Jill Palfrey

I still have the record card with my mother’s blood donations, so I know it was the 3 October 1939 that she first gave blood at the London Hospital, as it was then known. It shows her change of name and address after marrying in 1940, too. She carried on being a blood donor beyond the then ‘stopping’ age so that she could reach a round number of donations.

Jill's motherMy sister and I used to accompany her to Wanstead Hospital and I have really clear memories of sitting next to the bed whilst she donated. I was determined that I would become a blood donor when I turned 18 and have continued to this day, now aged 76 and with 124 credits.

(Picture: Jill's mother first gave blood in October 1939)

Wherever I have lived and worked I have been determined to find a convenient place and time to donate and have only not donated during pregnancies and post-natal periods and a period of anaemia in my early forties. I persuaded my boyfriend, later my husband, to sign up and he donated until a heart condition caused him to have to cease.

My son became a blood donor but had to stop after participating in a clinical trial. My daughter, a nurse for 26 years, has been a donor since she was 18 and continues to this day. We love attending together if we can – it’s a chance to catch up and chat while indulging in some Mini Cheddars or a Club biscuit!Jill Palfrey

It’s all the more rewarding as well, thanks to the all the lovely staff at the donation sessions and the messages afterwards telling you where your blood was sent.

My son and daughter and I are all O negative and, particularly because of my daughter’s work, appreciate the importance of our donations, although we also know that every donation is crucial.

(Picture: Jill loves donating with her daughter and hopes her grandson will follow suit)

Through our village magazine, I have attempted to encourage others to sign up – it is in fact one of my soapbox subjects – as I feel it is one of the most useful hours in anyone’s life.

Sadly, I only have one of my mother’s donor record cards and I don’t have any for my grandfather, who I believe also donated blood, but I am so proud of my family, all four generations, for maintaining the tradition.

Hopefully my grandson will follow suit and attend his first session very soon!