Main fundraiser photo

Can you help raise funds to repair Tim's cello?

Donation protected
My beautiful 18th-century English cello, which I have used as my professional instrument for the last 15 years, suffered a devastating accident at the Buxton International Festival on 23rd July this year when broadcaster, Iain Dale fell off the stage in Buxton Opera House He fell 10-12 ft, injuring himself and causing immense damage to the instrument despite it being in a strong carbon fibre case.

It was, of course, a relief to realise. that my cello almost certainly saved Iain from sustaining far more serious injuries than he did. Indeed Iain himself has said that it may well have saved his life. A human life is far more precious than any instrument, however, my poor cello has been left in tatters.

Further photos of the cello post-accident can be found here. Here are a few photographs of the cello in its pre-accident condition:

This shot was taken just two days before the accident (with thanks to Kit Ryall for the image).

The cello is a high-quality English instrument made in the early 18th century but has never been attributed to a specific maker with any absolute certainty. Had it been possible to do this, its market value would have been significantly higher, yet its quality as an instrument has never been questioned. This meant that when I bought the cello, its cost was relatively low compared to its quality - a great proposition from a player's perspective...but terrible news for me now!

Sadly, my insurers have written off the cello due to the likely repair cost in relation to its value. This was a decision I supported as I felt that I could not afford to take the risks associated with having the cello repaired. A restoration would be likely to take at least a year and coupled with the inevitable loss of value and my immediate need for an instrument as a performing musician, I felt these combined risks were too significant for me to take on. However, I am devastated at losing my instrument and my identity as a musician in the blink of an eye like this. I would dearly love to find a way to bring it back to life.

UPDATE: I am delighted to say that I have now begun the process of repairing the cello, and the cost is likely to be considerably less than my original target. As such, I have brought the target figure down to £15,000. Anything generated through this fund would be incredibly helpful in my quest to bring the cello back to life. Any surplus funds will be donated to Help Musicians, who have supported many friends and colleagues so brilliantly over recent years. The work will be carried out by Charlie Collis, a highly respected repairer and instrument maker.

I feel acutely aware that we are all facing significant challenges due to the cost-of-living crisis and know that many musicians are facing highly uncertain futures in the current climate. However, as musicians, our instruments are not just historical things of beauty. They are the tools of our trade and the vehicles of our expression through which we earn our livings and can feed our families.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the emotional support, loan of instruments, practical advice, and help so far with searching for a replacement instrument. Before I finish, below is a recording I made on the cello of a beautiful and contemplative piece of music called The Plaint, written by Nicholas Marshall. It seems to be a perfect piece to lament the (hopefully temporary) loss of my instrument.

If you are able to donate anything, however small, to this fundraiser (or know people who might be in a position to), it would be hugely appreciated. Please share far & wide – and thank you!

Tim Smedley


  • Christine Race
    • £20 
    • 2 mos
  • Sally Hammill
    • £100 
    • 4 mos
  • Paul Dieter Senn
    • £100 
    • 5 mos
  • Catherine Bunting
    • £25 
    • 5 mos
  • Anonymous
    • £5 
    • 5 mos


Tim Smedley

Your easy, powerful, and trusted home for help

  • Easy

    Donate quickly and easily

  • Powerful

    Send help right to the people and causes you care about

  • Trusted

    Your donation is protected by the GoFundMe Giving Guarantee