Dedicated donors who are our ‘silent heroes’

100th award recipient Mr Keith Gower, of Hemel Hempstead, blood recipient Simon Cooper, of Cockfosters, Lynda Hamlyn, Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant, and 75th award recipient Mr David Simpkin, of Berkhamsted
100th award recipient Mr Keith Gower, of Hemel Hempstead, blood recipient Simon Cooper, of Cockfosters, Lynda Hamlyn, Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant, and 75th award recipient Mr David Simpkin, of Berkhamsted

Four blood donors from Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted were among 98 unsung heroes recognised and rewarded for their contribution at a recent awards ceremony.

Mark Thompson and Keith Gower of Hemel Hempstead joined Nick Bugg and David Simpkin from Berkhamsted to receive the crystal awards from NHS Blood and Transplant, commending them for their commitment and selfless efforts.

Blood recipient Simon Cooper, of Cockfosters, and 75th award recipient Mr Mark Chapman, of Hemel Hempstead

Blood recipient Simon Cooper, of Cockfosters, and 75th award recipient Mr Mark Chapman, of Hemel Hempstead

David, who has been donating for 34 years, said: “I was encouraged to start giving blood by my wife and friends. It is easy to do and gives a ‘feel good’ factor.”

Nick has been a blood donor for 53 years and said: “It is painless, gives a sense of wellbeing and now there is no upper age limit. In the early days my blood was split into quad bags for babies.”

They were also able to hear first hand how life-changing a blood donation can be for those on the receiving end.

Guest speakers Justin Tepper, 38, of Borehamwood, and Simon Cooper, 30, of Cockfosters, have both been on the receiving end of blood donations.

Simon, who is a drummer with pop duo Chas and Dave, received blood during a liver transplant, then received a further 10 units of blood, six platelets and four units of plasma during a lung transplant operation.

Justin received two units of blood after he suffered a fractured right femur then collapsed with a broken leg and dislocated hip.

Justin said: “I like to help NHS Blood and Transplant for two reasons. Firstly, as I cannot donate blood at this time in the UK, it enables me to give something back.

“Secondly, and possibly more importantly, by talking to current or prospective donors, it not only gives them the opportunity to see the results of their efforts, but it allows me to thank the people who help thousands who without these donors would be either disabled, more seriously ill or worse still.”

Dominic Sutherland, lead donor relations manager for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We are proud to reward these incredible people, these silent heroes, who have rolled up their sleeves so many times over the years to help save lives.

“Becoming a regular blood donor takes commitment and shows compassion.”

NHS Blood and Transport needs to get 200,000 new registrations every year to replace those who are no longer donating, so it’s hoping these inspirational stories will raise the profile of blood donorship and encourage people to come forward and sign up.

Those wanting to donate for the first time have to be aged between 17 and 65, must weigh at least 7 stone 12lbs as well as being in general good health.

If you’ve donated before you can continue up to your 70th birthday, and there is no upper age limit for donors who have donated in the past two years.

To book an appointment call the Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23, or visit www.blood.co.uk