News story from Ashville College

Ashville Sixth Former ‘key ingredient’ in Ed Balls charity cookery evening

A Harrogate Sixth Former is to be a key ingredient in a charity cookery event this Monday (November 22) starring former Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls.

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19th November 2021 — Thomas Grattoni-May, from Ashville College, will be Mr Balls’ ‘commis chef’ as the former MP-come-TV-celebrity cooks and chats with journalist and broadcaster, Samira Ahmed, about family life, stammering – and cooking!

The evening - being staged in London on the evening of Monday, November 22, in front of a live audience in addition to being live-streamed - has been organised by Action for Stammering Children, whose aim is for a society where children and young people who stammer have the same opportunities and quality of life as their peers.

Whilst Mr Balls - who has just published a new book, Appetite, which is part autobiography and part cookbook, and where each chapter is a recipe that tells a story - is a vice president of the national charity, Thomas is a key member of its Youth Panel.

During An Evening with Ed Balls, the Strictly Come Dancing Star will be cooking one of his recipes, whilst at the same time being interviewed by Samira Ahmed, one of the charity’s trustees. And for his part, Thomas will be doing the ‘running’.

Thomas said: “Even though I’m a hopeless cook, I’m really looking forward to being Ed’s commis chef. I think it will be great fun, and more importantly one that helps raise funds for Action for Stammering Children.

“Members of the charity’s Youth Panel were asked if they would like to assist at this event, which is a cross between This Is Your Life and Saturday Kitchen. Having met Ed on a number of occasions, I said ‘yes’, and was asked if I would be his ‘commis chef’.

“Next September, I’m hopefully heading off to university, and for the first time I’ll have to cook for myself. Appetite will certainly be one book high up on my reading list!”

Last month, Thomas was named as a global winner of the inaugural Rise Challenge, a youth competition launched by Google billionaires to support exceptional young people in the service of others.

His ‘big idea’ that caught the organiser’s attention is to create a global stammering app to offer speech and language therapy to individuals around the world who currently have little or no access to support services. Thomas hopes to bring together charities to share resources and expertise and create a global community of stammerers.

All proceeds from An Evening With Ed Balls, including ticket sales, will go towards supporting children and young people who stammer, and their families.

Further information about An Evening With Ed Balls is available here

For more information about Ashville College please visit

For more information about the charity, Action for Stammering Children, please visit

Ashville College (Coed 3-18) is a day and boarding school in Yorkshire.

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