Thank you to blood donors

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LIFESAVING staff hailed the donors who backed a Mail campaign and gave blood for the very first time last week.

The NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) team was delighted with the turn-out at a donor session at Hartlepool Town Hall, in Raby Road, on Thursday.

It was the first session in the town since NHSBT teamed up with the Mail to launch the Mine’s a Pint campaign, aiming to boost the number of 17-24 year olds in the town who register to give blood.

Donna Batty, NHSBT’s donor relations manager for the Hartlepool area, said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to all of the people who turned out to give blood at this week’s session, and in particular to the young and first time donors.

“It was really heartening to see how people have responded to our appeal and the Mail’s campaign.

“I hope even more young and first-time donors will be able to make our next session at the Town Hall, which is on Thursday, January 17.”

NHSBT staff are hoping the Mail’s campaign results in a much-needed boost to the number of young donors in Hartlepool, a figure which has been dropping for the last five years.

Just 172 17-24 year olds signed up to give blood in town last year, a number which staff admitted was “worrying”.

Meanwhile, blood donors who are O Rh negative (O-) are also being asked to utilise the sessions coming up in Hartlepool and East Durham.

Blood stocks often dip around the festive period and the recent outbreaks of winter illnesses have led to a dramatic increase in the number of people cancelling their appointments.

Only around seven per cent of people are blood group O-, but those donors are known as the universal donor as their blood can be given to patients with a different blood group, proving vital in emergency situations.

NHSBT nurses say there has been a recent high demand for O- blood to meet patient need and are now calling on those donors to give blood as soon as possible.

People can give blood at a session at Peterlee Methodist Hall, in Bede Way tomorrow, from 10am-noon and again from 1.30pm-3.45pm.

A session will be held at Wingate Community Centre next Wednesday, January 16 from 2pm-3.45pm and from 4.30pm-7.15pm before the next session at the Town Hall Theatre, in Hartlepool next Thursday, January 17 which will run from 2.30pm-3.45pm and 4.30pm-7pm.

Donors in Hartlepool can also go along to Owton Manor Community Centre, in Wynyard Road next month on Monday, February 11 from 2.30pm-3.45pm and 4.30pm-7pm.

To register, book an appointment or find a full list of local blood donor sessions call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk.