Tim Saunders, author, journalist and publisher
Three score years in ten.
That's the amount of time we can each hope to spend on this earth, according to the Bible. But it's so often not the case and so many lives are tragically cut short.
As a youngster 70 years seems a generous length of time when some days really can drag, especially when you're doing something you’d rather not be or you’re impatiently awaiting the arrival of Christmas or a birthday. But as we progress through the years and time shortens, if life is good to us, we want it extended.
“It’s a grand life, if you don’t weaken,” my late grandfather used to say. Many are guilty of taking their health for granted, though. When someone we know is taken away from us, especially at an unfairly young age, we might begin to appreciate our lives much more. Or at least we should do.
Award winning journalist and editor of Bournemouth Echo, Neal Butterworth was diagnosed with cancer and died aged 55. He had received an honorary Doctor of Letters from Bournemouth University in recognition of his contribution to journalism and raising almost £6m for good causes, too.
When Alison Fleuret (41) died she left behind her three year old daughter and husband. She was a friend to everyone. At her funeral there were so many well wishers that the crematorium was full to bursting. Others do not even make it this far. My sister's best friend, Amelia, born on her birthday also died on that day, aged just 13 while family friend Max was only 18 when cancer cut his life short. Yet despite their brief time here these people have had a strong impact, touching many lives, including mine.
Others have the luxury of reaching and exceeding the allotted time. Centenarian Captain Sir Tom Moore has raised more than £32m for the NHS.
Roald Dahl, the esteemed writer, died aged 74. Over 250m copies of his books, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Witches, have sold worldwide.
The older I am I count my blessings and am grateful for every minute of each day. Time is indeed precious and we must all make the best use of it because you never know when that clock will stop.