Anniversary call for more youngsters to give blood

On the 70th anniversary of The National Blood Transfusion Service, a call has been made for more young people to come forward.
Blood donor Keith Boocock of TarletonBlood donor Keith Boocock of Tarleton
Blood donor Keith Boocock of Tarleton

Last year just 12.3 per cent of blood donors in the North West were aged 17-24, and more than half - 53.5 per cent - were aged 45 or over.

More black and south Asian blood donors are also needed to reflect the ethnic diversity of patients. Blood which is more closely matched to their own helps patients to get the best outcome from treatment.

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Mike Stredder of NHS Blood and Transplant said: “The birth of the National Blood Transfusion Service in September 1946 was the beginning of a long process of evolution that has seen many, many lives saved or improved thanks to volunteer blood donors.”

He added: “NHS Blood and Transplant continues to work with hospitals to make sure that blood donation today keeps pace with the demands of modern medicine.

“Today’s blood donation programme is based on patient need and ensuring we can provide the right amount of each blood group at the right time. Change will continue to ensure that we can support future advances in medicine.”

Keith Boocock, 78, of Tarleton, has given blood for nearly 59 years. His first donation was on October 15, 1957, during his national service in the Navy.

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He said: “We’d been in the rum tent and saw on a board that donations were wanted. We’d had a bit of dutch courage, so went forward for it.”

The former NHS worker and care home owner has since given blood 112 times, and wants to reassure others about the process and encourage the next generation of donors.

He said: “It’s such a worthwhile service, a lot of things wouldn’t happen if people didn’t give.

“The pain is nothing to worry about - the worst thing is when they prick your thumb, but it’s just a little prick that stings for a moment.”

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In 1946, there were approximately 270,000 donors and blood collection was less than 200,000 units per year. By 2015, hospitals in England were provided with 1.6 million units of blood provided thanks to around 900,000 donors.

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