Last June I was part of an event near to the start of our city's new mayor's term of office. Mayoress Susan said something to me that evening which struck home and has remained in my mind ever since.
Shs said: It does not matter what good cause you support providing you support one.
Support does not mean money but it does mean love. Without love support is empty and meaningless.
How much money will the collecting buckets at Sunshine Smile Day on Saturday at Asda collect ?
I am hoping they will bring in £500. With a footfall of ten thousand 5p per customer in the store would achieve that.
It was LEONITE Rachel, Chairman of Radio Love International and in overall charge on Saturday who gave us the phrase SPREAD THE LOVE.
No matter how much money our buckets contain at the end of Saturday if there is not love in them then they are not worth a penny.
Rachel was one of my students way back at Leon School. She came to Maureen and my wedding in October 1978. She and all of her family are very dear friends. All of her family is involved in Sunshine Smile Day.
Yesterday evening Rachel contacted me to make sure I was OK and has managed to achieve during the day all I had planned.
At the same time as I was speaking online to Rachel, Josh and Jelena called to wish me a good evening. Rachel may be one of my oldest friends, Josh and Jelena are probably my newest friends. They have shown so much love and are right at the centre of Sunshine Smile Day.
In January I posted on Facebook how I had met a homeless man outside Morrissons Supermarket. That was Josh, he and Jelena were living in a tent with no hope for a future of any kind at all.
No longer homeless, last Saturday they were involved with the event alongside Mayor David and this Saturday are central to Sunshine Smile Day. Josh is receiving a cheque from Asda on behalf of Ronald McDonald House Birmingham. That presentation will be covered by The Sun Newspaper. SUN.......Sunshine Smile Day.
Love flows in two directions. Too many big charities and good causes do not understand that. Look at some websites of large charities, the word DONATE is right in your face. All they are interested in is GIVE US MONEY GIVE US MONEY.
As soon as those buckets are emptied and counted after Sunshine Smile Day we will publish the figure of the cash collected and say THANK YOU.
How many not so good causes do you know who:
- NEVER say thank you
- NEVER tell you how much money an event raised
- NEVER specifically tell you how the money you gave was spent.
One of the good causes we are supporting on Saturday is the blood and organ donation programme. We are not collecting money for this cause, we are handing out information and inviting people to sign up to their registry. The support we have received from the programme is been LOVELY...LOVE. They could not have done more to help Sunshine Smile Day.
If we can get just ONE person to become a donor on Saturday many lives will be saved as a result. JUST ONE.
We WILL collect one thousand gifts of LOVE for The Food Bank on Saturday. There are so many in our society who need that love.
LEONITE Maggie is in charge of this part of Sunshine Smile Day.
The Food Bank has FAILED to answer four emails sent to its office and has failed to answer a letter we sent. There isLOVE in the donations, there will be LOVE within our one thousand tins on Saturday but this has to be a case of LOVE flowing only in one direction only.
Once Sunshine Smile Day is over we will use Sunday as a day to catch our breath. We then need to return to planning the launch of Radio Love International as an online radio station.
Just look at the audience our daily music blog attracts. Just wait and see what will happen when we start broadcasting music to support good causes.
Wednesday 23rd May, one week today, is a very important day for me. It will decide the direction of my life. On that daythe result of the board of governor elections for Milton Keynes Hospital will be announced.
I so much want to join the board. I will attend the meetings but I want to spend one day a week in the hospital, going round the wards and clinics showing love to theincredible staff who work there. These people SHOW love but do not always receive love.
I know that if I am elected it will not just be me taking in the love, it will not just be me and Radio Love International, it will be countless more loving friends.
Many LEONITES work in the NHS. Maggie here who will be running the foodbank collection at Sunshine Smile Day and was right at the front of the line handing out LOVE to Josh and Jelena as we threw their tent aside and took them into a home. Maggie who has made countless gifts of love for different events we have staged.
Incredible Tanya who works in the renal unit at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital. Tanya, you were a great student at school and a wonderful LEONITE.
Oh I do hope I win that election on 23rd May.
