THE lives of 2,400 hospital patients were saved by 10 people in Cambridgeshire – and each time they saved a life it took them only eight minutes. The 10 were among 48 dedicated blood donors, including several from Huntingdonshire, presented with awards a

Michael Booth is presented with a crystal decanter by Dr Nick Watkins, from the National Blood Service.

THE lives of 2,400 hospital patients were saved by 10 people in Cambridgeshire - and each time they saved a life it took them only eight minutes.

The 10 were among 48 dedicated blood donors, including several from Huntingdonshire, presented with awards at the Donor Awards Dinner Ceremony at Homerton College in Cambridge.

Brian Giles from Hemingford Grey was among 10 donors who were presented with a crystal decanter for passing the 100 donation landmark.

Thirty-eight donors received an engraved crystal plate to mark their achievement of 75 donations of blood.

These included: Michael Booth from Eaton Ford, Malcolm Turner from Perry, Terrence Slipper, from Grafham, Judith Horner, from Godmanchester, Robin Hopkins, from Bury, Colin Boon from Ramsey and Valerie Seymour and Geoffrey Dearnley, both from St Ives. Some of the donors had been giving blood for more than 40 years.

With each donation potentially saving up to three lives, each of the people who were receiving awards could lay claim to saving the lives of at least 225 people.

Gareth Bell, Communications Officer for the NBS, described the achievements of honoured blood donors as phenomenal.

He said; "Only five per cent of people who could give blood actually do so and of that small number only a handful will ever reach such momentous landmarks - it really is a phenomenal feat."

Each day the National Blood Service needs 8,000 donations across England and north Wales to ensure stocks remain healthy.

The service is constantly looking for more donors to come forward to help replace the 15 per cent of people who are unable to continue giving blood each year due to age, ill health, or relocation.

Most people aged 17-59, in general good health, who weigh over 7st 12lbs (50kg), can start giving blood.

The entire process takes around an hour in total, with the actual donation lasting on average six to eight minutes.

INFORMATION: To find out more about giving blood, to register as a donor, and to book an appointment (strongly recommended), contact the NBS helpline on 0845 7 711 711. You can also log on to www.blood.co.uk.