Centenary for blood donor
CHRISTMAS is traditionally the time of giving - but instead of being generous with gifts, one Suffolk man donated his blood for the 100th time.While Gilbert Clarke, from Ipswich, made his centenary blood donation at Ipswich Corn Exchange in King Street, he was presented with a special Edinburgh crystal decanter to mark the occasion.
CHRISTMAS is traditionally the time of giving - but instead of being generous with gifts, one Suffolk man donated his blood for the 100th time.
While Gilbert Clarke, from Ipswich, made his centenary blood donation at Ipswich Corn Exchange in King Street, he was presented with a special Edinburgh crystal decanter to mark the occasion.
But at 69-year-old Mr Clarke said it would be his last time giving blood as he turns 70 on January 1.
He said: "There are a lot of people walking about today who wouldn't be here without someone giving blood.
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"That's the final time I can give blood. I've been trying to get them in this year. They would only collect blood twice a year but over the last five years you can give blood three times a year. If I had been able to do that from the start I would have got to 100 long before now."
Mr Clarke started donating blood in 1952 in Taunton, Somerset, when he was 18 and serving in the forces. He has continued ever since without any problems.
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He even managed to convince his wife to give blood too and she has made 11 donations. The importance of donating blood was highlighted to the couple when she relied on a transfusion while having a major operation.
Mr Clarke said: "Many people say they would rather receive blood than give. However someone has to give it."
Ruth Greenaway, communications officer for the National Blood Service in East Anglia, said: "Mr Clarke has potentially saved as many as 300 lives through his 100 donations.
"A single donation can save or improve up to three lives and may make all the difference for someone hoping to be able to spend Christmas at home rather than in hospital."
Blood donors can book appointments for Suffolk sessions, which usually take an hour from reception to tea table, by calling 08457 711711 at least 24-hours before they plan to attend.