LEONITES are at the front of Sunshine Smile Day, here's a pic of some at our recent reunion.
And here are some more.....
See the lady on the left.... That's SAM, Flight Service manager at Virgin Atlantic. Sam you fixed it for our team to have such a great welcome on the aircraft when we went to San Francisco last month.
Sam, it is entirely down to your love that we are now including Virgin Atlantic's WE CHANGE in Sunshine Smile Day.
It was the LEONITES who put me forward for The Milton Keynes Inspirational Awards. I was so honoured to have been nominated for The Most Inspirational Father. All along I have said I was not worried if I won or not,just being nominated was the honour in itself.
Nervously I awaited the list of the finalists to see if I had received enough nominations to go through to the vote. My eyes filled with tears when I read the list of finalists.
I found I had not been nominated by my Leonite Friends in one but TWO categories. Both nominations had made it through to the final vote.
The latest census says 248,800 people live in Milton Keynes. If half are male that means 124,400. How many are agedover 18 years ? 100,000 ? 80,000 ? NO WAY am I the most inspirational man in our city. For me Mayor David is the man who deserves the title but he is not
in the list of nominees.
Here are a couple of pics of Mayor David at an event I organised last year.
David, you deserve that title but as you are not in the vote I WANT IT.
I want it not for my own ego or gratification. I want it so I can get out into the community and INSPIRE people to support good causes. With the title of Milton Keynes Most Inspirational Man people may take notice of me. Not for ME but for what I can inspire other people to do.
That is a poem dear to me. It is something I am always quoting to people. It is something I will quote as I seek to inspire people to do good with their lives.
I know that fifty four LEONITES have voted for me. Perhaps I will win.
And here's LEONITE Chris who brought his family along to the day. Chris I love your sense of humour.
Another Leonite at another event.
And LEONITE Sam. I boast about you all the time Sam, I take so much pride in telling everyone that you are an inspirational headmaster of an amazing school.
Planning Sunshine Smile Day I was panicking about finding someone to deal with the Ronald McDonald coin spinner. No need to panic, LEONITE to the rescue.
Paul, you weren't the best student at school were you ? WHO CARES just look at the man you have become. The love, support and kindness you have shown to my family since the death of Rebekah I can not begin to tell. I am proud to know you. YOU ARE A FANTASTIC FRIEND.
At the very end of the event last Saturday a lady came up to me and said DO YOU REMEMBER ME ? Of course I do Linda. The conversation I had with LEONITE Linda was the best part of the evening.
On Sunday I was in Argos when this man approached me. Do you remember me Mr Ashford ? Of course I do Sean.
While he was homeless Josh lost his denture plate.
I would so much ,like to be able to smile again, he said to me.
This afternoon it is a LEONITE who has sorted that. You OK for the dentist this afternoon Josh.
Sunshine Smile Day....Radio Love International...... LEONITES... all the same really.... one word covers all LOVE.
It's more than twenty years since I left education. Josh asked me what was my most powerful memory from my time back then.
I recall it well. I was going to be a live donor for Rebekah to have a kidney transplant. The board of governors gave me three months paid leave and appointed two temporary staff members to cover my absence. I was devastated when the surgeon called off the operation. I took a day off work then returned.
As I walked down the isles of students sitting in assembly my mind was racing as I tried to think what I would say. Then I heard whispers of He's back....he's back. The teenagers in that hall had no idea why I was not away on compassionate leave. Themoment they knew they threw love around me. Now those students secretly say Won't he ever go away ?
Nah, not really.
Poor Josh did not go to Leon, he went to Sir Frank Markham School but speaks fondly of a day he spent at Leon at at football training course.
Josh knows this is my favourite song of all time. The world knows it is my favourite song. I never stop telling people about it. Leonites will remember the assemblies where I used it in attempts to inspire them. The love my Leonites have given to me over the past year, a very hard year since the loss of Rebekah, shows just how much you listened to me in those assemblies.
BLESS YOU ALL .... see you at Sunshine Smile Day on Saturday.