Roger rolls up his sleeves to save lives

Blood donor Roger James being presented with his award by blood recipient Jayne Snell at the NHS Blood and Transplant ceremony. (S)
Blood donor Roger James being presented with his award by blood recipient Jayne Snell at the NHS Blood and Transplant ceremony. (S)
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Ripon man Roger James didn’t just lend the NHS a hand when helping to save 225 lives – he lent an entire arm.

Ex-soldier Mr James has made more than 75 blood donations over three decades – and as each single donation can save up to three lives, the 60-year-old may have helped save more than 225 patients in hospitals across the north.

Mr James, who is now retired but served in the Parachute Regiment and worked in security for the Ministry of Defence, said people can be encouraged to give blood by thinking they can “help save a life today”.

He first starting giving blood following the Falklands War, and has kept donating ever since.

Mr James can now count himself as one of only two per cent of people ever to reach 75 donations, with only around four per cent of the eligible population giving blood in England and North Wales.

To mark his achievement, a commemorative crystal award from NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) was presented to Mr James by blood recipient Jayne Snell, during a ceremony in Harrogate.

Mrs Snell, who lives near York, received at least 23 units of blood and three units of platelets during her treatment for blood cancer acute myeloid leukaemia.

NHSBT spokesperson Donna Batty 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.”

She added: “However, 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.”

lIf you would like to become a blood donor make an appointment to attend a local session either by calling 0300 1232323 or visiting the website www.blood.co.uk. NHSBT is also appealing for new donors aged between 17 and 65. There is no upper age limit for existing donors.