Peter joins the 100 club almost 50 years after giving his first unit of blood during an emergency in Mauritius
PUBLISHED: 06:30 01 September 2014
Peter Millington did not hesitate when he was asked to roll up his sleeve as a result of an emergency whilst working thousands of miles from home.
However, despite feeling ill after giving his first pint of blood almost 50 years ago in Mauritius, the former army man was not put off from donating again after leaving the Coldstream Guards.
The 69-year-old from Old Catton is now celebrating a landmark moment after giving his 100th unit of blood.
Most first time donors are given extra time to recover and urged to not do anything strenuous after giving blood. However, the former Guardsman had to go straight back to work after losing a pint whilst commissioned in Mauritius with Number 1 company with the Coldstream Guards in 1965.
The former driver was sent with his company to the Indian Ocean island to help keep the peace during a civil uprising ahead of its independence.
Blood donation facts and figures
• You can give blood if you are fit and healthy, weigh over 7st 12 lbs (50kg) and are aged between 17 and 66. If you are over 70, you need to have given blood in the last two years to continue donating.
• Men can give blood every 12 weeks. Women donors can give every 16 weeks.
• According to figures from NHS Blood and Transplant, the current blood stock level in England and Wales is currently at around 41,000 units, which has fallen from 56,000 in mid-April.
• A unit of blood can be used in a number of ways. Red cells are used predominantly in treatments for cancer and blood diseases, as well as for treating anaemia and in surgeries for transplants and burns. Plasma provides proteins, nutrients and a clotting agent that is vital to stop bleeding. Platelets are tiny cells used to help patients at a high risk of bleeding. They also contribute to the repair of damaged body tissue.
• Call the blood service helpline on 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk.
“We were in Port Louie police station when a man came in saying a young girl in the hospital needed blood and asked if we would donate and most of us did. That was the worst I felt after giving blood. I felt terrible and dizzy, but felt better after drinking a pint of milk. I should have sat down, but we had jobs to do,” he said.
Mr Millington said he never knew what happened to the young girl, but presumed she had recovered . He is also planning to return to Mauritius next year to mark his 70th birthday to see how the island has changed.
The former Guardsman, who was with the Coldstream Guards for three years, continued to give blood when he left the army.
Mr Millington, who worked for a local haulage company for 38 years after leaving the army, said he believed it was a “necessity” to give blood and urged others to roll up their sleeves and to also join the organ donor register.
He gave his 100th unit last week in Hellesdon, but usually donates at sessions at Norwich City Football Club.
“That is the only thing I can do to help people. I have had a good life and I am fit and healthy and I feel I want to give something back. I believe in helping out people when you can.
“I have not got a mark on my arm. The staff are so good and you only feel a little pinch,” he said.
Mr Millington, who always gives a box of chocolates to NHS Blood and Transplant staff at the end of the year, said he would continue to donate, particularly as his wife and children were not able to because of low iron counts.
“When I got to 75, I said I would like to reach 100, but you never know the older you get and I will carry on for as long as I can. I read the stories about people who need the blood and it makes you feel nice,” he said.
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