20,000 join Head of Golden Temple in London for World Blood Donor Day
- Only 0.9% of the UK’s total blood donating population are of Asian Indian origin
- There are currently only 12,486 Asian Indian blood donors on the UK National Blood Donation Register (total number of UK donors is 1,432,524)
- NHS in need of raising the percentage of Asian Indian blood donors from 0.9% to 2.1% to meet representation and service the needs of the UK hospital population of patients from BME backgrounds
- World Health Organisation calls upon UK’s Sikh community to donate blood on World Blood Donor Day, 14th June
Head of the Golden Temple, Global Appointed High Priest and Leader of the Sikh faith, Singh Sahib Giani Gurbachan Singh Ji Jathedar Sri Akal Takhat Sahib and His Divine Holiness Sant Anoop Singh Ji were joined by a staggering 20,000 people at one of the UK’s biggest events to mark World Blood Donor Day on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th June, as they collectively joined the World Health Organisation, NHS and Red Cross to call upon the UK’s Sikh community to donate blood.
Taking place at the UK’s biggest Sikh temple, Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Havelock Road, Southall, the two-day Blood Donation Appeal, which was also attended by Liz Paige, Head of Red Cross South East, and Andrew Calvert, Senior Donor Relations Manager(National Support) formed the culmination of His Divine Holiness Sant Anoop Singh Ji’s tour of the UK’s Sikh temples which commenced on 27th May. The aim has been to encourage the UK’s Sikh community to sign up to the National Blood Service’s Blood Donor Scheme. A massive crowd of 20,000 attended the two-day event which brought coach loads from across the UK, and the entire length of Havelock Road was blocked by traffic.
Rather than a blood donating session the event was an encouraging enrolment of the UK’s Sikh and non-Sikh Asian communities onto the UK National Blood Donation Register, which currently only has 12,486 Asian Indian donors among the total number of 1,432,524 donors. The huge drive at the event has led to many attendees continuing to register online. The NHS currently needs help to bring in ethnic minority blood donors. Many Asian Indians across all religions have thus far been reluctant to donate blood, due to misconception and a misled fear of offending cultural sensibilities and that donating blood leads to weakness – something both the NHS and the event want to change.
Key Organising Committee Member, Reuben Singh, says, “The turn out to the event was extremely exceptional and Head of the Golden Temple was overwhelmed with the support. In addition, attendees were also given First Aid training and, unknown to us, many volunteers distributed freebies. As the weather was so hot, someone distributed 3,000 free ice lollies, as an example. I would like to thank the Metropolitan Police and all of those who helped. We have already had calls from other faiths, such as the Hindi and Muslim communities, about doing similar events. This was originally a one-off event, but news is spreading fast. A big community came down from Scotland, who now want to do similar events in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
His Divine Holines Sant Anoop Singh Ji’s Blood Donation Mission has now started in the UK. He wanted to do something with the British Sikhs that would benefit our homeland, Britain, directly. We are British and this is a cause for our people of all races & religions living here in Britain.
We are in constant need of blood in the UK and the current economic climate has obviously hindered people’s ability to support a number of charitable causes financially. Registering yourself as a blood donor and then giving blood is something that costs nothing but can help save lives and people in need.
This event demonstrates total racial integration as when you are called to give blood you are doing it without the knowledge of whose life you are helping to save. No race, colour, or religion will matter when it comes to giving blood.”
§ Sant Anoop Singh Ji’s humble plea to all Sikhs living in the UK and through the 300 plus Sikh temples located throughout the UK will follow on from his recent work with the World Health Organisation. On 10th March, he spearheaded a charity and blood donation campaign in which 19,000 Sikhs attended the Sikh religious ground of Anandpur Sahib to donate blood – an achievement that has made the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest blood donation camp in the world.
§ Sant Anoop Singh Ji’s work with the World Health Organisation to encourage blood donations from the global Sikh and wider Asian Indian community is inspired by the teachings of Bhai Kanhaiya Ji – a key figure from Sikh history and follower of the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji – who took upon himself the task of quenching the thirst of the wounded soldiers in the battle of Anandpur Sahib in 1704. Bhai Kanhaiya Ji acted out of love and affection, without any discrimination between the Sikh soldiers and the enemy Mughal army’s soldiers. As a modern day demonstration of this same principle, Sant Anoop Singh Ji’s ethos behind the event is to provide a different practical example of charity, whereby the donation by each person shall be of something that is most needed in times of emergency or crisis in saving people’s lives and that only requires a donation of blood, rather than money. Donations will also be made to help the needy in their times of need without discrimination of colour, religion, or belief.