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Max is the bees for Manchester charity

Max Beesley was in town on Tuesday to open the brand new Hilton Hotel and raise awareness for The Five Star Scanner Appeal. Manchester Confidential caught up with him…

Published on November 9th 2006.

Max is the bees for Manchester charity

I had been off work with flu, with nothing but a duvet, some Kleenex and a DVD box set of Pride and Prejudice to keep me company. Arriving to work on Tuesday morning, half recovered but pilled up to the eyeballs on flu tablets, I was greeted by Gemma, big smile on face, saying ‘hi Jayne, hope you’re feeling better, you’re interviewing Max Beesley tonight – is that ok? By the way – you look terrible!’

To be honest, it was a mixed bag of emotions that I felt in that moment. But, looking terrible or not, I was meeting the delectable Max Beesley. And it wasn’t just a Sudafed fuelled hallucination either.

Max was in town to open the swanky, spanky new Hilton on Deansgate. You know, the one in that massive tower that can be seen from Belgium.

By the time I arrived to meet him I had just missed the cutting of the ribbon and Max was naturally on a high. "You’ve missed everything" he joked. "It was a lovely moment". Oh well. Onwards and upwards, upwards being the appropriate word here.

I asked Burnage born Max how he felt being invited to cut the ribbon on such a landmark building in his home town. ‘It was a virginal experience’ he said, his famous cheeky smile spreading across his face. ‘I’ve never actually cut a ribbon before ever in my life, and to do it in my home town, in such an amazing building was fantastic! It was just lovely to do it in… you know… London’s one thing, but coming home to Manchester…’

Max’s main reason for attending the Hilton launch was to raise awareness of the Five Star Scanner Appeal, of which he is a patron. Max’s enthusiasm for the charity would be enough to make even Ebeneezer Scrooge empty his pockets.

The charity’s aim is to raise £1,000,000 to bring a much needed replacement MRI scanner to The New Manchester Children’s Hospital. The Hilton hotel have pledged to assist the charity by donating the use of their rooms for events and provide any assistance that they can in raising the much needed million. “To have a hotel that is such a landmark helping us, that’s fantastic” enthuses Max.

So far they have around £300,000, which has taken three years to raise. But Max hopes that by increasing awareness of the appeal, the one million target could be reached by 2008.

“It’s gonna take a lot of hard work, but hopefully we’ll be able to do it” he says, with a look on his face that screams determination. “The sad thing is, that if you could get hold of a few people and take them on a little walk around the wards on an afternoon, they’d probably not only donate some money, but they’d remortgage their houses and give you that as well, do you know what I mean? But we’re just trying our best with events like this, to make people aware.”

He means it. It’s obvious that he’s completely committed to the cause. I asked him how he came to be involved with the charity.

“Well”, he says, getting comfortable in his chair and resting his chin on his hand as though he’s about to tell me a bedtime story. “Frank Lammar (the charity’s ‘Guardian Angel’) was a very good family friend, my mother used to work a lot at his club and, Dad did you play there as well?” Max’s father, the famous jazz musician Maxton Beesley was sat across the table. “Yes, yes I did” he nods eagerly.

Max continued, “when Frank was dying, he said ‘do me one thing kid, please try and get involved in this charity, because it would mean a lot.’ So that was it, the orders were in. Then I get involved and became close with loads of kids, and one family in particular, who were just awe inspiring you know, and it makes you think, if there’s any other roads you can go down other than your own self obsessive road then this has gotta be it.”

The name of the game at the moment for the Five Stars Scanner Appeal is awareness. “Up in Manchester I think that a lot of people associate with the Kirsty appeal because of the media exposure that appeal’s having” says Max, “it’s been an amazing appeal, and I think they’ve reached their target of 5 million quid now, which is just absolutely phenomenal. Well we really need to be doing that”

So how does the appeal propose to raise the remaining £700,000? “We’re just trying our best through events like this” he urges. “And as I said to Giggsy (that’s Mr Ryan Giggs to you and me, dear reader) the other day, if we do two very successful events we’ve nearly created about half a million pounds towards that scanner, and that’s got to be worth you know, winning the Champion’s League or winning an Oscar for me, you know what I mean? That would just be the greatest feeling for me, you know, I’d feel really great about that.” I believe him. His enthusiasm is infectious. I make a mental note to donate some money to the cause when I get home.

There’s no question of Max’s Manchester roots. Despite his fame, he seems the young Northern scallywag through and through, completely down to earth and sincere. So how often does he make it back to his home town?

“I get up as often as possible to see my family, my father, my stepmother and my sister, and go around all the old haunts which is quite weird. I drive around Salford and Burnage and that, I look at where I used to go to school and stuff. It’s just nice now and again to have that. Christmas time you know, you’re away travelling around the world pursuing these dreams, then it’s nice to just come back and go ‘bang, this is where I’m from’ you know. It’s a good little tonic I think.”

I think I’m probably now a little in love with Max Beesley. As I prepared to leave, I began to concoct ways to kidnap him and take him home with me. But alas, my conscience said no. The kids need him more than I do.

For more information on the Five Stars Scanner Appeal, click here to visit the website.

Donating is quick and easy by the way –click here for details.

Jayne Robinson
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