CHAMPION blood donors are encouraging people to join up to the national scheme ahead of the festive season.
Three local people attended an awards ceremony at Norwich City Football Club after donating more than 75 pints each.
They each received a certificate and crystal plate to mark their milestones and have taken the opportunity to speak out about the benefits of becoming a blood donor.
Neil Murray, of St Mary’s Close, Bainton, has donated 76 pints since 1959. He originally went along with his father to a donor session and is always keen to recruit new people.
Mr Murray, 70, said: “I would always encourage other people to do it. If you are involved in an accident and you need blood, you rely on people like us to help you out.”
He was joined at the awards ceremony by Marilyn Cowlan, of The Rides, Langtoft, who has donated 78 pints since she signed up to the scheme in 1972.
She also went along with a friend for the first time and hasn’t looked back since.
Mrs Cowlan said: “It only takes a bit of time and there is nothing to worry about. If people are able to give blood they should go ahead because each pint can save up to three lives.
“Providing my own health is OK I would like to continue giving blood for as long as possible.”
Anne Maddison, of Elizabeth Way, Thurlby, also attended the awards ceremony after clocking up 75 donations.
She said: “I have been a donor since I was 18 and never really thought much of it. It was only after going to the awards ceremony and hearing from people whose lives were saved by blood donors that you realise how important it is.”
Assistant director for blood collection services at NHS Blood and Transport, Patrick Nugent, said: “The commitment 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 17 to 65, weigh at least 7st 12lb and in general good health.
The next local sessions take place today at Stamford Free Church, Kesteven Road, and on Tuesday, December 20, at Stamford Hospital. To book an appointment visit www.blood.org.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.