Frances gets reward for donations

BLOOD donor Frances Townsend has given more than an armful - and it's reckoned rolling up her sleeve has saved as many as 225 lives.To mark her giving blood 75 times, the 66-year-old was presented with an emerald award, a crystal plate, as she arrived at Felixstowe Leisure Centre to donate for the 76th time.

BLOOD donor Frances Townsend has given more than an armful - and it's reckoned rolling up her sleeve has saved as many as 225 lives.

To mark her giving blood 75 times, the 66-year-old was presented with an emerald award, a crystal plate, as she arrived at Felixstowe Leisure Centre to donate for the 76th time.

Not many people reach the emerald milestone - and even fewer the diamond 100 donations award for which she is now aiming.

Mrs Townsend, of Dains Place, Trimley St Mary, said giving blood was a “wonderful thing to do”.

She started giving blood in the 1960s while working in the City of London and carried on when she moved to Felixstowe.

“I started giving blood through work,” she said.

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“I have never considered stopping as it is important to do what you can to help others.

“I feel lucky that I have been in good health over the years and everyone who can give blood should do so.”

Gareth Bell, spokesman for the National Blood Service (NBS) in Suffolk, said: “Blood donors are the unseen heroes when it comes to the treatment of hundreds of patients every day.

“Many people are not aware of just how widely blood is used at hospitals and for many patients it is their only lifeline.

“Frances' donations could have been used to help mothers or babies on maternity wards, aid a trauma patient through a major operation, or even been given to a cancer patient to help them through their chemotherapy.

“It is a great honour for us to present this award to Frances. I hope it proves to be a constant reminder to her what a fantastic thing she does each time she rolls up her sleeves to give.”

To find out more about giving blood, register as a donor, book an appointment, contact the NBS helpline on 0845 7711 711.

FASTFACTS:

A unit of blood is measured as 470mls (or just under a pint).

Donors can give every 16 weeks - three times a year.

Regular blood donors can continue giving until the age of 70.

There are four main blood groups - O, A, B and AB. Group O is the most common and therefore the most in demand. Over 95 per cent of the blood collected is processed into its main components - red cells, platelets and plasma.

A regular supply of blood is vital - red cells last only 35 days and platelets only five days.