FOLLOW Andrew Tighe’s lead – that is the message to young people in Hartlepool who are being urged to sign up to give blood and help to save lives.
Andrew is 26 but has already given blood 13 times.
He signed up when he was 23 and within the 17-24 age group category, of which Hartlepool is currently suffering a drop in donors by the year.
“I have never looked back since,” said the Teesside University student.
“People talk about the importance of it, but to be honest I don’t think you think about that until a relative or friend is in hospital and they need the blood which has been donated.”
Andrew was convinced to become a donor by his mum, Annette Ogle, 64, who has given more than 60 pints of blood.
He gave blood at a session yesterday at Hartlepool Town Hall, in Raby Road, where he backed the Mail’s Mine’s A Pint campaign.
The Mail has teamed up with NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) to try and halt the worrying decline of the number of young people giving blood.
Last year just 172 people aged 17-24 signed up as donors, the fifth consecutive year where the number has dropped.
“I think if people in that age group came and gave blood just the once then that would get them started and they would do it every time,” added Andrew, who lives in Jones Road, in Hartlepool.
“I don’t think anything of it now, I just get an email or letter letting me know about the next session and I come along.”
Andrew thinks a fear of needles may be a deterrent for a lot of people, and admits he isn’t a huge fan of injections himself.
“I don’t think anybody likes them but it’s over and done with before you know it,” he said.
Every new donor helps NHSBT who need to recruit 225,000 new people to replace existing donors who drop out of the system every year.
“I would encourage people of all age groups to sign up,” said Andrew.
“Anything that can be done to get people in and boost the numbers is worth doing.”