Category Archives: Volunteering


London Bridges Walk 2011

Firstly, sorry for not posting in like forever! Time has passed, Im still on dialysis and still waiting for a transplant but overall in myself I am fine. I recently had another assessment and they are happy with me and are keeping me on the waiting list. My girlfriend is still fantastic and I’m still smug!

The London Bridges Walk has come around again already and this year we are priming up for a larger group of us to take part. So far there are 7 of us shortly to be wondering around Norfolk with our sponsorship forms waving in our hands but just in case we don’t bump into you in person you can go to the Kidney Research UK fundraisers page and donate online to our cause at (drum roll please…)


London Bridges Walk – The Big Day!

London Bridges Walk

Made it to the end!

Well Sunday the 10th July finally arrived! My friend Dessie and I had been raising funds for the walk for a couple of months prior and can proudly say as I type so far we have raised over £1100 for Kidney Research UK, so thank you to everyone who was kind enough to give, and a big thank you to the girls at the social club for walking round with the sponsorship forms!
Two friends accompanied us on the day, Our Social Club Steward Chris Harfield and a friend Carol Brownley. Chris H kindly offered to drive, an offer that was snatched upon! The weather was perfect to go with the perfect company and when we arrived to register for the walk Chris and Carol decided to postpone their shopping trip and promptly registered as well! (Thanks again guys)

London Bridges Walk

London Bridges Walk

Apparently there were approximately 1000 people taking part in the walk which started at 11am at Potters Field on the south bank near Tower Bridge after an intro & count down by Angela Rippon.
All in all it was a fantastic day and witnessing the sea of purple clad people walking the Embankment was a sight I shall not soon forget!
Hopefully the walk has raised awareness as well as raised funds for Kidney Research UK and I’m already looking forward to next year!
London Bridges Walk Big Ben

London Bridges Walk

London Bridges Walk

London Bridges Walk

London Bridges Walk

Well its under a month now to the big day! My friend Dessie and I are on track to meet our target of raising £1000 for Kidney Research UK. Our information packs along with our race/walk number and most importantly our purple t-shirts have arrived! Its all getting very exciting!
Debating whether or not to go the whole hog an dye my hair purple?!

Once again, anyone wishing to donate to the cause can do so at:

Kidney Research UK Fundraiser

So after a few false starts, fingers crossed I will have the opportunity along with my friend Dessie to raise money for Kidney Research UK. We are taking part in the London Bridges Walk and trying to raise money and awareness for the charity along with 100’s of others on the day I hope!
The walk takes place on the 10th July and incorporates 8 of London’s bridges over about 7 miles.
With me (touch wood) running on a fairly even keel at the moment and with my friend there to help hopefully it should be a great day out!

Anyone wishing to give a donation, our fundraising page is :

Foiled again….

Well I should have known really…
I have been involved with my local village Social Club and the Chairman’s father in law is also a renal patient. We had come together and arranged with the help of the Club Steward, a fundraising evening for the Addenbrookes Kidney Patient Association (AKPA) on the 20th November where a “Queen” tribute band had been booked. Tickets were to be £10 and all proceeds go to the AKPA.
I spent an age creating the advert, Chris (The Cub Steward), Dave (Mr Chairman to you!) and myself have been putting up posters. Dave paid to have tickets printed using my artwork.
So the band call today to pull the plug due to illness. Not their fault, but FOILED AGAIN! Another attempt at raising some cash for charity is scuppered.
I’m gutted!

Dialysis, Delhi Belly and Damn it all

Apologies for no recent updates, unfortunately for me I have been rather ill this last fortnight with what is now assumed as food poisoning from a tasty but rather dodgy chicken jalfrazi, which seems to in turn have set of a Gall bladder episode. I don’t mean to be too graphic but haemodialysis with epic bum-wee is not a good combination and potentially very embarrassing as well as dangerous. In all it was a week that I would like to well and truly put behind me (!). Seems I have Gall stones as well so they are looking at whipping my gall bladder out soon too. Fantastic. I’m suprised its still there actually along with my other internal organs – I was quite sure I had passed them all out my bum at one stage.

The bad news is that this episode seems to have hammered the final nail in my kidney graft which while I needed dialysis was still functioning enough for me to keep to a pretty normal diet and my fluid restriction will probably now go from 1000ml to 500ml a day – a little under a pint in old money. This in turn is going to make it harder for me to continue to have much of a social life unless I want to sit there with my arms folded while everyone else necks pint after pint.

