Monday, 24 November 2008

Scarlet to pull Santa's Sleigh .......maybe !

I have been asked recently if i can help out at the Mansfield Woodhouse Christmas parade by using Scarlet (the Scirocco!) to tow Santa Claus (is that supposed to be all one word ?) as it appears that all of his reindeer have bogged off to the south of France for a holiday right up until Christmas eve !. Anyway, I have agreed in principal to this offer although there is a slight issue regarding the fact that the parade is on the 14th December,and Scarlets MOT runs out on the 2nd !......oops !.

This would not normally be an problem, however due to myself and Glen gallivanting off around Europe a few months ago (what was all that about ?), the costs involved with that little jolly boys outing, and the close proximity of Crimbo (I have 3 kids with expensive taste!) i am feeling the effects of the credit if the MOT identifies any expensive work requirements, i may not be able to meet the costs to get her through until the new year...and that of course would be well after the 14th :-(.

I really hope that I can use the old girl to tow Santa, as It would be a fantastic end to a rather amazing and eventful year, and besides, I have all sorts of mad ideas about attaching fake antlers and a flashing red nose to her bonnet just to give her that "organic" look.

So, if anyone either knows a good garage that would be willing to help me out with this little matter, or anyone who can offer their services to rectify any problems that may be found when she goes up on the ramps...please feel free to get in touch.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Joel was laid to rest yesterday

On Tuesday I attended the funeral of Joel Picker-Spence at the parish church of Mary Magdalen in Newark. After the service of thanksgiving some, me included, went on to the Sherwood crematorium for his final committal.

Now at this point I was going to describe the service,but several newspapers have already done this so I won't.Instead I will simply say that what I saw and heard that day moved me to tears. The story that was told that day in church of a child who fought his disease like a tiger, smiled like the sun,played with his friends,had fun and touched the hearts of many. I had the privilege of knowing Joel and his wonderful family for only a few months, but the experience has left a lasting impression upon me, and I am sure that his story has certainly touched the hearts of so many others.

I have heard some people ask why this had to happen to Joel.Why was such a happy and loving youngster made to suffer this terrible disease, and why was it not the happy ending that we all hoped and prayed it would be. I can't say that I know the answer to such a question,but I would like to think that Joel's death will somehow help others, perhaps make people take more notice of the pain and suffering that is all around them, and maybe spur them on to take action and try to make a difference.

For Joel the journey is over all to soon, but in the the short time he had in this world he proved himself to be so much more than just another poor kid with blood cancer.He was a example to us all, a bright star that lit a beacon of hope and it is down to us that are still here to carry that beacon and try to make a difference in the constant fight against the enemy we call Leukaemia.

They say that the smallest stars are the ones that shine most brightly.Well now there is a new star in the sky, and boy is it putting the others in the shade :-).Rest in peace Joel.

Ooops!....A few people that I forgot to mention

My most sincere apologies to the people that I am about to mention in the list below.
These are the kind folk from far and wide who have helped us so much with our fundraising.I guess that you would call them "the back room boys" (and girls!).Lots of money was raised via Ebay and Freecycle, and it is through such means that over £460 pounds of additional money was secured.So, please give yourself a pat on the back for an excellent job !.Well done :-)

Nigel & Jill (Holbeach) - special thanks
Gareth and Melee (Branston) - special thanks
Sally (Lincoln)
Andrea (St Catherines)
Jane (Canwick) - via Ebay
Tracy (Digby)
Laura (Billinghay)
Jules (Thorpe-on-the-hill)
Kelly (Newark) - via Ebay
Carol (Coningsby)
Fraser (Sleaford) - at car boot
Ann (Mablethorpe)
Matrix (Lincoln) - Ebay sales
Ian (Cranwell) - via Ebay
Caz (Sleaford)
Jayne (Hartsholme)
Susan (Lincoln)
Alix (Metheringham)

My apologies if I have forgotten anyone but you will all know how appreciative I was for your generosity. It's the kind and generous folk like these that restore your faith in human nature.Sorry that I took so long to get around to giving you all the credit that you deserve, and thanks to Kaz for reminding me :-)

Extra special thanks must also go to Kaz and Pete in Cranwell, without whom our job would have been so much more difficult, especially when we went to RAF Waddington and Kaz met me at 6am to supply a white board and a selection of scribbling sticks to use with it !...Ta !

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Just found out about cord blood donation..sounds amazing!

Terie Duffy,cord blood coordinator for Anthony Nolan, with donor mums

Cord blood donation. Now if you are like me you have probably never heard of this term until now, and if by chance you have heard about it, do you know what the story is behind it ?
Let me enlighten you a little, based on what I have found out so far:

Cord Blood is the residual blood that is left over in the part of the umbilical cord that is disposed of after mother and child have been separated. In other words, it would normally be disposed of by the hospital when the birth is complete.
This cord blood is astonishing stuff, it contains large amounts of hematopoietic stem cells, brand new and incredibly "naive" cells that ( due to being still immature) can change into numerous types of cell, this allows them to be used to "repair" damaged cells in area's such as the brain,bone marrow and even the heart !.
I am still swatting up on this information, but this is a link to 2 UK websites which contain a lot more useful information: The NHS one is here at : and this is the Anthony Nolan site:

This sounds like a very promising new development in the fight to find cures and treatments for a wide range of illnesses, including Leukaemia, and the best part about it is that it carries no invasive procedures to "harvest" the cord what is the problem ?
Well the main problem currently within the UK is that there are only 5 hospitals that are offering the cord blood donation harvest to new parents.4 that are run through the NHS Cord Blood Bank service at Northwick Park Hospital in Middlesex, Barnet General Hospital in North London, Luton and Dunstable Hospital in Bedfordshire,Watford General Hospital in Hertfordshire and Mater Infirmorum Hospital over in Belfast. the King's College Hospital in London also provides a service via the Anthony Nolan Trust.In the US there are currently 20+ hospitals involved in Cord Blood harvesting, thus many more mothers are able to give this life saving gift at the time of their child's birth.

