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News: Give blood and be part of the Greatest Team in the World

20 May 2014

Adrian Chiles and Lee Dixon recreate iconic football images to encourage people to donate blood this summer.

NHS Blood and Transplant is asking new and existing donors to give blood and be part of the Greatest Team in the World to help maintain healthy blood stocks for patients throughout the busy summer months.

The number of people donating blood often falls during the summer and this year's football World Cup may present even more of a distraction. During a previous international football tournament, the number of blood donations collected on England football match days fell by up to 5%, and up to 12% on the day following an England match.

To help raise awareness of the ongoing need for blood, former England footballer Lee Dixon and sports presenter Adrian Chiles have recreated iconic football images. Adrian Chiles has imitated Stuart Pearce's famous penalty celebration during the Euro 96 quarter-final shoot- out against Spain at Wembley. Lee Dixon has reinvented himself as Terry Butcher who memorably played on, despite an injury, during the 1989 World Cup Qualifier in Stockholm.

Lee Dixon said: 'Terry Butcher's given blood for England and we re asking other people to do the same. Blood donors don't always get the recognition they deserve but in putting the needs of others ahead of their own they show real team spirit. Help us keep stocks steady in the coming months and we can all enjoy the tournament knowing we've looked after those who rely on this vital resource.'

Adrian Chiles said: 'Donating blood is easier than watching a football match. It takes less time and, depending on your team's performance, it's a much less stressful experience all round. Plus you get to lie down for a bit and save lives. Thousands of patients rely on blood donations to survive so I would encourage people to just do it. There's no quicker or easier way to be a bit of a hero.'

Jon Latham, Assistant Director for Donor Services and Marketing at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: 'We want to remind everybody that the need for blood will continue even when their attention turns to the beautiful game. While the overall need for blood within the NHS has been reducing, thanks to improvements in clinical practice and our work with hospitals, we still need more than 7,000 people to attend a blood donation session every day. Voluntary donors enable us to collect the amount of blood hospitals across England and North Wales need to treat patients.

'So if you have an appointment coming up in June and July please keep it. And if you have time to donate, why not book an appointment to give blood and save lives? We particularly need our O Rh Negative and B Rh Negative blood donors and our platelet donors to keep attending.

'The Greatest Team in the World is never complete, so if you've never given blood before come and join us. We always have spaces in our squad as we continually need new donors to replace our former team members who can no longer donate for reasons such as illness or pregnancy. So come on, why not get off the bench and join the Greatest Team in the World?'

Every blood donation saves or improves the lives of up to three people, and if each member of the England World Cup squad gave blood, they would save or improve the lives of up to 69 people. 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.

For more information or to book an appointment visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.

Ends

For more information or to speak to a blood donor , blood recipient or a relevant spokesperson, please contact the NHS Blood and Transplant team at The Red Consultancy: nhsbloodteam@redconsultancy.com / 020 7025 6500 / 0781 415 4705 or the NHS Blood and Transplant Press Office at pressoffice@nhsbt.nhs.uk / 01923 367600.

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 and Apple Smartphone and tablet devices which enable donors to search for their nearest blood donation session.
  • 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 must wait 12 weeks between donations. Platelets can be donated every 2 weeks.