Blood donors strike gold after saving 8,500 lives
Almost 340 blood donors in Northern Ireland will be honoured at an awards night which also celebrates the thousands of lives they helped to save.
It comes after the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service (NIBTS) revealed that the number of new donors coming forward each year in Northern Ireland has dropped by almost 36% in the last decade.
Hundreds of generous blood donors will gather for a special Gold Awards night at the King's Hall this evening.
The event will congratulate the donors on having achieved their Gold Badge and to celebrate almost 8,500 people who are alive today because of them.
These particular people have donated at least 50 units of blood - many having donated many more - with several having exceeded 100.
Paul McElkerney, a spokesman for the NIBTS said: "This is a great opportunity for us to thank these wonderful people on behalf of all the patients whose lives have been saved.
"This week also saw the launch of the international 'Missing Type' campaign aimed at redressing the 30% drop in new donor enrolment across the world over the last 10 years."
Speakers will include marathon runner Adrian Moat from Belfast, who has completed many gruelling runs to raise funds for various charities and has also encouraged hundreds of people to donate blood.
However, Adrian was a blood donor until recently when a bout of coughing tore his oesophagus and he ended up needing a blood transfusion himself.