Giving blood for the first time can be a daunting task. But the process – from walking through the door to resting with a cup of tea and a biscuit – usually takes less than an hour.

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Stocks also fall during winter because colds and flu mean less people can donate so the demand for donors is higher than ever.

Derek Carr, donor relations manager, said every donation counts.

“We have two bank holidays in December.

“We have fewer sessions because people spend more time with their families.

“Any bank holiday causes us to have a drop in stock.

“If people can’t come in before Christmas then why not book an appointment for January?”

More than 7,000 units of blood are needed every day to meet hospital demand as just 4pc of the eligible population are active blood donors.

Blood is split into three components – red cells, platelets and fresh frozen plasma.

Red cells are used to help people who have suffered a trauma, platelets are often needed for cancer patients and plasma is mostly used in childbirth and heart surgery.

“We hold between 10 and 15 sessions across Norfolk every week,” Mr Carr added.

“We encourage people to register and book and appointment.”

Around 10 staff collect 160 units of blood during a four hour session.

“You get a real buzz and within a couple of days it’s on its way to a patient,” Mr Carr added.

It is essential to book an appointment before you attend a session to save time and to ensure you are eligible to donate.

Click the link at the top right of this page to download the form or call 0300 123 23 23

If you decide to sign up to our campaign, let us know. Call Lucy Wright on 01603 772439 or lucy.wright@archant.co.uk

• GIVING SOME BLOOD IS REALLY THE LEAST I CAN DO

After his parents both needed blood transfusions, sports desk web editor Peter Raven felt that he wanted to give something back. He rolled up his sleeve and gave blood for the first time at the Jarrold Stand at Norwich City Football Club.

When I heard that our newspaper was planning a campaign aimed at signing up new blood donors I felt it was the prefect chance for me to start donating.

The chances of any of us not knowing someone who has needed blood at some point in their life is very slim – my mum had a blood transfusion while giving birth to me and has had two since then in other operations. My dad needed blood after being involved in a serious road accident in 1991. Without the generosity of blood donors, my parents wouldn’t be here today – and neither would I.

I’m not a fan of needles or blood and whenever having blood tests it’s always been difficult finding a vein. But none of those are valid excuses and I’m ashamed to admit it has taken me until the age of 32 to donate blood.

Whatever fears I had when walking into the session were quickly dispelled by the excellent staff on hand who will tell you that you’ve done the hard part – walked through the door.

I made sure I booked an appointment beforehand, something which is essential,and I wasn’t kept waiting more than five minutes.

After you’ve filled in a questionnaire, had your finger pricked for a small blood sample and set up on a bed the actual procedure of giving blood itself only takes around five to 10 minutes – no time at all. It doesn’t hurt and afterwards you are told “well done, you’ve just saved a life”. Minimum effort for the maximum reward.

Nobody is that busy that they can’t spare one hour every four months to give blood and save a life. The fact that only 4pc of those eligible to give blood actually do is, quite frankly, disgusting. Apart from any medical or religious factors there really is no reason why we shouldn’t give blood. I really hope this campaign gets people signing up for their first session. When they do, they’ll realise just how easy and rewarding it is and hopefully, like me, they’ll sign up for further sessions.

Click the link at the top right of this page to download the form or call 0300 123 23 23

If you decide to sign up to our campaign, let us know. Call Lucy Wright on 01603 772439 or lucy.wright@archant.co.uk

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