THREE Hartlepool blood donors have been honoured for giving blood at least 75 times each – helping to save 675 lives in the process.
Blood donor bosses hailed loving couple Owen and Christine Jarvis and retired teacher Norma Forte, who all had their fantastic dedication to the cause recognised at a spectacular ceremony at Crathorne Hall, in Yarm.
Only four per cent of the population in the UK are blood donors and of that four per cent only two per cent give blood 75 times.
But this Hartlepool trio have done exactly that.
Donna Batty, NHS Blood and Transplant spokeswoman, said: “It’s wonderful that we can call on people who have dedicated themselves to giving blood over so many years, performing a life-saving role for no reward, other than the knowledge that they are helping others.”
Owen, 60, and Christine, 59, gave blood for the first time together when they were just 18. And they have carried on doing so up to three times every year ever since then.
But modest Christine, a shop assistant and mum-of-three who lives in the Burn Valley area of Hartlepool, said: “I don’t really think about it now, it’s just part of my routine to give blood three times a year.
“But it is nice to know we are making a difference and it was really nice to get recognised.
“We had a lovely day at Crathorne Hall.”
Christine, who also has six grandchildren, is now urging young people to sign up and become donors as teenagers – just like she did.
The Mail launched the Mine’s a Pint campaign in December last year after it was revealed the number of donors aged 17 to 24 in Hartlepool had fallen for five consecutive years.
Just 172 people in the age group signed up and gave blood last year.
Christine said: “I would urge young people to sign up straight away.
“Giving blood only comes around two or three times a year and it just a little moment in your life that goes a long way to saving other lives.”
The NHSBT team need to recruit 225,000 new donors every single year.
Donna Batty added: “Every year many existing donors in our region have to stop giving blood due to factors like ill-health and medication, so in order to maintain blood stocks, we constantly need new donors.”
To become a life saving blood donor call 0300 123 23 23. or visit www.blood.co.uk.