Giving blood to save lives

Blood donor feature at the West Retford Hotel.  Pictured is donor Robert Beaman with Donor Carer Jannine Marsh  (w120619-3a)
Blood donor feature at the West Retford Hotel. Pictured is donor Robert Beaman with Donor Carer Jannine Marsh (w120619-3a)

CHRISTINA Dukes hates the sight of blood and is scared of needles.

Which makes it all the more remarkable that she gives blood regularly.

“I don’t look when they put the needle in and then I just stare at the ceiling the whole time,” she said.

“I do it because I think it’s important. It only takes five minutes and it could save a life.”

Christina, 45, of Orchard Drive, Rampton, gives blood three times a year and has just given her 28th donation.

She was one of around 180 people giving blood at the West Retford Hotel 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.

Grandmother Janet Thomson, 65, of Finkle Street, Gringley-on-the-Hill, has been giving blood since she was 18.

She said: “I was working at British Ropes in Retford and there was a group of us who decided to do it.”

“In those days it was at St Albans church hall and you just had to sit and wait, but now there’s an appointment system so it’s quite quick really.”

“You are doing something that’s not causing you any problems and only takes a little bit of your time, but you could save a life and you might need it yourself one day.”

Robert Beaman, of Newton Street, Retford, is still giving blood at the age of 71.

First time donors can only give blood up to their 66th birthday, but anyone who has been giving blood regularly, like Robert, can continue over the age of 70.

Robert said: “I’ve made 42 donations in about 15 years. I started when I retired from my job as a welder at Cottam power station because I had more time available.”

“I’ve never had any problems and I would encourage other people to give blood. A lot of people are frightened of needles but it doesn’t hurt and you can have an anaesthetic to numb your arm if you want it.”

“It’s good to know you might be helping someone.”

Health care support worker Neil Tatt, 33, of Hallcroft, Retford, was donating for the second time, after deciding at the beginning of the year to do something to make a difference.

He said: “It was sort of a New Year resolution that I would do something. I’ve not had any ill effects from it and I would recommend other people to do it.”

Donor care supervisor Ian Wallace has been part of the blood team for 20 years and was in charge of the Retford session.

“Everyone fills in a health questionnaire and we check people’s iron levels to make sure they are healthy and well before giving blood. You can donate from the age of 17, he said.”

“The universal donor blood is O negative and we’re always short of it, so we would appeal for more of that.”

He said men can give blood every 12 weeks, and women every 16 weeks, to allow the body to replenish itself.

The next donor session in Gainsborough will be at The Weston Rooms, on Hickman Street, on 4th July. For more details go to