PEOPLE from Burton and South Derbyshire are being urged to give the greatest gift of all this Christmas - a donation of blood.
The NHS Blood and Transplant service are asking people in both areas to step forward and donate so patients whose lives depend on blood transfusions get what they need over the festive period.
This comes at a time when the Mail is running its Take Five Minutes campaign in a bid to boost blood donor numbers.
In the past few years, November and December have been typically a challenging time for blood stocks in the area.
Holly Mason, NHS Blood and Transplant’s lead donor relations manager for the area, said: “This is an extremely challenging time of year for us as we need to make sure that hospitals are supplied with the blood they need to treat patients over the Christmas holidays.
“So while people are in a generous frame of mind, we’re asking that they don’t forget those whose must-have gift is blood.
“Donating doesn’t cost a penny and saves lives, meaning many more children and adults can spend precious time with their families over Christmas.
“Whether you’re a regular blood, or are new to donating, you can make a real difference.
“So please make an appointment now to save lives.”
A unit of blood has a shelf life of 35 days.
Hospitals in England and North Wales need around 7,000 units of blood every day to treat patients.
Besides being crucial to care in accident and emergency, blood is used to treat patients with cancer, blood disorders like sickle cell as well as women needing blood during childbirth.
Burton teacher Katherine Sinfield, who is the centre of the Mail’s campaign, has been the recipient of blood donations during her battle with cancer.
A spokesman for the service said: “If you’re 17 and over and in general good health, visit www.blood.co.uk or call 03001 232323 to find a session in the area near you to go and give blood.”