Wensum, by Jim Harding, Tuesday, January 17, 2017


MINE’S A PINT: Jim Harding donates his 75th pint of blood.

Time after time I’d meet friends Tim the electrician, Kevin the milkman, John the journalist, Ann from church and Lucy from the gym. All of life was there, doing their bit.

Just as the new year got going I reached a personal milestone with the donation of my 75th ‘pint’. There was a congratulatory card waiting for me at the centre and a definite sense of pride in the achievement. There’s nothing very exceptional about this and I know that many others have not only donated the same amount but have gone on to reach their century and beyond. What is important is the value this small sacrifice incorporates. I was staggered to learn that NHS Blood and Transplant is reliant on 6,000 regular donors attending one of its sessions every day. How astounding is that. When it’s Fakenham’s turn the crew of nurses and assistants, based in Thetford, have a long day of travelling, setting up and ‘doing the business’. Routines have changed slightly in my experience although the basics remain the same. Mostly we now make appointments in advance to avoid long waiting times. Prior to donations there’s a requirement to drink up to a pint of water. When you reach the point of no return, the seats are now adjustable so that you lie much further back than used to be the case.

The staff are invariably cheerful, attentive and always professional in what they do. And yes, a hot or cold drink along with biscuits continues to round off the whole procedure When all is said and done I can only hope that my contributions over the past thirty years or so will have helped make a positive difference to some people out there I will never ever meet.

Could 2017 be the year you joined our happy band of donors? More regulars are certainly required and all the information you need is available on www.blood.co.uk To quote this arm – no pun intended – of the NHS: ‘Do something amazing. Give blood’.

When it comes to charity fund-raising, Sharon Moore would take some beating. She set her heart on supporting the Cystic Fibrosis Trust when her cousin Donna celebrated her 18th birthday despite being diagnosed with the disease when just six weeks old. That was back in the time when we were all getting used to the new millennium.

Initially Sharon, who is a secretary at Fakenham accountants Larking Gowen, set her sights fairly low, starting out with £1 quiz sheets sold through friends, family, local shops and offices. Then she spread the net much wider with bingo sessions, sponsored walks, fashion shows, an annual tree at the parish church Christmas Tree Festival and collections outside Tesco and Morrisons supermarkets. Year by year she set herself ambitious targets and has inexorably raised the bar to everyone’s surprise except, I suspect, her own.

After the last tree festival in December 2016 she passed her latest goal, a remarkable £50,000. This is some four years earlier than her own prediction to try and reach that figure. Is there no stopping this remarkable lady?

Apparently not. Sharon has set herself yet another target to kick off 2017 – I’m guessing £60,000 - and surely no-one will have any doubts she’ll eventually reach it in her own good time.