IT STARTED as a chance to get some time off work – but selfless pensioner Raymond Booth has really gone the extra mile by donating blood an incredible 102 times.
Mr Booth, 75, has been giving blood since he was 18 – and despite reaching the marvellous milestone, he has every intention of continuing to donate, as long as he is able to.
He said: “It wasn’t for purely altruistic reasons that I began giving blood – you could get time off work when you donated blood, and that was what convinced me.
“But once I start something, I like to see it through, and it is a really good thing to do. But it’s such an easy thing to do – an hour out of your life a couple of times a year.
“I understand that some people can’t give blood and some people don’t like needles. But apart from situations like that I think everyone who can do, should donate. You never know when you may need blood yourself.”
Mr Booth, a grandfather of five, celebrated reaching his milestone 100th donation at a special ceremony held in Southampton, where he received an award.
He said: “We heard a talk from one woman whose life had been saved by donations of blood after an operation on her tonsils went wrong.
“It is hearing stories like that that make you realise how worthwhile giving blood is, and how important it is that people do donate.”
Mr Booth, of Fairthorne Rise, Old Basing, said: “I’m not sure if I’ll make it to 125 donations – that would be very good going. But as long as I’m in relatively good health, I will carry on giving blood.”
Geraldine Parker, lead donor relations manager at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “The event at the Hub Theatre was our way of saying thank-you to our loyal blood donors, and recognising their commitment and dedication to blood donation over the years.
“We are very grateful to Mr Booth for taking time to donate blood. It is one of the most selfless and generous things you can do to help others. Reaching 100 donations is a great achievement, and definitely something to be proud of.”
Anyone aged 17 and over, who is in general good health, can give blood. To find out more, visit blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.