Appeal scores new blood

First-time blood donors from Nottinghamshire, who have signed up to a nationwide campaign in their thousands, are urged to keep the momentum going.

In just 11 weeks, 2996 people living in Nottinghamshire who have never given blood before, have registered.

They enlisted during NHS Blood and Transplant’s #BleedForEngland campaign which rallied people to sign up as blood donors and support their own team during the world’s biggest rugby tournament.

World Cup winners Jonny Wilkinson, Martin Johnson, Ben Kay, Jason Leonard and Maggie Alphonsi all backed the campaign by donating blood for the first time.

In addition, international players Dan Cole, James Haskell and Tom Croft swapped roles with employees at Boots, London Hilton on Park Lane and Grr’s 2 Prr’s, (a dog grooming company in Leicester), to free them up to donate.

Union and League rugby clubs across the country also supported the campaign, posting messages on social media and holding promotional events at their clubs to encourage their members to become donors.

The England rugby team’s early departure from the Rugby World Cup didn’t halt the campaign’s momentum with people continuing to sign up in their thousands.

NHS Blood and Transplant is now calling on the #BleedForEngland recruits as well as existing donors to book appointments to donate over the next few weeks to ensure patients get the blood they need in the run up to, and over, the holiday season.

Jon Latham, assistant director of donor services and marketing of NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We’d now like everybody who signed up to book their first appointment and commit to attending a session to save lives. We appreciate your first donation can be quite nerve-wracking but players like Jonny, Martin, Ben, Jason and Maggie have shown just how easy it is to do.

“Donating will only take about an hour of your time. What better gift could you give to patients who need blood?”

Across the country, the high-profile campaign has encouraged 101,295 newcomers to sign up as blood donors which has exceeded appeal organisers’ target by 1,295.