A County Armagh politician today urged people to consider giving blood more often - after making his own 90th donation. Alderman Arnold Hatch, from Craigavon Borough Council, first donated a pint of blood when he was 18 and has been making regular trips to help the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service (NIBTS) ever since.
The Ulster Unionist councillor said: "It is such a simple, painless procedure I cannot understand why so many people do not donate such a life-saving gift.
"You just need to visit your local hospital and see the amount of blood that is needed on a daily basis to realise the satisfaction one gets, knowing your single donation could save several lives.
"We all know someone who has benefited from donated blood through emergency surgery, an operation, the treatment of cancer or childbirth."
Alderman Hatch is a member of the Southern Investing for Health Partnership which is working with NIBTS to promote blood donation in the area.
Congratulating him on his 90th donation, Heather Forbes from NIBTS said around 500 patients in Northern Ireland need life-saving blood each week.
"To ensure an adequate supply to our hospitals, we need 300 people to give blood every day. However 94% of those who are eligible do not donate. That's why we need people like Arnold to continue to donate themselves as well as help recruit new donors," she said.
Anyone between the age of 17 and 65 can give blood for the first time and can continue to donate three times a year to the age of 70. There are 1,000 blood donation sessions at 240 locations across Northern Ireland each year.
To find out more telephone 028 3741 4589 or log on to www.southernifh.com.