No man is an island


Barry with his Suzuki Hayabusa bike


Jon Birchall (L) with Barry Painter (R)

Yesterday Jon and Sarah had a very welcome visitor from Solihull. Barry Painter watched the news item on Thursday on BBC Midlands Today and immediately got in touch with us via Jessica Phillips at the The Hereford Times.

Barry was so moved by Jon’s story that he wanted to help and has pledged £1000 to be paid directly to the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer specifically to be used for fuel for Thunderbird 1 on the trip and hopes to accompany Jon on some of the #facingup2KC journey round Britain.  

Jon and Sarah took advantage of the good weather to continue exploring the beautiful Wye Valley that is now their home. Down by the river the Whitney on Wye Church bell tolled and brought this famous *poem by John Donne to mind, however they could only recite parts of it from memory as they walked along the river footpath in the sunshine.  

Jon says: “For me this poem helps to sum up why I am Facing Up 2 Kidney Cancer. We’re not ‘islands’, and if everyone pulls together then the whole will be far greater than the sum of the parts.” 

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

*These famous words by John Donne were not originally written as a poem – the passage is taken from the 1624 Meditation 17, from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions and is prose. The words of the original passage are as follows:

John Donne
Meditation 17
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions

“No man is an iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee….” 

Poem text taken from  the Famous Literary Works website 


The River Wye in Herefordshire