Have a look at the video that is posted in the left hand column of this blog for more details.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Nathan Hancock also sadly passed away this weekend.

I had only just been talking to Ann and Dan (Joel's mum and dad) when later today my dad told me that there had been another loss of a brave leukaemia sufferer over the weekend.

Nathan Hancock had been a promising footballer, but sadly his career was cut short by a broken leg. He then changed career and was enjoying his work with Linkage Community Trust at Toynton where he worked teaching sports to adults with learning difficulties when he was diagnosed with Leukaemia in February this year.

The main difficulty in treating Nathan was the fact that because he was of mixed race he required a specific and more difficult to obtain bone marrow transplant donor to be found, and sadly there is a shortage of bone marrow donors registered from ethnic communities.

His family tried desperately to find a suitable donor, but even though there was a fantastic turn out to sessions held in the local area, it was too late to save his life.

Nathan was only 22 years old, but before he passed away,yet he asked that the search for, and recruitment of, bone marrow donors should go on, so that others may be given a chance to beat this cruel and aggressive disease. It is up to us to ensure that that wish is pursued with as much vigor and urgency as we can muster, and to ensure that the push for more donors is sought, for the memory of Nathan,Joel and Adrian Sudbury and all the other brave fighters who are nothing less than hero's and who's examples of courage and bravery we can all seek inspiration from.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Joel Picker-Spence passed away last night.

Today I got a message that I had been dreading the arrival of for some weeks now, the news that little Joel Picker-Spence aged 6, had passed away in hospital after his brave fight with leukaemia.
I was going to title this post as "Joel loses his fight with leukaemia", but it seemed unfair to suggest that he had somehow failed to achieve his goal to live, and besides it would not give him the credit that he deserves in relation to the vast amount of encouragement and motivation that he has given not only myself, but also the hundreds and thousands of people that have followed the story of one small boys courageous battle with such a great enemy.
Joel Picker-Spence did not "loose" his fight, he eventually bowed to the unrelenting disease that was his leukaemia, but to all those who bore witness to his smiles,laughter and love that he had for his friends and family, he was a real hero,as was his mum Anne, who was always by his side during his numerous hospital visits.
I have yet to hear of any hero that has ever truly lost any fight.
God bless you Joel.Our thoughts are also with Ann,Dan,Sean and Eva his smashing and so obviously loving family.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

A trip down memory music!

As I write this post I am listening to a live concert DVD performed by a band you may (or may not have, dependant upon your age!) have heard of called OMD or to be more precise,Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark.Admittedly Andy McClusky and Paul Humphreys do look a damn site older, but their voices and the sound is just so...well...OMD!
The set they are doing is from the album "Architecture and Morality" circa 1981.It's strange, but I had forgotten how much of a place music like this had in my life during my teenage years, and this album in particular brings back some pretty good memories of a school trip to Paris,France when I was about 15-16 years old, especially "Souvenir" and "Sealand".
I remember giving my cassette (remember those ?) to the bus driver early in the trip, and from that point on it seemed to be constantly on the bus stereo !.So it should not come as a surprise then to find that every occasion since my teen trip to France, OMD singing any of the tracks from this album instantly trigger thoughts of Paris :-).

Our lives seem to pass so quickly once we leave school and enter the "grownup" world of work,possibly marriage,kids etc, and sometimes it is easy to forget the "good times" that we have experienced before we entered the rough and tumble of the "adult" phase of our lives, and we find then that on the many occasions that we find life hard to cope with,due to stress,money or illness, we can draw upon "the movies of our minds" (Ah-Ha,Analogue LP), the memories of better days that we store somewhere in our heads,dormant, like those piles of video's in the cupboard, the ones you forget you have, but upon finding them once again we can't wait to view "for old times sake".
We should all take a Little time out of our busy grown up schedules to sit down, take some time and try to remember the good old days, for in times of hardship,worry or fear memories can be some forgotten good friends that all of us carry with us everyday, and like the best friends, they won't ask why you haven't called in 20 years, they just tell you how good it is to see you again, then enthusiastically spend a long time reminiscing about the glorious past.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Good short measures !

Reading the SUN today my attention was taken by a small atrticle (if you could call it that!), that read as follows:

"LEUKAEMIA sufferers were given fresh hope yesterday with a major DNA breakthrough.

The cancer is caused by abnormal production of white blood cells and current treatment relies on killing them.

Now New York scientists have discovered a drug that reprogrammes the cells back into healthy ones.

Study leader Michael Cosgrove said: “Our discovery will bring new ways to treat leukaemia.”

Isn't it strange how this very encouraging an possibly important news was given such low exposure, and yet subjects such as Peter and Katie/Jordan Andre/Price having a snog, the American election and Motor mouth Russell Brand (yawn), got so much more space!.

Anyway, here is the link to the web page that has the full story not just a "stocking filler" such as the way that the SUN decided to report it !