World Thrombosis Day @thrombosisday

Just a few quick words before I head off for a few days RnR (my first official vacance since PE Day…!) I did apparently go off to Cyprus, but in my defence I have no recollection of this at all…!)

So before I fly off for a very well earned holiday, accompanied by the very patient and Lovely E, I wanted to give a big Charity Oars mention to our friends at “World Thrombosis Day“. Their web-site is up and running and looks fantastic, please do have a look. The World Thrombosis day is being organised by the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis, and Lifeblood and Charity Oars are proud to be supporting the day.

Don’t forget that over 500,000 people die every year in Europe because of blood clots, 300,000 die in the US. Of which over 60% are hospital acquired.

Please put the 13th October 2014 into your diary now and make World Thrombosis Day one of the most important awareness days in your year.

Bye for now …!


@si610 from Ashes hero 2005 to Charity Oars legend 2014

As you may all know, I love my cricket. I have enjoyed decades of standing at 3rd man, trying to recover from the over I had just bowled, hoping that Smithy, Goady or Las took their time bowling their over. 

Yesterday at Dean Headleys Sport Bash 2014 we had the pleasure of meeting Simon Jones and his lovely wife (who incidentally has a great little business called Sexy Mac, ideal for ladies, not so much 6 foot ex dodgy bowlers like yours truly). Simon was part of the 2005 Ashes winning squad, with best Test figures of 6 for 53, having played in 18 Tests and 8 ODI.

It was a true pleasure to have a some time with him and to see all the young players coming up to him asking for his signature, sadly no one asked for mine, and I was carrying a blooming big oar around…!!

When it came to the game, you could still see the class he had and why he was such a potent attacking bowler. It was a pleasure to see him bowl again.

Simon now runs Ultimate Cricket a high performance cricket coaching academy, that work with schools and clubs.

So from a dodgy old long hop bowler (who in his mind can still bowl like he could when he was 20), to a professional sporting legend (who probably can still bowl as well as when he was 20, if not better..!) A huge “THANK YOU” for signing the Charity Oars (and bat..!)



Simon Jones

@Fern_Britton from Red Tomatoes or Green Peppers to Charity Oars

Living out in the wilds of Cambridgeshire, it’s fair to say that our broadband is slightly “dubious” at times. Of course when John goes by in his tractor, or Mr Jones herds his sheep up the High Street we for some reason loose broadband and wifi…! (I really should try and find out why the sheep affect the broadband and wireless so much..!!)

Yesterday morning I could see that our Twitter account (@charityoars) had a few new messages, sadly we’re in the middle of the harvest season so tractors are a plenty. So as soon as we had broadband again I thought I would see who’d sent us the messages.

There in the message box was the name @Fern_Britton they’re always jolly to read and full of good cheer. Well this particular message set my day up rather well, (which for those that know what a grumpy chap I am prior to my caffeine intake will confirm)..!

There was Fern with a cheery smile, and grasped in both hands was one of the now rather infamous Charity Oars.

As we’ve watched Fern’s career develop from Tomatoes and Peppers, to working with the silver haired antipodean chap who goes by the name of Philip Schofield (or Gordon the Gophers’ straight guy as he’s also known, I believe) it’s been a pleasure for Fern now to have worked (albeit briefly) with a Charity Oar, not that I’d wish to put words into her mouth (libel lawyers are very tough these days..!) I’m pretty sure she would have said “I can’t wait to update Wikipedia with this great news of being photographed with a Charity Oar, and I’ve asked my lovely husband Phil Vickery if it’s OK to buy a rowing boat so the magic of being with one of the Charity Oars stays with me forever..!”

* Fern Britton did at no time say any of this, I’m putting it all down to artistic license..!

So from the Charity Oars, to the rather lovely and very generous Fern Britton we quite simply say “THANK YOU” for signing the Charity Oars…!

Fern Britton 2



Steve Coogan, what a great chap ..!

As you know the Charity Oars have spent some time in our Capital recently, to help add to our ever growing signatures on the Charity Oars. One thing we’ve found so rewarding is the response from so many sportsmen/women, television and film stars we have spoken to. OK, so far we haven’t been able to arrange for David Beckham to sign the Charity Oars, we have asked Serena Williams agents, agents agent to help and we are presently waiting a reply..! But we were genuinely moved by the time that Steve Coogan took out of his schedule to sign one of the Charity Oars and also to sign the “I’m Supporting Charity Oars” cards. So from a tired and stroppy chap, who has to wear a very unflattering stocking to keep his leg under his right knee for as long as possible, I thank you. All signature cards as well as the Charity Oars will be auctioned off for Lifeblood with 100% of the money raised going to the charity.   Steve Coogan

Dizzy Spells Could Warn of deadly Blood Clot

I had the pleasure of meeting Christina at the recent National Thrombosis Day (organised by Lifeblood) When you reach the sad old age of 47 (in my defence I was only 44 when I popped my clogs) you have at least done a few things. Christina’s attitude, strength and determination was inspiring. Every year, Pulmonary Embolisms causes over 30,000 deaths – official estimates suggest as many as 25,000 people die from preventable blood clots that develop in hospital.

Please read Christina’s story (reproduced with kind permission of the Mail)

Christina Perkins, long time supporter and fundraiser for Lifeblood, has recounted her story of pulmonary embolism in the Daily Mail today.

Airline style briefings aim to improve patient safety

The following article is reproduced with kind permission from Lifeblood, the original article was published on the 26th June 2014.

