Giving the best gift of all

A HUSBAND and wife team may have helped to save more than 500 lives by donating 172 pints of blood during the past 48 years.Brian Cudmore, 69, will donate his 100th unit of blood today since first offering his help in 1956, while his 68-year-old wife Beryl will give her 72nd.

A HUSBAND and wife team may have helped to save more than 500 lives by donating 172 pints of blood during the past 48 years.

Brian Cudmore, 69, will donate his 100th unit of blood today since first offering his help in 1956, while his 68-year-old wife Beryl will give her 72nd.

Together the couple, of Randwell Close, Ipswich, have donated the equivalent blood of more than 17 people and have helped save the lives of 516 - with one pint potentially saving three people.

Mr Cudmore, who has two grown up sons who also donate blood regularly, said: "There's an amazing amount of blood needed for operations. People just don't think about it.


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"It's a matter of discipline to make sure you do it every four months.

"I am very proud as it's something I wanted to do. It's something that everybody could do if they are fit. It costs nothing, just a bit of time, and there's no pain.

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"I have always carried on as it's only health and age that stops you."

Mr Cudmore began donating blood in 1956 when joined the Royal Army Medical Corp for National Service, where it was considered vital if you were fit.

He came out of the Army two years later and began working as a gas fitter with British Gas but still continued to donate blood. It was then that he persuaded his wife to do the same.

"I think it's a good thing when you read about the amounts of blood required for various operations. You're in and out with an hour and feeling back to the way you were before in fact, sometimes better," he said.

"Once you're 70 you're not able to give any more which will mean this it probably the last time or just one more before I'm 70 in February."

Mrs Cudmore added: "I never really think about it. They send out a letter with an appointment time and you write it in the calendar and go unless you're on holiday. You have to discipline yourself a bit but it's not a big hardship."

The couple usually attend blood donor sessions at Cauldwell Hall Baptist Church in Ipswich.

The nation's current blood level stocks are 8.45days, which represents almost 57,000 units.

A spokeswoman for the National Blood Service said: "I think that's an absolutely fantastic achievement as very few donors reach the 75 donation. It's just under 3% which shows how wonderful it is.

"Only 6% of the eligible population give blood but we do need 9,000 donations of blood across England and North Wales every day.

"On behalf of the NBS, I would like to thank this couple for their dedication in attending the sessions and for helping save so many lives."

Mr Cudmore will be presented with a crystal decanter to mark his achievement.

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