Retired store manager hits milestone with 100th blood donation
- Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021
For almost four decades, Martin Howard has been generously giving up his time to donate blood - and this month marked an impressive milestone.
The 68-year-old, of Shortthorn Road, Stratton Strawless, near Norwich, first became a blood donor during the 1980s after being persuaded to do so by a family member.
He has now racked up a total of 100 donations.
The married father-of-two retired four years ago after working in various roles for Jarrold for 47 years, including as manager at its Cromer branch and services manager in Norwich. He first gave blood during his late 20s.
He said: “My sister Penny persuaded me to go along with her to give blood, so I thought I would - just to see what it was all about.”
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Mr Howard explained how the experience had changed "so much” over the decades.
“There used to be a doctor who gave you an injection to numb the area, but that does not happen anymore. Now you have to lie down on a bed for 30 minutes after.
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“You also have to make an appointment instead of queuing at the door. When I first used to go, there used to be an hour-and-a-half wait just to get inside. Now you’re just in and out in about an hour. It is so much easier.”
On celebrating his personal milestone, Mr Howard emphasised the importance of people donating their blood, now more than ever.
“Blood isn’t just used in the accident and emergency department, but also during childbirth, and for cancer patients. There are lots of different reasons.
“Regular donors are still going at the moment but the numbers have dropped, especially with Covid, but all the places are Covid-safe and everyone follows the restrictions. Giving blood is also classed as essential travel.
“It is also really rewarding. Now you get a text to say when your donation has been used too.”
Mr Howard has booked in again to give blood in May, and can now go every 12 weeks to make a donation, rather than the previous three months' wait. His blood type, which is A+, is also able to be used for babies, if needed.
And when Mr Howard is not donating blood, he can be found doing woodwork, gardening, and looking after his dog Bobbie.
- It is quick and easy to book an appointment to give blood. Call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk