Ripon livesaver honoured

David Copes present Mr Gatford with his commemorative crystal
David Copes present Mr Gatford with his commemorative crystal

A Ripon man has been recognised for his life saving donations.

Veteran blood donor James Gatford was presented with a commemorative crystal plate by NHS Blood and Tansplant (NHSBT) for 75 donations. Each blood donation can potentially help save the lives of three people and it is estimated Mr Gatford may have saved 225 lives over the years.

Only around four per cent of the eligible population give blood and of that four per cent, only two per cent ever reach 75 donations, making it a very rare milestone.

The 69-year-old semi-retired garage owner first began donating 46 years ago when a friend, as Mr Gatford put it, “twisted my arm”.

He said he has kept donating ever since in the hope it has helped to save or improve lives.

“It is a simple way to help others and, who knows, one day you might need some,” he said.

Mr Gatford was presented with his award at a ceremony in Harrogate by grateful Yorkshire blood recipient David Copes.

Mr Copes needed 40 units of blood after receiving horrific injuries in a motorcycle accident near Leeds.

The 60-year-old, from South Elmsall broke his neck, back, pelvis, both legs, ribs, foot, jaw, collar bone and hand along with serious injuries to his kidneys, bladder, liver and lungs.

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