Readers of the EDP were today praised for answering our call and helping to save or improve the lives of at least 300 people in just over a week.

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As part of our New Blood campaign, launched last Monday, we want to encourage 750 new donors in the region to commit to giving blood this December.

And in the first nine days of the campaign a fantastic 319 people have already committed to give for the first time.

Today, Derek Carr, lead donor relations manager for NHS Blood and Transplant in the east of England region, praised the public for their efforts. He said: “We have seen a brilliant response to the New Blood, Help Save a Life This Christmas campaign so far – 300 new donors in nine days is a huge leap towards our challenging target.

“Thank you to everyone who has signed up and pledged to give blood – you have just made the first step in giving the gift of life. We are also grateful to all those donors who have come forward and donated this month.”

But today’s early success is just the start. We want 750 new donors to commit to giving blood by the end of the month.

The campaign, which is being run in conjunction with NHS Blood and Transplant, is needed as blood stocks fall during the winter months, when people are busy preparing for Christmas and enjoying the bank holidays.

Each one of the new donors who go along to their local donation session and give blood will then be able to walk away with the satisfaction of knowing their donation could save a life.

However, each donation can potentially save the lives of up to three people.

It has been a great start to the campaign but we need even more readers to take the first step and sign up to be a blood donor.

Just 4pc of the country’s eligible population are active blood donors and to meet the demand for blood more than 7,000 donations are needed every day of the year.

Mr Carr continued: “Whether you are a new donor or a regular donor your gift of life has helped to ensure blood stocks are healthy as we move towards the festive period.

“However, we still need hundreds more people to follow this example and pledge to roll your sleeves up. The campaign is all about making sure we have enough donors in the future so please sign up - even if you are pledging to give a donation next month we still need you to sign up now.”

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

If you have questions about giving blood, go along to The Forum tomorrow between 9am and 4pm, to speak to NHS Blood and Transplant staff, who will be on a recruitment drive for the New Blood campaign.

- To register as a blood donor, download the form at the top-right of this page.

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