May 2014

Sweet dreams are a trifle for UCB

Read time: approx 1 mins

Chefs at University College Birmingham made little Connie Thorne’s sweet dreams come true by making her a giant strawberry trifle.

Connie, aged 11, was treated to a special party after beating cancer with the help of medics at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation UK offered the Kings Heath youngster a special treat and Connie’s mother, Carrie Weekes, said her daughter’s response was instant, saying: “I like fireworks – and I really like trifle.”

The firework display was arranged for Connie’s family and friends at Kings Heath Cricket Club and UCB was delighted to step in and create the delicious trifle.

The sweet treat, big enough to feed 150 hungry mouths, was made with:

  • 8 litres of strawberry jelly 
  • 8 litres of custard 
  • 6 litres of double cream
  • 3kg of vanilla sponge
  • 2kg of strawberries
  • 1kg of dark chocolate

Carrie, 42, said: “When Connie saw the trifle she was chuffed to bits – and a bit overwhelmed. She had no idea how big it would be.

“UCB was brilliant. Connie was asked which flavours she wanted and she just wanted strawberry. She likes the classics.

“It was a lovely, gorgeous trifle, really tasty. You are worried that on that giant scale it would lose something in flavour but it was lovely. People said it was the best trifle they had ever tasted.”

Dahiyah Yunos, a third-year Culinary Arts Management student, helped to create the dessert under the guidance of chef lecturer Bernhard Schumacher.

Chef Schumacher, leader on the specialist pastry techniques module, said: “It was great to see Dahiyah give her time for this worthy cause and apply her skills, working with melted chocolate to produce simple but effective decorations.”

Connie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a form of cancer which affects blood-producing cells in the bone marrow, in September 2011. Connie began chemotherapy treatment and was rushed to hospital on a number of occasions as doctors were worried about her contracting infections. She was ill with measles and shingles at the same time last summer and was in isolation for a week.

Connie’s treatment was completed in November and she will still have regular check-ups for the next five years.

Her mother praised the love and support Connie received from her friends throughout her ordeal. They rallied round when she passed treatment landmarks such as losing her hair.

Carrie said: “Her hair came off in one go and then she was bald. Her friends never commented on it. They just used to comment on her cool hats.”

Almost 300 children are diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia each year in the UK, according to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

  • There are 20,000 children and young people in the UK fighting a life-threatening condition. Make-A-Wish, which receives no government funding or lottery grants, plans to grant more than 1,000 wishes in 2014 and needs to raise £7 million. For more information, go to
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