DEDICATED blood donors from Horsham and Henfield were among 62 donors honoured by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) at an awards event held last month.
The ceremony honoured long-serving blood donors in Sussex who had donated blood on at least 75 occasions, and 12 of the lifesavers were commended for reaching the 100 donation milestone.
Between them, the donors have given almost 5000 units of blood, the equivalent of 4,100 pints - donated enough blood to save almost 15,000 lives.
John Holdsworth and Bruce Savage from Horsham each received a crystal plate in recognition of making 75 blood donations and those to receive a crystal decanter marking 100 donations included Janet Chown from Horsham and Sylvia Scutt from Henfield.
The awards were presented by Jeremy Bover, a train driver from Gravesend in Kent, who gave a moving speech about his young daughter Georgina who received vital blood transfusions.
In March 2010, just after her first birthday, Georgina was diagnosed with a very rare kidney cancer bilateral Wilms’ tumour, which only a few children are diagnosed with each year.
Jeremy said: “My wife had noticed that Georgina wasn’t her usual bubbly self so took her along to our local surgery to be checked over.
“The doctor was concerned when he checked her tummy and felt resistance and suggested my wife take her to Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford for further examination.
“Tests confirmed the shocking reality that our little girl had cancer and within two days she was undergoing chemotherapy.”
During her stay in hospital, Georgina received several blood transfusions and it struck home to Jeremy the importance of blood donation.
He said: “It made me think about all the times I’d walked past the bloodmobile in our local car park on my way to work in Dartford.
“When I got home that evening I immediately went online to get details about donating blood. I’ve now made six donations and I feel proud to be able to give something back.”
John Canning, lead donor relations manager at NHSBT, said: “The commitment that these blood donors have shown to donating blood throughout their lives is remarkable.
“They are shining examples to others thinking of donating for the first time or to those who haven’t donated in a while.
“We are delighted to honour them in this way and are grateful for every single donation they have given.”
Anyone wanting to donate for the first time should be aged between 17 and 65, weighing at least 7 stone 12lbs and in general good health.
Anyone who has donated before can start again up to their 70th birthday. To book an appointment call the Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk