Never to old to give blood

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I would like to thank all our blood and platelet donors for making a special effort to give blood during the severe winter weather and over the festive period.

We never take the generosity and commitment of our volunteer donors for granted and appreciate everyone who took the time and in some busy times were willing to wait to donate.

As a result blood stocks across all blood groups remained strong over the period and have now quickly returned to healthy levels.

While availability of all blood types remained good during the bad weather, we made a special appeal for O negative donors as maintaining good availability of group O negative is particularly important as it can be given safely in emergencies to patients of any blood group.

Thanks to a fantastic response we collected a record amount of 1,119 units of O negative blood on Wednesday 22 December - the highest number collected in a single day since 2000.

Anyone interested in becoming a blood or platelet donor can call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk. First time donors should be aged between 17-65, weighing at least 50 kg (7 stone 12lbs) and 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.

Jon Latham, Assistant Director of Blood Donation, NHS Blood and Transplant, Watford, Herts.