East Lancashire Hospice

Donald Barnes celebrates turning 100 years old

Whalley artist Donald Barnes celebrated his 100th birthday in June last year and to mark the occasion he reprinted 100 copies of his book, “Oh no not another.”

Whilst it wasn’t possible for Donald to have a party due to the government guidelines, he still enjoyed a socially distant celebration on his driveway with the Clitheroe Town Crier in attendance.

Donald still leads an active life attending Elevenses coffee mornings, computer classes and is also president of Blackburn Artist Society, where he has been a member for more than 50 years.

The book, which was first published in 2007 was recently updated and reprinted to cover the years up to 2020, recounting his travels and 5 ½ years as a wireless operator in the R.A.F.

In these times he experienced some remarkable happenings and five almost unbelievable million- to- one coincidences.

He served on the same 241 Army Co-operation Squadron as John Profumo but when the squadron moved abroad in the Torch invasion of North Africa, they became separated. It was many months later when Donald was “thumbing” a lift on the road to Tunis, when a large staff car bearing a 3-star pennant on the radiator, pulled up for him. Inside was John Profumo. He said he had recognised Donald but had forgotten his name.

The 12-mile journey into Tunis ended with a handshake, a salute, good luck Sir and that was the last they saw of each other.

 Another of Donald’s remarkable coincidences was when he was in signals contact with another airfield 40 or 50 miles away in the middle of Tunisia, when he discovered that the operator at the other hand end had the initials EVA. The boy who had sat next to him at school had the same initials- so he questioned him, and he confirmed that he was in fact Eric Victor Aspden.

Another million to one coincidence. There are many more within the book

On demobilisation Donald returned to the renamed Crown paints in Darwen as Advertising Manager but took early retirement at 61 in 1981

Donald’s wife, Ida, died in 2006 after a long battle with dementia and Alzheimer’s so after 10 years without a break he decided to take a holiday cruise. It was there that he met a Finnish lady who lived in Stockholm Sweden.

 At the end of the cruise, they found they had so many common interests that Donald asked her if she would like to keep in touch. They have now been in touch for 12 years!

In these 12 years they have travelled on more than 36 holidays together- from West Africa, Cape Verde Islands, Dakar and Senegal in the south, to the Faroe Islands and Azores in the north, with the Canaries and Balearics in between. They visited almost every country and island in the Mediterranean and all of the Scandinavian and the Baltics on her doorstep. They took many ocean and river cruises but sadly all travelling has now come to an abrupt stop and they are each marooned in their own homes, with only a phone call each evening. Another million to one chance meeting.

Donald has kindly offered to donate £2.50 to East Lancashire Hospice for each copy sold.

If you wish to purchase a copy the price is £9.50 plus postage and packaging and available via the hospice website at eastla­nc­shos­pice.­org.­uk/­shop

For further information please contact Katie Elliott – Marketing & Communications Lead on:

Telephone: 01254 287015

Email: Katie.Elliott@eastlancshospice.org.uk 

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