Please meet Fusilier Thomas Ashford VC.

Thomas raced out under enemy fire without thought for his own safety to rescue a wounded friend. He was awarded The Victoria Cross for Bravery. His medal is part of a Victoria Cross display in The Tower of London.

I took my grandson, Adam, to London to see Thomas's medal. He was very proud of his ancestor's bravery.

He would not be so proud of his grandfather's cowardice !

I am a blood donor, eight weeks short of my 69th birthday I am to receive an award from The NHS Blood And Transplant Service.  An award for being a sad, pathetic coward.

Don't I look cool in that picture on the right ?  Young, cool and sexy. Young, cool, sexy AND A SAD PATHETIC COWARD.

I don't look like that any more but today I am not a coward. However, Thomas Ashford's bravery and Victoria Cross were part of his life - all of his life. My cowardice from younger days is part of my life and can never leave me.

As a young man at Teacher Training College the matron, Mrs Meek, received an award for donating fifty pints of blood. She invited we students to become blood donors.

NO WAY !  No was was I having somebody stick a needle in me and take out one eighth of my blood.  Needle !  It terrified me. I didn't care if it did save lives nobody was going to stick a needle in me !

My darling daughter Rebekah was born with renal failure, she spent most of her childhood in and out of hospital. She received so many operations, ever operation receiving a blood transplant.    Did her father become a blood donor ?

 Did I heck ! I was far too much a coward, nobody was going to stick a needle in me !

Would I have rushed out under enemy fire to save a friend as had done Thomas Ashford ?  I would like to think I would. Then why did I not have the courage to donate blood ?

Donating blood saves lives. You do not get awarded The Victoria Cross for donating blood but thank goodness there were those who donated blood for my daughter to receive transfusions.

So finally after many years I found the courage to donate my first pint of blood.  I was so scared as I waited for my turn, scared about the needle going into my arm.

Do you know what - when they stick the needle into your arm you do not feel a thing !

Friday 20th September 2019 I receive my award for donating 25 pints of blood.  I am pleased I have donated 25 pints but not proud of winning the award. Had I been brave enough when Matron Meek suggested in April 1973 that I become a blood donor Friday 20th September 2019 would be my 139th pint.

I am determined to live long enough to match Matron Meek and achieve 50 pints donation. December 2027 I will do that, I will not long have celebrated my 77th birthday. I really will be The Geriatric DJ then won't I ?

How old would I be to reach 100 pints donation ?

You can donate three time a year so I need to live another 25 years. That would make me 94 years of age.

Could I do that ?  You know I am going to give it my best shot.  If I can live long enough to donate 100 pints of blood I could die no longer a coward.

So are you a blood donor ?  Are you fit and healthy to be a donor ?  If you are fit and healthy and do not donate then you are a coward just as I was. Do not carry the shame that I have become a blood donor and save lives.

Join The Sunshine Smile Crew, click the picture on the right, and help find more happy, smiling people to become blood donors.

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David Ashford The Geriatric DJ

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