Red letter day for Roger as he gives blood for 100th time

Champion Donor-Stowford resident Roger Huggins will soon be donating his 100th pint of blood. Ref s

Champion Donor-Stowford resident Roger Huggins will soon be donating his 100th pint of blood. Ref shs 4310-42-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

A Sidmouth granddad, who has given more than 80 pints of blood over the last 42 years, is preparing to roll up his sleeve for his 100th donation.

Roger Huggins, 66, will join the one per cent of donors who reach the impressive milestone when he gives blood in December.

The retired accountant first began donating in 1973 when he decided he wanted to do something to help people.

And now, four decades later, his donations total the equivalent of all of the blood in the bodies of eight grown men.

Roger’s blood will have helped save hundreds of lives.

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But with less than three per cent of the UK’s adult population regularly giving blood, Roger hopes to encourage others in Sidmouth to get involved.

Asked for his advice to would-be donors, the Sampson Road resident said: “Just do it. You don’t do it for the thanks, but you see the blood go and you never know what happens to it, but it could be anything – for a newborn baby, an elderly person or a serious operation. You just hope that you have done some good.

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“It is one of the few things in life that you can do to help that doesn’t take up a lot of time, and it doesn’t cost anything.”

Most people aged between 17 and 66 can give blood, providing they are fit and healthy.

Roger, whose A-positive blood-type is shared by 33 per cent of the UK population, said that, when he began donating, a session could easily take several hours. Big changes since the 1970s have made giving easier than ever.

“They are much more efficient than they used to be - when I first started, you could be hanging about for a long time,” said Roger.

“But now I can walk in, give blood and be home within 30 minutes.

“Some people are worried that it will hurt, but it doesn’t. They do a quick test before you donate and they prick your finger – that hurts more than the actual donation!”

A spokeswoman for NHS Blood and Transplant said the number of people donating has fallen in recent years - and new donors are vital for the health service.

She added: “Each donation can save up to three lives, so it’s possible he has saved up to 300 lives.”

Sessions regularly take place at the Stowford Community Centre in Sidmouth and at Ottery St Mary Football Club.

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