Young donors on the up

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MORE than a third of all new blood donors in Hartlepool are young people – to the delight of campaigners.

Two hundred and fifty people signed up to the blood donor register in the first six weeks of this year, whereas it took around five and a half months to get as many people signing up to be donors last year.

And the Mail can now reveal that 100 of the 250 new donors are aged between 16 and 24, the age category which donor bosses were targeting as they looked to halt a decline of young donors in the town.

The Mail launched the Mine’s A Pint campaign after it was reevealed that only 172 youngsters aged between 17 and 24 signed up to become donors last year and only 26 of them were 17 or 18.

But the NHS Blood and Transplant team are now well on their way to increasing the number of young donors signing up to the register for the first time in five years.

Forty-three 17-year-olds have already signed up this year with a further 53 people aged 20-24.

And as an extra boost, four 16-year-olds have also signed up to become donors and can give blood for the first time when they turn 17.

An NHS Blood and Transplant spokesman said: “As you can see, we have had a good strong response from younger people in Hartlepool which is great.

“The Mail’s campaign is obviously having a big impact and we would like to thank everyone who has signed up.”

As well as the 100 people aged 16-24 signing up, 69 people aged 25-34 joined the register as well as 37 aged 35-44.

A further 30 people aged between 45 and 54 signed up and 14 people aged 55 and over.

The increasing numbers will provide a huge help for NHSBT who need to recruit 225,000 new people every year to replace existing donors who drop out of the system.

People have the chance to sign up to the register ahead of a blood donor session in town tomorrow.

The event will be held at Seaton Carew Social Club, in Station Lane, from 2.15pm-3.45pm and 4.30pm-7pm.

Another session will take place at Owton Manor Community Centre, in Wynyard Road on Monday, March 25 from 2pm-3.45pm and 4.30pm-7pm.

To sign up and become a blood donor visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 1232323.