry: “Alive!” Triumphs at Rockwater, Hove

Under the stars, the echoes of laughter mixed with stories of survival reminded us of life's precious rhythm and the pure joy of being part of it.


June 2023


Rockwater, Hove

Hosted by

Bob Harris OBE & David Attree

As the evening lights dimmed over the iconic Rockwater in Hove and the last reverberations of applause echoed across the lawns, the overwhelming sentiment was one of profound joy, unity, and a deep appreciation for life. “Alive!”, an extraordinary event hosted by radio legend Bob Harris OBE and acclaimed Brighton writer David Attree, left an indelible mark on all those who attended.

In Conversation: Bonded by Shared Battles

The atmosphere was charged with an infectious spirit of resilience, the audience hanging on to every word, every note, and every joke that filled the air. The dynamic duo, Harris and Attree, set the tone for the evening with their compelling dialogue on survival, resilience, and their shared journey with aortic dissection. Their raw, honest conversation added a layer of depth that made the evening truly special.

Show-stopping Performances: From Laughter to Soulful Harmonies

The stage was ablaze with performances that embodied the exuberance of the human spirit. Rich Wilson, with his award-winning humour, had the crowd erupting in laughter, while Hatful of Rain‘s soul-stirring folk and Americana renditions painted a poignant auditory picture. Gramski‘s mesmerising, audience-led freestyle rap left everyone in awe, and the “Professor of Whimsy” Robert Garnham, with his quirky charm, added a sprinkle of enchantment to the evening.

Supporting Bereaved Partners and Family Members of Aortic Dissection Patient

Rich Wilson

Supporting Bereaved Partners and Family Members of Aortic Dissection Patient

Hatful of Rain

Supporting Bereaved Partners and Family Members of Aortic Dissection Patient


Supporting Bereaved Partners and Family Members of Aortic Dissection Patient

Robert Garnham

The event wasn’t just about celebration, it also echoed the importance of the cause it supported. The efforts to raise funds and awareness for aortic dissection were deeply felt, touching every soul present. The contributions to the Aortic Dissection Charitable Trust, from each ticket sold, each round of applause, and each shared laughter, were a testament to the communal spirit of the evening.

Making Waves on BBC Sussex Radio and BBC South East TV

Adding to the impact, “Alive!” was also featured on BBC Sussex Radio and BBC South East TV, where both Bob Harris and David Attree were invited to share their stories and discuss the event. These platforms not only amplified the reach of their vital message but also underscored the event’s importance, painting a broader picture of resilience, and the sheer joy of being alive.

The Promise of Future Celebrations

In essence, “Alive!” was a spectacular tribute to life, an echo of David Attree’s mantra: “I am no longer ill. I am alive. I am now getting better.” The event served as a vivid reminder of life’s fragility, the power of resilience, and the unfettered delight of being alive. We eagerly anticipate more nights of celebration, laughter, resilience, and life.

David’s Story

Late in 2002, David’s cousin, Peter, suffered a sudden and devastating aortic dissection.

After becoming ill at work, Peter was taken to hospital but vital checks weren’t done and he was due to go home after being misdiagnosed. A consultant noticed him in the hospital waiting room by chance though, approached him, listened to his heart, paused, then paged the theatre team there and then.

Peter survived an 18-hour emergency operation, beating the odds after suffering an ascending and descending dissection simultaneously.

Tragically, Peter passed away 3 months later and Marfan Syndrome was discovered.

David was the same age bar 2 days so went for checks for reassurance, only to discover that he had a life-threatening aneurysm and was given 4 weeks to have open-heart surgery to replace his ascending aorta and have a mechanical valve fitted.

That was on April 24th 2003 and David has always felt that as he was “switched off” for a few hours during surgery, when he was re-started, he was also reset.

So, in his mind, this year he turned 20, and acknowledges and celebrates the fact of being alive every single day!

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