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Stories from the NHS

The NHS is 70 and over the years has touched many millions of lives. Behind every one of them is a story. Here are just a few.

Maggie’s story

Maggie at a ceremony to thank blood donors in 1958Maggie Hackney, 70, is only a few months younger than the NHS. She became one of the first babies to be given a blood transfusion under the new health service.

"Thankfully, the midwife identified I was in big trouble," Maggie says.

"I needed an exchange blood transfusion, something that was still at the experimental stage.

"Coincidentally, the National Blood Transfusion Service (as it was known then) was also a service that had just been created and was also crucial to my survival."

Picture: Maggie at a ceremony to thank blood donors in 1958.

No ifs or buts

Former police officer Derek Lynch also recently turned 70. He became a blood donor 50 years ago at the ‘request’ of his drill sergeant ("No ifs or buts, we were all to donate blood!") and has gone on to give blood more than 120 times.

He recalls walking into the assembly room where rows of old wood and canvas camp beds were laid out.

"In those days the needles and lines were inserted by a doctor and I remember him approaching me in his long white coat with a needle which looked and subsequently felt like a scaffold pole.

"The vivid coloured bruise was a reminder for days, not like the much more comfortable procedures today."

Derek has continued to donate as often as possible.

"It is only as I’m saying this that I have actually considered how many people I have helped at a major crisis time in their lives – and it feels quite good," he says.

50 years of caring

At the other end of the needle, our very own Pat Wolstenholme is toasting 50 years as a donor carer. Pat started in 1968 with our Manchester team and she has been making giving a blood a piece of cake for donors ever since.

Speaking of cake – the team helped Pat to celebrate her 50 years of service and the NHS’s birthday with a sweet treat celebration. This, along with the generous donors at Accrington, raised over £150 for blood research charity, Bloodwise. The perfect cherry on top!

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