Local blood donor reaches milestone

NEAALM110811A1 - Alan Rigley with his award for making 75 blood donations
NEAALM110811A1 - Alan Rigley with his award for making 75 blood donations

Giving blood is something that we often hear about, but how many of us actually take the time to roll up our sleeves and donate?

It is actually less than four per cent of the population that come forward to give the gift of life, and this minority of kind-hearted individuals are saving lives every day.

Alan Rigley from Eastwood is one of them.

He has donated blood for 25 years and will be honoured at an awards ceremony in Nottingham this October after making his 100th donation – a milestone only reached by one per cent of donors.

The 47-year-old, who was awarded a crystal bowl for reaching 75 donations, said he wanted to help others and thought it was ‘the decent thing to do’.

“It can be a matter of life or death,” he said.

“People rely on it. A lot of people need blood.”

His very first session was at Eastwood Sports Hall.

“It was in the mid 80s and there was an advert in the paper saying the stock holding was quite low,” he said.

“The turnout was tremendous. I stood in the queue for an hour, and I have gone ever since.”

For the last few years Mr Rigley, of Moorfields Avenue, Eastwood, has gone to special donor sessions in Nottingham where platelets are deciphered from his blood to treat cancer patients.

He can do this every month instead of just three time a year because the rest of the blood is put back in his body.

But Mr Rigley said he feels even more committed to donating platelets because not as many people do it.

“They only have five beds and each donation takes an hour and a half so they can only get through so many each time,” he said.

Mr Rigley’s son needed blood at just seven-weeks-old when he was born with two holes in his heart, and he said this makes him want to do it even more.

“It didn’t make me decide to do it because I already was,” he said. “But if there’s anything that makes me want to do it more, it’s that.

“I will do it as long as I can. It seems the right thing to do really.”

Anna Kerr, the blood services’s donor relations co-ordinator, said: “We are delighted to thank Alan for his outstanding commitment. It’s only through the generosity and support of loyal donors that we can provide blood to local hospitals.

“Many patients rely on this generous and kind act – it is truly inspiring that he is so committed to giving the gift of life and has achieved 107 donations”

The next blood donor sessions are at Awsworth Village Hall on August 18, Greasley Sports Centre on September 2 and the Kimberley Leisure Centre on October 25.

Over 2,000 donations have been made at the three sites so far this year - saving or helping up to 6,000 people.

To book an appointment please call the donor line on 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk.