Barry Hyman, a Bushey Heath Hertfordshire donor, recently clocked up his 200th donation.
My father started donating in the 50s when my younger brother received multiple transfusions after a serious illness. I followed in 1961 aged 20 after seeing a "blood donors wanted" sign outside a Church Hall in Ipswich where I worked.
Having grown up on Hancock's "The Blood Donor" I knew it was "very nearly an armful!". In those days you lay down a camp bed for 20 minutes after donating. Now, it’s a quick soft drink and a Kit Kat!
My blood type is B positive and so I realise how important my donations are. Only eight per cent of donors have this blood type.
(Picture: Barry holding his 100th donation plate)
Previously I gave blood in Ipswich, Portsmouth and Leeds, the bloodmobile at M&S Baker Street in London, then at West End Donor Centre, but for the last almost 30 years at Colindale.
I put on my 'I gave blood today' sticker to impress my grandchildren
The one donation that stood out for me was the 200th of course - a milestone. I had always wondered if I'd make it. I expected it to be sooner than it was but had a couple of foreign holidays delayed it. If health, mobility and booking allow, my 250th should be around 2035 when I'm 94!
I do encourage others to donate, I put on my 'I gave blood today' sticker to impress my grandchildren. Everyone’s donation is important, and I would encourage anyone not donating yet to do so as soon as they can. It’s so easy to do, costs nothing but a half hour of your day. NHS depends on donors. You never know when you might need "a shot in the arm".