Blood donors honoured at special ceremony

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BLOOD donors attending an awards ceremony in Oxford donated enough blood to save the lives of nearly 20,000 people.

That’s an average of 255 lives saved by each and every one of the 76 donors honoured at the event on Wednesday, November 30.

The ceremony celebrated the commitment and dedication of the long-serving blood donors who had donated blood on at least 75 occasions, with 19 of the lifesavers commended for reaching the 100 donor milestone. Between them, the donors have given 6,346 units of blood, the equivalent of 5,250 pints.

Residents from Milton Keynes, Deanshanger and Newton Longville were among the 76 blood donors invited by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) to the awards event at The Oxford Centre, Banbury Road, Oxford.

Peter Hurst, Martyn Robinson and Edmund Toone from Milton Keynes and Vic Lancaster from Deanshanger all received a crystal plate for donating blood 75 times.

Ian Whipp from Newton Longville received a crystal decanter for donating blood 100 times.

Guest speaker Nathalie Marshall from Swindon knows only too well how vital blood can be. Her daughter Isla was diagnosed with a life threatening congenital heart defect whilst Nathalie was just 22 weeks pregnant. Since her birth, Isla has had a number of life saving operations. During and after the operations, she needed donated blood to save her life.

In a moving speech, Nathalie described to the donors at the awards ceremony how after one life saving operation on her baby daughter’s heart, a full blood transfusion was needed: “I watched as the blood trickled into her tiny body, and she turned from a pasty pale colour, to a rosy cheeked pink colour, before my very eyes. That could have been your blood.

She added: “Without you Isla, and others like her, would not be here today….Thank you for what you have done and what you continue to do.”

Jon Latham, Assistant Director for Marketing and Donor Contact Service at NHSBT, said: “The commitment that these donors have shown to donating blood throughout their lives is remarkable. They are shining examples to others thinking of donating for the first time or to those who haven’t donated in a while. We are delighted to honour them in this way and are grateful for every single donation they have given.”

Anyone wanting to donate for the first time should be aged between 17-65, weighing at least 50 kg (7 stone 12lbs) and in general good health. If you’ve donated before, you can start again up to your 70th birthday and there is no upper age limit for donors who have donated in the last two years. To book an appointment call the Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk