Adrian's army marches on
An update for you.
This week all Head Teachers and College Principals have been sent a letter promoting the 'Give and Let Live' campaign which teaches pupils about the importance of blood, bone marrow and organ donation. The on-line pack has been updated to include extension materials for use with 17 and 18 year old students. The significance of this step cannot be underestimated. Both Alan Johnson ( Secretary of State for Health) and Ed Balls ( Secretary of State for Children Schools and Families ) were signatories to the letter which is the first time that two government ministers have joined forces to back an initiative in this way.
This is a real example of the Sudders effect in full flight and Keith and I want to pay tribute to Mr Johnson and Mr Balls for the speed with which their respective departments responded to Adrian's campaign and Downing Street petition. More than that, it is a model of joined up thinking and action which has to be celebrated and praised. Keith and I are indebted to the wonderful response at the highest possible level.
Now for the trickier bit. How do we ensure that Adrian's mission is fulfilled? How do we ensure that his desire to inform young adults about these important matters actually occurs when there is no power to compel Head Teachers or Principals to teach the subject?
Keith and I met Alan Johnson a couple of weeks ago and Ed Balls telephoned us on Monday. We are arranging a meeting with both Secretaries of State together with Adrian's MP Kali Mountford and the Anthony Nolan Trust to talk about the next phase. When Adie came up with his " simple solution to quite a difficult problem " he was under the impression that the National Curriclum would take care of things. He later came to appreciate that it was going to be more complicated than that and we are keen to protect the precious resources of the Anthony Nolan Trust which has to be primarily devoted to donor recruitment, register maintenance, finding matches and pushing the boundaries of scientific research. We are keen to explore ways in which Adrian's Army volunteers can be trained up to provide a ready made, deliverable, exciting and emotional lesson that Headteachers can call upon if they require extra input.
As soon as we have had this meeting we will inform you of the outcome but, for those of you with close school connections we would welcome your observations.
We were at Sheffield Cathedral planning Adie's Memorial Service yesterday. It is not easy to park in Sheffield city centre. Having parked miles away and walked we realised our ticket would run out sooner than expected and on our return despatched the Rev Fiona in full vicar regalia to "sort out" the car park attendant - it's amazing to witness the effect of a pretty face combined with a dog collar and dangly earrings !
I recommend the excellent city tram from Meadowhall which stops right outside the Cathedral
The service will be absolutely beautiful. It will all be fabulous but one of the readings alone will make you glad you came. I shall say no more than that at this stage but we are in a " be there or be square " situation..........
Best wishes Kay and Keith
Can you hear the sound of boots on gravel?
Adrian's army marches on