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News: Less than 3% of people support England in a way that really matters – by giving blood

16 September 2015

England rugby legends back BleedForEngland campaign to highlight the aim for 100,000 new volunteers to register as blood donors between England’s first warm-up game and the end of the World’s biggest rugby tournament

As the nation is gearing up to show its support for the England rugby team, NHS Blood and Transplant has revealed that less than 3%* of people aged between 17 and 70 living in England have donated blood in the last year.  In contrast, 24%[1] of the nation cheered on England during their cup-winning performance in 2003.

NHS Blood and Transplant is calling on 100,000** new volunteers to show their support in a way that really matters; by registering to become a blood donor between 15th August and 31st October.  By going on to book an appointment to donate - and literally #BleedForEngland – these new registrants will contribute to the more than 200,000 new blood donors needed this year.

While blood stocks are currently good, new donors are crucial to replacing donors who don’t donate any more and will help ensure we have the right type and number of donors to provide the right mix of blood to match patient need in future. Currently, over 6,000 donations*** are needed each day to treat patients across the country and new donors will help ensure that we continue providing blood to people in England whenever they need it.

Today NHS Blood and Transplant has unveiled a new campaign backed by Jonny Wilkinson, Martin Johnson, Ben Kay, Jason Leonard, Maggie Alphonsi and Matt Dawson encouraging people to sign up as blood donors. The campaign kicked off last month as the warm up matches started with local rugby clubs such as North Bristol RFC, Preston Grasshoppers Ladies and Widnes Vikings pledging their support.  The campaign includes a new TV advert, as well as exciting video content involving England rugby legends giving blood for the first time.

The red rose – a flower associated with the national rugby team - is a central image of the campaign. A new TV advert, with a voice-over by Sir John Hurt, shows a dying rose coming back to life as blood falls onto its petals. An emotive campaign video shows drops of sterilised blood from Johnny, Martin, Ben and Jason’s donations**** being used to create a red rose image.

A red rose emblem, drained of its colour will feature as a campaign totaliser on the blood.co.uk website. A tiny particle of red in the rose will be restored with every new donor registering. Between August 15th and the tournament’s final game on October 31st we are aiming for 100,000 people to sign up as donors to bring the rose back to life.

England World Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson says: “I’ve always wanted to give back and now I’m learning about how to support that massive team that was behind us– be a link in a chain that’s going to go somewhere fabulous for someone else.  Giving blood is such a great way to do that.” 

Ben Kay said: “When you think how passionate rugby supporters are, and that only 3% of people in England support the country by actively giving blood, I want to encourage people to become donors. Blood donors saved my mate’s wife, so I’m really glad I’ve now become a donor myself.”

Jon Latham, Assistant Director at NHS Blood and Transplant, says: We’re delighted that some England rugby legends have bled for England by making their first blood donations and we really hope they have inspired you to join them if you’ve never donated before. They have shown just how easy it is to become a new blood donor. We want to see 100,000 new donors sign up to #BleedForEngland to help us meet patient need in the future, 

“Giving blood is an amazing thing to do and saves lives. Please go to www.blood.co.uk to find out if you can donate, register as a donor and book an appointment. Giving blood is simple and easy to do and will only take about an hour of your time. We plan our sessions in line with the amount of blood we need to collect to meet patient need so it’s best to book an appointment at the next available date and time.

There are a number of ways you can support the #BleedForEngland campaign:

  • If you are 17 or over, visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23 today to find out if you are eligible to donate, register as a blood donor and to book your appointment
  • Download our app by searching ‘NHSGiveBlood’ in the App store.  It’s available for Android, Windows and Apple Smartphone and tablet devices
  • Show your support for blood donation on social media during the tournament by posting about blood donation and encouraging friends, family and followers to register to give blood and #BleedForEngland
  • Twitter @GiveBloodNHS #BleedForEngland
  • Facebook: www.facebook.com/NHSBlood
  • Instagram @GiveBloodNHS
  • Youtube: www.youtube.com/user/NHSGiveBlood

Help ensure we can provide the right type of blood for patients in the future. Do something amazing. Give blood. #BleedForEngland

For more information please contact:

BloodEngine@enginegroup.com / 020 3128 8545


*Less than 3% of people living in England aged 17-70 have donated blood in the last 12 months.  This percentage is based on age only – and doesn’t take into account other factors such as medical or lifestyle history, which impact on whether someone is eligible to donate blood

** 100,000 new registrations required from England’s first warm up match on 15th August to the tournament final on the 31st October.

*** NHS Blood and Transplant currently needs over 6,000 donations each day to meet the needs of patients across England and North Wales. From 2016, NHS Blood and Transplant will be responsible for England only.

****The blood used to create the campaign video was donated, processed and tested in the normal manner. A few drops of blood from the donation test samples were added to the artist’s paint that was used to create the rose images. To mitigate any possible risk in using this blood it was tested and sterilised before use.

About NHS Blood and Transplant:

  • 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 1.7 million units of blood each year from over 23,000 blood donation sessions in more than 3,000 venues
  • A unit of blood is measured as 470mls (or just under a pint)
  • There are four main blood groups – O, A, B and AB. A regular supply of all blood groups is vital – red cells last 35 days and platelets only 7days.
  • Maintaining a regular supply of group O Rh Negative is particularly important to respond to patient need.

[1] The Rugby World Cup final, Australia vs England 2003, had 8,431,400 viewers with a TVR of 24.47% (Data from BARB, via Overnights.tv)