Blood donors from Chichester and Barnham receive awards

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Dedicated blood donors from Chichester and Barnham have been honoured.

John Gibbens and Edward Mynors from Chichester, and Ronald Mackenzie from Barnham were among 71 donors who received national recognition for their life-saving contributions at an award event.

The trio received a crystal plate in recognition of donating blood 75 times. Ten others were also commended for reaching the milestone of 100 donations.

The event honoured long-serving donors from East and West Sussex and Surrey, who in total had given more than 4,500 pints of blood.

Ronald Mackenzie started donating blood 42 years ago while he was in the military.

“The first time I gave blood was in January 1969 and since then I have done it on and off.

“I was spurred on to do it by some of my colleagues who told me it was for a good cause, so why didn’t I do it?” said the 69-year-old.

Now retired, Mr Mackenzie gives blood three times a year.

“It is really easy to nip down to Yapton. I make an appointment and the whole thing is over in about half-an-hour.

“It is really important people give blood. It is absolutely essential. You don’t realise it, but blood is needed for so many medical treatments and almost anyone can do it.”

During the event, guest speaker Hannah Gregory, who found herself in urgent need of blood after she went into early labour with her son Ben, spoke about the importance of taking time to donate.

She said: “As a regular blood donor since the age of 18, I was aware of the need for blood but I never imagined that one day my life would depend on receiving it.

“We are so thankful to all those healthcare professionals who looked after Ben and I, but there are 32 donors out there to whom I owe my life today.

“In a blink of an eye, without that volume of blood, my children would not have their mummy.

Words do not do justice to the gratitude we owe you.”

Jon Latham, assistant director of session strategy and marketing at NHSBT, said it was humbling to be among so many committed blood donors.

“Only a very small number of people reach the 75 and 100 donation milestones so these donors should be very proud of their achievements.

“We always welcome new donors and are particularly looking for donors with O negative blood group to come forward at this time,” he said.

The event, hosted by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) took place at the Grand Hotel in Brighton on March 4. To book an appointment or for more information call the donor line on 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk