DREAMSAI IS RUNNING a BLOOD CAMP at Christ the Cornerstone Milton Keynes - 5pm to 7pm Wednesday 29th January 2020 - to book a slot or for more information please contact: admin@dreamsai.org

I was aged about nine, perhaps ten - YEP that is me.  George would have been the same age, he would have been after all we were in the same class.

I went home from school and told my mother there was a black boy in the class, he was new to the school having joined that day.

I do hope you are not teasing him, Mum said.

Tease him ?  No way !  We all wanted to be George's friend, to be friends with someone who was different - unique.

When Idi Amin threw the Asians out of Uganda in the early seventies Milton Keynes Development Corporation allocated a number of houses within the new city for some to live in. Some students from the teacher training college I was attending at the time moved in ahead of the new residents to protect the properties from being trashed by those who did not want these refugees with brown faces as their next door neighbours.

We knew the threat but did not understand it. We knew of the civil rights problems in America but we did not understand them and did not wish to have them in our country.

I was working in a project that took me to Detroit. With a friend I attended a meeting where we were the only white faces in a room of more than one hundred. It felt uncomfortable, I felt uneasy being in the minority.

I am going to confess to something, I am not proud of this but tracing my family tree I find that John Ashford was a slave owner on the Caribbean Island of Antigua. When the law was changed to abolish slavery in the British Empire he had to free his slaves. He was substantially compensated.

In 1971 Blue Mink had a hit with this song. I have always loved it.

Society had changed. The black face of my school friend George and all like him have enriched Britain. Races are starting to merge but there can be resistance on all sides. We still need a melting pot !

If you are like me an average, middle of the road white guy in need of an organ transplant it will happen. Even for an old man like me. You may have to wait but a life-saving organ transplant will come your way.

But if your face is the colour of my childhood friend George or brown like those Idi Amin was throwing out of his country and you need an organ transplant your chance of a life-saving organ are about 2%. The other 98% mean you will shake hands with The Angel of Death!

There is soon to be a change in the law where it is assumed you can donate your organs on your death as a matter of routine. If you do not want to donate then you have to opt out !  However, family members can overturn your wishes. This new law is not going to be the success some people hope it will be. Read my own story about organ donation and the work I did with Elizabeth Ward, the founder of the original Kidney Donor card.

Change of the law or not the best place to be if you need a kidney transplant or any other organ for that matter is that of an average, middle of the road white person. Tough luck if you are anything different !

Working with a former teaching colleague, a dear friend and now a Worktree colleague Mondira we are launching Melting Pot. Mondira is the Indian lady in the saree. Mondira and Councillor Mohamed Khan from Milton Keynes Council are helping The Sunshine Smile Crew reach out into the Islamic community to present the need for organ donation. We also want to talk to the Ghanaian, Japanese and Sheikh communities. We want to lovingly do our bit to heat up the melting pot and change the prospect of that 2% chance ever closer to the chance I and those like me have should we need a transplant.

Is this a Sunshine Smile Crew project that is of interest to you. No matter what your shade of skin, if you can contribute to help save lives drop me an e-mail and let's chat.

We are now working with Dreamsai and the Indian community.

We have met with the Imam of our local mosque and will be initiating some exciting things in the New Year.

Now working with NHS Blood and Transplant to co-ordinate activities.

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