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Horley man's blood donor honour
11:15am Friday 20th July 2012 in Local News
A Horley man has been honoured at an awards event in which more than 50 blood donors
were praised for together helping save more than 13,000 lives.
James Flockhart was among 53 dedicated blood donors from across Surrey, London, Hampshire and Sussex, thanked for their life-saving efforts.
They were honoured by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) at an awards event held at The Croydon Park Hotel in Croydon.
They were told their combined donations had helped save the lives of more than 13,000 people – more than twice the seating capacity of London’s Royal Albert Hall.
The ceremony honoured long-serving blood donors who had donated blood on at least 75 occasions, with 17 of the lifesavers commended for reaching the 100 donation milestone.
Mr Flockhart received a crystal decanter in recognition of donating blood 100 times.
The awards were presented by Mrs Hannah Gregory from Copthorne, who knows only too well how important blood donation is.
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.”
In April 2010, Hannah’s 30-week pregnancy took a downward turn when she went into early labour and was rushed to the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.
Hannah had lost more than three units of blood by the time she got to hospital, and her son, Ben, was born by emergency caesarean and was whisked straight to Special Care, where he thrived.
Unfortunately, it was Hannah who was in danger, as doctors discovered she had the rare disorder, placenta accreta.
This meant that the large blood vessels of the placenta had grown abnormally into the tissues surrounding it.
Within minutes of the birth, Hannah lost more and more blood, and she needed a total of 32 units transfused.
Eventually, after five and a half hours in theatre, further surgery the next day and five days spent in intensive care, Hannah was allowed home, and Ben followed six weeks later to join his delighted older sister and father at home.
Hannah said: “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.”
She said: “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.”
John Canning, lead donor relations manager at NHSBT, said: “The commitment that these blood donors have shown to donating blood throughout their lives is remarkable, and we hope this inspires others to follow.”
He said: “With the Olympic summer upon us, we are aiming to increase blood stocks by 30% above normal stock levels to ensure that vital supplies of blood are available for the patients that need them over the summer months.”
Anyone wanting to donate for the first time should be aged between 17 and 65, should weigh at least 50 kg (7 stone 12lbs) and be in general good health.
People who have donated before can start again up to their 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: www.blood.co.uk