FIRSTLY, may I take this opportunity to wish you a very happy New Year.

Malton is full of the most surprising things. I know my focus is the wonderful world of food here in Malton and I promise I will get to that connection in just a moment, but I hope you’ll forgive me if I turn this column’s attention to a superb charity that I am now involved in.

The Encephalitis Society is based in Malton and they are truly inspiring. Their Castlegate offices are not just regional or even national, this global charity and I do mean global, is based in Malton.

Phone lines are there for those affected and their families to ask questions and to get help or advice. Calls are fielded from all around the world; as well as many from Britain and Europe, there are calls from India, South America and even a call in 2015 from a family in Mongolia.

But what is the disease?

Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain. It can occur at any age, in any part of the world and is caused either by infection (often everyday common infections) or through the immune system attacking the brain in error.

Subsequently many survivors are left with an acquired brain injury, the degree and severity of which will vary.

One survivor who I have met in Malton has a particularly inspiring story.

Tim Bond, whose career as a successful company director saw him travel the globe for business, train in the gym six days a week, and enjoy a hectic social life was changed considerably.

Encephalitis initially left him lying in a coma and robbed him of mobility on his right side. Hearing in one ear was affected as well as his speech.

And here is where the promised connection with food comes in; while recovering from encephalitis, Tim Bond rediscovered his love of cooking.

With the help of Delia Smith’s book, How to Cook, Tim embraced the world of food and in 2014 published his very own cookbook Food For Thought… and Brain.

The book features 29 recipes with all the proceeds going to the charity. But he didn’t stop there; in 2014, Tim visited Malton’s Food Lovers Festival and it was at Malton Cookery School where an amazing dinner he cooked at the chef’s table convinced him to go to the next level and open his own place.

His business Relish Canteen opened in Tim’s hometown of Eastleigh and surely is a testament to his strength, resilience and the fact that he is a damn good chef.

My admiration goes to the Encephalitis Society. Established in 1994 it remains the only resource of its kind anywhere in the world, providing accredited information and direct support to patients, families and medical professionals. And all from little old Malton.

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