Trusts taking part in the new Sign up to Safety campaign will be asked to commit to giving patients “airline style” safety advice on their stay in hospital, a trust chief executive leading the campaign has said.

Twelve trusts have so far joined the campaign launched by the Health Secretary on 25th June 2014 and aims to halve avoidable deaths over the next three years.

It is being led by Salford Royal Foundation Trust chief executive Sir David Dalton and directed by Suzette Woodward, director of safety, learning and people at the NHSLitigation Authority.

Speaking to HSJ after the launch, Sir David said every organisation that had joined the campaign had been asked to commit to provide a safety briefing for every elective inpatient, an idea that has been inspired by the airline industry pre-take off instructions on what to do in an emergency.

“What this is about is contracting directly with patients so they can be aware of some of the issues and what they might expect,” he said.

Trusts will be given the option of using a video developed by Salford, based on a booklet first produced by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust, or producing their own material.

The video provides advice on how patients can help avoid blood clots and pressure ulcers and encourages them to speak to staff if they have any questions about their medication.

The campaign will focus on reducing pressure ulcers, medication errors and harm caused during labour and birth, as well as self-harm and harm from violence and aggression among mental health patients.

Asked how the campaign would measure whether it had been successful in halving avoidable deaths, Sir David said they would look at mortality ratios such as the hospital standardised mortality ratios and the summary hospital-level mortality indicators.

“I know some people don’t think they are a complete and useful measure. There are other measures under review at the moment but rather than wait and delay [starting the campaign] we’ll use existing measures,” he said.

A new measure of avoidable death based on an analysis of case notes is currently being developed by Lord Darzi and Nick Black at the request of NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh. The work began in July and is expected to take up to two years.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has repeatedly championed Salford for saving £5m through delivering safer care.

Woman died of clots after fall down stairs

The following article has been kindly reproduced from the Derbyshire Times 


A woman died three weeks after spraining her ankle in a fall, an inquest heard.

Louise Varley suffered the injury when she slipped down the stairs at her home on Poolsbrook Crescent, Chesterfield.

Mrs Varley was left couch-bound for three weeks, developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and a pulmonary embolism – a blood clot in her lung.

The healthcare worker died on the morning of November 9 last year – despite desperate attempts to resuscitate her.

Telling Chesterfield coroners’ court about the day of the fall, October 21, Mrs Varley’s husband Jason said: “She rushed upstairs to tell me the dog had gone missing and said she was going to look for him.

“She then slipped off the bottom step coming down the stairs – I heard her ankle snap and crunch.”

Mr Varley said he took his wife to the A&E department at Chesterfield Royal Hospital, where she was diagnosed as having a sprained ankle.

He told Monday’s inquest how Mrs Varley, was unable to walk up or down the stairs so she slept on the sofa.

Mr Varley said: “At about 9.30am on November 9, Louise shouted up to me – I knew there was something wrong – so I raced downstairs and found her on the couch.”

The 37-year-old, who was suffering from breathlessness, rolled off the sofa.

Mr Varley and paramedics frenziedly administed CPR on Mrs Varley – but she was later pronounced dead.

Coroner James Newman ruled the DVT and pulmonary embolism came about because she was immobile following the fall.

He said: “This was a very sudden death, a catastrophic event.”

Mr Newman concluded Mrs Varley died as a result of an accident.

• In some cases of DVT, there may be no symptoms, but it is important to be aware of the signs and risk factors, according to the NHS. DVT can cause pain, swelling and a heavy ache in your leg. See your GP as soon as possible if you think you may have a blood clot.

The main symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath and feeling faint, dizzy or passing out. You should visit your GP as soon as possible if you have a combination of these symptoms.

The day the Charity Oars met Steve Coogan thanks to @babycowltd and the lovely Zaynab.

Yesterday we travelled from Bedford into the fair city of London again. Just me, both of the Charity Oars and the usual on-lookers who like to find out why there’s a 6 foot chap (smartly attired) with 2 wooden oars on their train…!

The day was finely tuned so I could drop off the Charity Oars to 2 highly respected public figures and return to the comfort of the “old village sweet shop” before the darling commuters started filling the tubes and trains.

Our first stop was at the offices of “Troika” an agency in EC2, where the rather lovely Fern Britton (of the Big Allotment Challenge, This Morning and of course Ready Steady Cook, a programme that has probably caused more excitement in kitchens around the country, since the day Mrs Westers said “oh, I forgot about that, sort of explains the smoke ..!”) frequents when in the Capital. So the first Charity Oar had been delivered …

Off we then went over to W1W to the offices of BabyCow Ltd, where we were met by the wonderfully charming Zaynab. We’d arranged for Steve Coogan to sign the Charity Oars, when he had a break in his schedule. Well, what can we say, Senor Coogan has kindly signed the Charity Oars, and the cards as well as having a rather jaunty photograph taken with the Charity Oars.

It’s a strange sense of “wow” or “blimey” when individuals like Steve Coogan take time out to support causes like the Charity Oars campaign. We’re still a small charity, just trying to raise awareness of blood clots, to try and explain DVT’s and Pulmonary Embolisms to members of the public, who knows, one of the people I spoke to yesterday on the District Line might well now go on and diagnose a DVT on a friend, a loved one and save their life.

So from Charity Oars to Steve Coogan, Zayab Lamb and the team at BabyCow Ltd “THANK YOU…!!”