All this has meant that I have obviously had to stay away from the Papworth Trust for 2 weeks which was annoying – and unfortunately it has become apparent that my parents business needs me to help out as much as I physically can (not much I grant) as it is struggling thanks to those ever so nice, generous, bailed-out Banks screwing them over, so it looks like I will have to stop volunteering at the trust for at least the time being as my family and I pull together to keep the roof over our heads.

All that together with the fact that I’m lonely as hell right now means I’m a wee bit pissed off with life in general at the mo.

Day one at The Trust

Well Wednesday has come and gone, but this is the first opportunity I’ve had to write anything. Wednesday morning saw my alarm go off at 6am, and rarely for me, and maybe because I was looking forward to the day ahead, I almost jumped out of bed wide awake. I had time for my ablutions and a bite to eat then set of for Cambridge. I had left plenty enough time to get to The Papworth Trust as the traffic just as you get to Cambridge can be a right pain in the gluteus maximus, but I arrived nice and early much to my relief.

The day started with the photography workshop where I was introduced to the group and I briefly showed them some of my prints. The group leader explained that they had been working on a montage of photos aimed at creating a rainbow and each week they concentrated on a particular colour. The days colour was blue, so we hunted out various objects of the blue variety for everyone to photograph.
Everyone had a different camera and although most cameras have the same functions, they are all set up differently, so the first challenge was to help everyone find the macro setting on each camera!

As the morning progressed I got to know the people on the workshop better and it’s been somewhat of a revelation. Firstly I found it remarkable how all the people there with varying levels of disability were all very keen, positive people (it gave me a little more perspective about my sulky days!). Secondly they all made me welcome and it was a complete pleasure to work alongside each of them and help out where they wanted it. I enjoyed every minute of it and I’m already looking forward to seeing everyone next week.

The afternoon was a bit more of a challenge for me as I was somewhat out of my comfort zone! I helped out in an art workshop and the course leader is on her holiday, so it was down to a gifted member of staff and myself to help another group of people with their already begun oil paintings.
Now I went to art college and I did do quite a lot of oil painting but it was 15 years ago, so I was more than a little apprehensive about messing with peoples half completed paintings in case I made a horrendous mess of them. All in all though the afternoon passed by without me causing any disasters and I am becoming familiar with another group of remarkable people. Once again I’m looking forward to getting back.

My first day has been an eye opener, and its perhaps a little to early to say, but I’m going to say it anyway: I’m glad I made the effort to apply for a voluntary post at this charity. I can see me being of help to others and helping myself to feel better as a person at the same time.

Volunteering part II

Well I went to meet with the manager of The Papworth Trust Arts Centre yesterday all dressed up in my suit – that I had to dust off first.
Anyway it went well, the manager showed me around the building describing all the things they do and I met some very interesting people – people who make my occasional whining quite embarrassing and are inspirational.
I have been asked to come back next week on a Wednesday and help out with the photography and art workshops which I’m truly looking forward to, this time no suit thankfully

Just need to do a CRB check on me and all will be excellent (Can’t remember there being any skeletons in the closet!)

This will be a good chance to make use of myself and help others while at the same time helping myself, so today I’m what is said in the UK “Chuffed to bits”


First the sad news, one of the patients from the afternoon shift passed away last week, he was in a bad way for a long time, but according to several other patients he was a lovely man and was never one for complaining. Perhaps when I feel sorry for myself I should think about that and be thankful that I’m in relatively good health with my treatment (give or take the gout!)

Now the good news, what with all the heavy thinking about my future recently I looked into the possibility of volunteering for a day or so a week at a charity. It would help get me out of my rut and help me meet new people and make more friends, perhaps giving me some of the training needed to have a career in the charity sector if I’m lucky enough to get another transplant.

I looked into Kidney Research UK which is in Peterborough, Cancer Research based in Norwich and then stumbled across The Papworth Trust just outside Cambridge. The Papworth Trust helps people with varying disabilities “….through services including Employment, Vocational Rehabilitation, Housing, Personal Support, and Learning for Life and Work.”

Some of the Activities they do are: Digital photography – I like to think I’m quite good at that…, Art – I’m fairly good at that, Guitar lessons – I certainly could help with that, and fishing – I’ve lived on a fishery for 10 years! SO! I’m hoping I can be of use to them using skills I’ve learned over the years.

I would go across on a dialysis day, help out then go on to Addenbrookes for my treatment. It would mean an early start and late to bed but I can hopefully lay in a bit the following day.

Anyway I have contacted them and they want to see me on Wednesday so fingers crossed they accept me – and hopefully I’m up to it!

The Papworth Trust