Giving blood to save lives

Blood donation at the Masonic Hall, Worksop. Pictured is Dennis Gilberthorpe and NHS Donor Carer Keely Grayson  (w120529-10a)
Blood donation at the Masonic Hall, Worksop. Pictured is Dennis Gilberthorpe and NHS Donor Carer Keely Grayson (w120529-10a)

DENNIS Gilberthorpe first became a blood donor 30 years ago because it got him off work for the afternoon.

The 58-year-old laughed as he recalled his reason for doing something which has no doubt helped save many lives.

“I was working for the coal board and you got the afternoon off if you went to give blood, so I thought I might as well,” he said.

“I’ve just kept going, I’ve never felt any ill effects from it and it only takes five or ten minutes.”

Dennis was one of around 150 people giving blood at the Masonic Hall in Worksop at one of the regular sessions held by the NHS Blood and Transplant team, based in Sheffield.

A national appeal has gone out for more people to give blood in the run-up to the Olympics this summer.

The campaign, called Team Give Blood, aims to boost blood stocks by 30 per cent above normal levels.

Debbie Roberts, 45, of Gateford, became a regular donor when she was serving with the Royal Logistic Corps.

She said: “My mum has had to have a blood transfusion so I have seen the benefits from it.”

“I was also over in Iraq so I have seen that side of it as well.”

“Most of my friends give blood and I would encourage everyone to do it. I think some people don’t realise how vital it is.”

Female donors can give blood every 16 weeks, and male donors every 12 weeks, giving the body chance to replenish itself.

Donor care supervisor Debbie Mallaband said: “Anyone from the age of 17 can be a donor as long as they are fit and well.”

“They have to fill out a health screening form and we check their iron levels because if they aren’t high enough it can cause fainting.”

“We collect 470ml of blood, which is just under a pint.”

Allan Price, 65, of Costhorpe, was just about to give his 49th pint, having been a donor for 18 years.

The former publican of the Riddell Arms at Carlton said: “I give three times a year and I’ve never had any problem.”

“I started when I was in the army with the Royal Horse Guards and I would encourage other people to do it too.”

“It’s only an hour from leaving to getting home and it’s a good feeling to know you might be helping to save a life.”

Sheryl Lowther has a rare blood type, so she appreciates the need for donors to come forward.

The 48-year-old council worker, of Prospect, said: “I can give blood to anyone, but I can’t receive blood from just anyone.”

“I’ve been a donor for about 20 years. I first came with a group of friends, I don’t think I would have had the courage to come on my own.”

“I passed out the first time but it didn’t put me off and it’s never happened since.”

“I just like to think I am helping other people and even saving somebody’s life.”

Registered nurse Neil Unwin said the blood was processed, to check for infections, and could then be broken up into its component parts. Current stocks were only enough for three to five days.

The next donor sessions in Worksop will be at The Crossing on 3rd July and the Masonic Hall on 9th July. For details of all upcoming sessions go to www.blood.co.uk.