Tag Archives: tower hamlets

The most precious of gifts

Working in east London, I see a lot of helicopters. If it’s not the police on a mission, it’s likely to be the air ambulance delivering an urgent case to the Royal London hospital or returning to base there. London’s had an air ambulance service since 1989.

One day, on my way to work near Euston I was passing through Gordon Square Gardens when I heard a helicopter close by. To my surprise, it was an air ambulance and it landed in the square. This is not one of London’s larger squares! A chap jumped out then carefully took a large box out and handed it over to some folks on the ground who took the box to a nearby emergency car and raced off in the direction of Great Ormond Street Hospital.

A few weeks ago, I saw a military helicopter land in Victoria Park while I was out running. They land there as part of an exercise that pilots undertake during their training. They did a couple of circuits around the park and neighbourhood, then landed. After a few minutes they were off again.


Today, as my colleague and I were running through Victoria Park we heard a helicopter. It was taking off from a field in the eastern section, with a police van and an ambulance car in attendance. My presumption was that it was another organ transfer or something similar.

The movement of organs around the country is time critical. Despite there being a national register, which anyone can join, only 1,200 donations are made each year. We have one of the lowest donation rates in Europe and around 1,000 people die each year waiting in vain for a transplant. When you die, you have the opportunity to save the lives of up to 9 other people by donating your organs.

If you haven’t already done so, sign up today. It will only take a few minutes. And let your loved ones know of your intentions. Although its hard to talk about death, you’ll also be talking about giving the most precious of gifts – life.

Sign up here: https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/how_to_become_a_donor/registration/consent.asp.

Janathon stats: 5.2km in 27:30 and 4,000 steps.

Related posts

Lorelei Hill on waiting for a heart transplant

Ian Mansfield on the 25th anniversary of the London Air Ambulance, just a few days ago



Going the extra mile


When Jesus said that we were to go the extra mile he wasn’t encouraging us to be the best we can. He was teaching us that ordinary people can subvert and undermine imperial power. Best of all, he was teaching us the way of active nonviolence.

In Roman times higher ranking soldiers would buy slaves or animals to carry their gear for them. But the ordinary footsoldiers often couldn’t afford that luxury. Instead, they could force a passer by to carry their kit. The law limited the passage of forced labour to a single mile.

But when Jesus called on people to go the extra mile he wasn’t asking them to be selfless or to assist the empire. Instead, he was encouraging people to put the soldier at risk of punishment for breaking the Roman law.

We don’t have to wait on someone else to fix things for us. We can all start now, with dignity and humanity, to build the realm of heaven on earth.

I’m not one for pushing my faith, I’m a Quaker after all, but if you want to read more about this, Walter Wink’s Jesus and Nonviolence is a great place to start.


One of the things I love about running with other people is that you can have conversations about all sorts of things. About faith, motivations, food, running shoes, our past, our present and our future.

Today was my first 2014 run with three of my colleagues. We didn’t do anything subversive though. We ran from our office to Victoria Park and did one lap around the edge. As you can see from the image above it was a beautiful time to be out running and Victoria Park is pretty special too. While we were out we passed a couple more of our colleagues out on a lunchtime walk.

We have a running joke that because one woman is faster than the rest of us then we should keep asking her questions so she uses up more energy as she answers. In practice, we all talk about everything and nothing.

Janathon stats: 3.16 miles in 28:41.

Moves today so far: 3,216 steps and 5.5k run.

Related posts

Symon Hill on celebrating revolution at Christmas

Shaz Runs’ Janathon update and having a husband like a film star

Londonist: Victoria Park is the nation’s favourite