AN act of kindness that began more than 50 years ago has seen a community stalwart become one of a select few on a special list of blood donors.
Arthur Kennedy, who lives in Linden Road, Barton under Needwood, smiled as he donated his 120th pint of blood during a regular session held at Barton Village Hall.
His milestone achievement is made even more impressive after it was revealed that he is just one of 1,500 people in the whole country donating blood at the age of 76.
The parish councillor and chairman of Barton Civic Society told the Mail: “It all began way back in 1960 when my wife was one of the first to have an operation at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Birmingham, to mend a hole that had been found in her heart.
“This made me want to give blood as they used a lot to help her, so I decided that I waned to give something back.”
Mr Kennedy went on to speak about how things have changed since he started to give blood.
He said: “You used to be only allowed to give twice a year and then it moved up to three and I always did it every single time that I was allowed to.
“Then at 70 I was forced to stop due to rule changes.
“However, only 12 months later, a decision was made that if you were fit and healthy you could give blood past that age.
“I was overjoyed to learn that I could start again and decided to do so at once.
“Other things that have changed is the fact that the blood used to go into a glass jar whereas now it is placed in these fancy plastic packets.
“One of the better improvements is that when you donate now you lie on a bed/chair, which is a wonderful addition to the process.”
Despite reaching the major milestone, Mr Kennedy has no plans to stop and has also urged others to follow in his footsteps.
He said: “As long as I am fit and healthy, I will carry on giving blood for the foreseeable future.
“It helps so many people and, more than that, it actually saves people’s lives.
“I would urge anyone who does not do it to register and make their way to a donation session and donate.
“It was one of the best things I have ever done and is so worthwhile.”