Linda Buckland

Linda first donated with her mum back in 1970. She and her husband celebrated their donation centuries together. 

Linda and her husband at their weddingI can't claim to go back as far as some of the donors featured in The Donor but I did start to give blood as soon as I was old enough. It was 1970 and my mother was a regular blood donor; my father had died from leukaemia when I was 12.

I don't really remember much about my first donation but would have gone with my mother. I do remember that the iron level check was done from a sample taken from the earlobe and as it was a fixed site and there were sandwiches, crisps and biscuits with either Guinness or tea to drink. We were also given iron tablets, though I think this was stopped soon afterwards.

(Picture: Linda and her husband at their wedding)

I have only had one short break and have now given over 110 donations. My husband is also a donor and has given at least 115 donations, having overtaken me when men were allowed to donate four times a year while women were restricted to a maximum of three! He had given blood before we met but I don't think he was a regular donor until we got together. If possible, we donate together.

I was especially proud when both my husband and I were able to go up to London to receive our 100th donation awards, as I suspect not many couples reach this target. We were given an inspirational talk by one of the victims of the London bombings, who survived with the help of many blood transfusions. 

Linda and her husband at their 100th donation award ceremony
Linda and her husband at their 100th donation award ceremony

We used to go to a major blood donor centre to give blood before appointments were brought in, as the local venues used to have long waiting times, but now we are able to donate at a local sports centre just 15 minutes away.

Giving blood has never been a major issue - if you can relax you may not even feel the needle going in. I keep going because it is such a worthwhile cause and through my own family experience. It makes me feel good about myself too, as I can help others just by giving up a little of my time. The Covid situation made us think it’s more important than ever to continue.