Banbury couple urge others to give blood after 175th donation

Barry and Valerie Richards enjoy the complimentary tea and biscuits after the donation. Photo: NHS Blood and Transplant
Barry and Valerie Richards enjoy the complimentary tea and biscuits after the donation. Photo: NHS Blood and Transplant

A Banbury couple who have donated their blood 175 times encouraged others to do the same as it could save someone's life.

Valerie and Barry Richards gave blood for the 75th and 100th time respectively together at The People's Church Centre on Monday, November 13

Barry and Valerie Richards on the donation chairs for the joint 175th time. Photo: NHS Blood and Transplant

Barry and Valerie Richards on the donation chairs for the joint 175th time. Photo: NHS Blood and Transplant

The pair, who have been donating together for 47 years, were inspired to donate when they were teenagers.

At the time, Barry’s father had a potentially lifesaving operation delayed due to a lack of available blood and Valerie’s mother had benefitted from it so they both felt it was important to do their bit.

With each blood donation potentially saving or improving three lives, the couple have potentially helped 525 people since that first donation in 1970.

Valerie, 65, a retiree, said: “Giving blood is easy, I always feel refreshed afterwards and the staff are very friendly.

Barry and Valerie Richards with milestone thank you cards having given blood for the 100th and 75th time respectively. Photo: NHS Blood and Transplant

Barry and Valerie Richards with milestone thank you cards having given blood for the 100th and 75th time respectively. Photo: NHS Blood and Transplant

"Giving blood is a great excuse to take time out and relax during a busy day.

"Our daughter needed blood during a complicated childbirth so I am very pleased to say we started giving blood together as teenagers before we were married and now we are still donating together as grandparents.”

Barry, 67, a town and district councillor, said: “Giving blood is easy, enjoyable and the staff are always friendly. Knowing we could save someone’s life is very rewarding.”

Although overall blood use within the NHS has reduced thanks to improvements in clinical practice, patients still rely on nearly 6,000 people attending a donation session every day across England.

Blood is required to treat patients for a whole range of reasons, including emergencies, during surgery, in maternity and neonatal care, as well as a treatment for cancer and other diseases.

NHS Blood and Transplant donor marketing operations manager for the region Shailesh Mistry said: “We are very grateful to Barry and Valerie for their continued commitment and loyalty to blood donation.

"Reaching the 75 and 100 donation milestones is something to be proud of.

"Taking time to donate blood is one of the most selfless and generous things one can do to help others and we hope that Barry and Valerie will continue to donate as long as they are able to."

To register as a donor, find out whether there is a session coming up and book an appointment to donate, visit www.blood.co.uk or using the app NHSGiveBlood on a smartphone.

In general, as long as you are fit and healthy, weigh over seven stone 12 lbs (50kg) and are aged between 17 and 66 (up to 70 if you have given blood before) you should be able to give blood.

If you are over 70, you need to have given blood in the last two years to continue donating.

Mr Mistry added: “If you are inspired by their example, please make and keep an appointment to give blood in the next few weeks, so that you can help us save lives at Christmas.”