Gail's Gab: why I've decided to become a blood donor after Clutha tragedy

A good friend of mine recently told me how she was planning to celebrate her 50th birthday early next year.

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She is going to donate a kidney to the NHS. She is a former health worker and is acutely aware of the shortage of vital organs and wants to give someone who needs a healthy kidney the chance of a better life.

I was moved by her act of human kindness but I certainly don’t have her courage and figure that at my age it’s a case of trying to hang on to everything you’ve got.

However next month I reach that landmark age and have decided to do something I’ve always wanted to do but ashamedly have never done. Give Blood.

For many years while flying I conveniently used the excuse that we had to be careful when giving blood and that was true however during days off and leave I would have been alright. But the truth is I’m a big ‘scaredy cat’ when it comes to needles.

Friday night’s horrible accident in the wee Clutha Vaults reminded me of the importance of simple acts like blood donations.

Our emergency service workers are heroic daily. The fire fighters, police, paramedics and hospital staff deal with tragedy all the time. No praise is too much for these men and women. To go out for a social evening and fail to return because of such a freak accident is truly tragic. I have frequented the Clutha many times. It is a friendly and inviting venue. I was in the town myself on Friday until nearly 8pm. There but for the grace of God I thought on Saturday morning and I’m sure that thought was echoed by many who were out in their locals.

My heart goes out to the families left grieving their loss and those left caring and hoping for their injured kin. So I’m definitely about to become a blood donor and help the emergency services save lives at times like the Clutha tragedy and other daily incidents.

I despise the sight of needles and don’t much fancy the sight of blood either but if I can become a blood donor then I’ll be well chuffed. I’ll let you know.

THE WEE MAN

Tommy and I watched ‘The Wee Man’ on Saturday night and I thought it was a good film.

We were very close friends of the real crime author and former social worker Reg McKay and the film was based on his book written with Paul Ferris.

The story that was told charts some of Glasgow’s real life gangland figures. I met Paul on a couple of occasions and found him to be honest about his violent past and sincere in his attempt to go straight. Reg knew him better and trusted his intentions. I trusted Reg’s judgement.

Sadly Reg is no longer with us. A victim of cancer four years ago. He was a beautiful human being and loyal friend.

Many feared the film depicting the life of Paul Ferris would glamourise violence and the gangster lifestyle but this film certainly didn’t. It accurately highlighted the loss of friends, family, trust and basic humanity that association with violence and organised crime usually brings.

Some may say the story is one-sided but every story usually is. I think it was Oscar Wilde who said the truth is rarely simple and never straightforward but he definitely said every saint has a past and every sinner a future.

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