GALLERY: For one night only a family home becomes Chez Amelie ‘pop up’ restaurant to raise cash for meningitis research

HOME sweet home took on a new meaning for an East Cambs couple who turned much of their downstairs into a ‘pop up’ restaurant and raised �1,600 for meningitis research.

Sally Clipson and her partner Kevin Smith lost their three year-old daughter Amelie to meningitis in 2008 whilst the family was living in France.

On Saturday and now living in Fordham Road, Soham, the couple rallied friends and supporters to help research into meningitis by turning their home into ‘Chez Amelie’, a 28 cover restaurant.

An exotic French meal – provided by volunteers and supporters- meant the proceeds could go straight to charity.

And with no fixed price for any of the food or wine (guests were invited to pay what they felt the meal was worth) the money rolled in.

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Kevin said the evening was “beyond all our expectations- I think people were expecting to eat in our front room but it turned out they ate in what felt like a proper restaurant”.

The couple plan to repeat the restaurant evening, possibly every six months or so, and have been promised support from suppliers and friends.

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Sally said G’s had been particularly helpful, providing fresh produce and even sending out word to Covent Garden suppliers to source vegetables they didn’t grow themselves.

“With other donations we are up to �1,800 and really happy with the response,” said Sally. Some tables were booked by people they knew but mostly from those who had read about their event.

Key to the evening was local chef Tim Hill who helped with the menu planning and prepared the food.

Sally added: “It was fantastic, a great weekend with all our diners going away happy.”


Cash raised is going to Meningitis UK, a charity close to the couple for obvious reason after Amelie died of bacterial meningitis in 2008. Sally said: “We had been living in a town on the banks of the Dordogne for six years. Kevin worked as an engineer on the Airbus A380 project in Toulouse.

“Amelie, aged three had just started school and her sister Olivia was 9 months old when Amelie became ill very suddenly after presenting signs of a common cold in the first half term of her nursery year.

“Within 12 hours of reaching hospital in Bordeaux her brain had died. She was a very gentle, kind little girl with great spirit and we were so proud of her and continue to be.

“After her death she went on to give life to three other children with the amazing gift of organ donation. Although Amelie had been vaccinated against meningitis the current vaccine does not cover all types of Meningitis.

“The charity Meningitis UK’s main focus is to fund vaccine development research, with the aim of eradicating all forms of meningitis and it’s associated diseases, saving families in the future from the heartbreak of losing someone to this devastating disease.”

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