News: Baking sensation Mich Turner joins local students to promote blood donation to Bristol residents

Friday, 10 Oct 2014

Celebrity Chef and TV personality Mich Turner MBE, today joined students at City of Bristol Catering College to launch a new blood donation campaign.

A Baking Community for Blood Donation will run during October and November. NHS Blood and Transplant will raise awareness of blood donation and the extended opening hours at Bristol Donor Centre through a number of events across the city.

At the launch event, local residents and existing and potential blood donors were given the chance to sample Mich’s apricot and almond streusel cake. Created especially for this campaign, Mich’s recipe uses foods that are naturally high in iron. Iron is important because it helps your body to make haemoglobin and you give away a lot of iron when you donate blood. The students also put their cooking skills to good use as they baked cupcakes to give away on the day.

Mich Turner knows all too well how blood donation can save a life. In 2002 Mich’s son Marlow needed two transfusions after his premature birth.

Mich Turner said: 'My son Marlow was born premature, he was one of twins and sadly his twin brother William died when he was 11 days old. During his three months in hospital he received two blood transfusions. These blood transfusions were literally a life source for Marlow.

'It was an overwhelmingly emotional early start to Marlow’s life – but I am thrilled to say he is now a vibrant, kind, strong, handsome about to be 12 year old whose thirst and love for life inspires me and everyone around him on a daily basis. I have no doubt this is with immense thanks to the hospital care, his determination and the blood transfusions he received.'

The donor centre in Bristol offers locals a city centre location and appointment times that are convenient to them. From the end of September, donors at Bristol Donor Centre could take advantage of its newly extended opening hours, which include evenings and alternate Sunday blood donation sessions.

Geraldine Parker, Lead Donor Relations Manager at NHS Blood and Transplant said: 'We’ve had a great day today with Mich and the students at the college. Blood donation saved Mich’s sons life and this would not have been possible without dedicated blood donors.

'Bristol Donor Centre has been serving the local community for many years and we wanted to say thank you to all the existing donors who use the centre and to also encourage young people to consider donating blood there as well.

'We know that donors want more varied blood donation times and the extended hours offer them that. Now there will be no restrictions around when they can donate whole blood. With free wifi, parking and great public transport links the donor centre is easy and convenient to get to.

'We hope that everyone enjoyed the event here today and we look forward to welcoming all the new donors to Bristol Donor Centre.'

Although overall blood use within the NHS has reduced thanks to improvements in clinical and surgical practices, hospitals and patients still rely on more than 7,000 people attending a donation session every day across England and North Wales.

Blood is required to treat patients for a whole range of reasons. It is used in accident and emergency situations, during surgery and in maternity and neonatal care when either mum or baby need blood. It is also used as a treatment for cancer and for blood disorders, such as sickle cell anaemia.

You can register as a donor, find out whether we’ve got a session coming up in your area and book an appointment to donate whenever and wherever you are through www.blood.co.uk or by using our app on your Android, Windows or Apple device. To download an app for your device, search 'NHSGiveBlood' in the app store.

In general, as long as you are fit and healthy, weigh over 7 stone 12 lbs (50kg) and are aged between 17 and 66 (up to 70 if you have given blood before) you should be able to give blood. If you are over 70, you need to have given blood in the last two years to continue donating.

Ends

  • For additional information please contact the NHS Blood and Transplant press office on 01923 367600 or via pressoffice@nhsbt.nhs.uk
  • For out of hours enquiries please call: 0117 969 2444

Notes to editors

  • NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. Its remit includes the provision of a reliable, efficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS in England and North Wales. It is also the organ donor organisation for the UK and is responsible for matching and allocating donated organs
  • Donors can search for sessions, change their contact details, book appointments and change/cancel their appointments in real time on www.blood.co.uk
  • There are apps available for Android, Windows and Apple Smartphone and tablet devices which enable donors to search for sessions based on your location, book and manage appointments.
  • NHSBT’s donor line - 0300 123 23 23 - is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with all calls charged at the standard local rate, even from mobile phones.
  • NHSBT collects 1.8 million units of blood each year from over 23,000 blood donation sessions in more than 3,000 venues.
  • Only four per cent of the eligible population are active blood donors.
  • A unit of blood is measured as 470mls (or just under a pint). 
  • There are four main blood groups – O, A, B and AB. Group O is the most common and therefore the most in demand. A regular supply of blood is vital – red cells last 35 days and platelets only 7 days.
  • Female whole blood donors can give blood every 16 weeks, while male blood donors can donate every 12 weeks. Platelets can be donated every 2 weeks.