Become a donor and help save lives

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dedicated donor Ken Blanchon has urged Belper people to save lives by signing up to donate blood.

The 71-year-old, of St Laurence Gardens, Belper, is recognised as one of the most consistent donors across Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, as he has won an award in recognition of giving blood 77 times.

He was among 64 committed blood donors honoured by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) at a donor awards event in Nottingham.

Ken’s achievement was featured in the News last month. Since receiving his award, Ken has donated twice more to take his total up to 79.

Now, Ken hopes more people will sign up to donate. He said: “I think everyone who can donate blood ought to. Not should, but ought to.

“I urge people to do it because you never know when you might need blood.

“You never know when you might have an accident.

“I don’t think there are many families who have not been touched by something involving blood donation.

“I keep doing it because one day I or my family might need some. You are doing something that is beneficial to others. But it is down to people’s own beliefs.”

Ken was also keen to point out that there was nothing to worry about when giving blood.

He said: “A lot of people think it is ‘argy bargy’, but it isn’t. You are one of a band of different people who are all there for a common purpose.

“You’re in and out within half an hour and the staff are fantastic, as are the people who give. It is an atmosphere of friendliness.

“I will keep doing it until the day comes that I cannot do it any more. And when I come out I feel better for it — although whether that’s the Club biscuit and the cups of tea they give you, I don’t know!”

Staff at Amber Valley Borough Council have been doing their bit to help boost blood stocks. For they were invited to attend blood donation sessions in Ripley last Saturday, February 19, and on Monday, February 21.

A council spokesman said: “We’re making our staff aware of the opportunities to donate blood and of the significance of the NHSBT’s campaign. So far, more than 60 staff have registered their interest in giving blood so it’s a good indication it’s widely supported throughout the organisation.”

First time donors should be aged between 17 and 65, weigh at least 50kg and be in general good health. If you’ve donated before, you can start again up to your 70th birthday and there is no upper age limit for donors who have donated in the last two years. To book an appointment call the Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23 or visit