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Ketton blood donor gives 175th pint of blood

A blood donor has given his 175th pint and vows to continue giving the gift of life by the armload.

Leslie Rowley, an 83-year-old from Ketton, has been donating blood for more than 60 years.

On Monday (March 25) he was met with a round of applause at a blood donation clinic in Christ Church Orton Southgate, Peterborough when his 175th pint was collected.

“The room erupted, everyone was clapping and cheering,” he said.

“It did make me a bit shy.

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“I had tears rolling down my face.”

According to Leslie, not much has changed since he gave his first pint in Mirrlees Blackstone in Stamford during the 1960s.

He says he has ‘never been bothered’ about the process and says it is over within minutes.

There are eight blood types and donors find out theirs after making a first blood donation.

Leslie has O negative, which is known as the “universal blood type” because it can be given to people with any of the four main blood groups.

Leslie’s blood is often given to baby units, where a single pint can help several babies, and to people who have had heart operations or cancer treatment.

“When I was born in 1941 I had to have blood transfusions because I was born blue,” said Leslie, who started life in King’s Cliffe before working in farming and local industries, such as Tarmac at Tallington.

He currently donates blood four times a year and is keen for younger people to sign up now, so they can become lifelong donors.

“I want to encourage young people to give blood,” he said.

“The health service is crying out for more blood.”

In his time giving blood he has received plenty of recognition from the national blood donor service, including a glass decanter, a glass plate and medals.

Leslie has set himself the challenge of donating 200 pints of blood by the time he is 90 years old, and is on track to meet this target a year early.

The majority of people can give blood if they are fit and healthy, weigh between 7st 12lbs (50kg) and 25st (158kg), if they are aged between 17 and 66 - although older people can donate if they have given blood before.

To get involved in becoming a blood donor visit the NHS Blood and Transplant website at www.blood.co.uk or the service on phone 0300 123 23 23.

Do you donate blood? Let us know in the comments.

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