The World needs more Noels


A few weeks ago I was at the Red Cross trying to give blood. Trying, because since I lived in the UK for more than 6 months before 1986, my blood was refused. I could give blood in England, and had given blood before in Perth, but since the onset of Mad Cow’s disease ten years ago, England blood has been struck off, persona non grata you might say.

That left me a bit miffed. But that’s mere background, dear reader. I want to tell you about Noel (name changed). Noel will probably never read this or know about it, or even particularly remember me or our encounter that day. He was the volunteer driver who’d picked me and a colleague up from work and drove us around to the Red Cross. He waited for us to finish (despite not giving, I was allowed a free sausage roll and a coffee) and drove me back to work. He then went back to collect my colleague. Now retired and in his sixties, he does this unpaid. We got chatting. By coincidence he used to live in the same suburb as me. His wife died of cancer a few years ago. By volunteering, he gets out of the house and makes a contribution. He does it all with a deftness of touch and a sincere gratitude to those that give blood. It’s personal, but it’s also communal.

Thank goodness for the Noels of this world. We need more of them…

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