Double landmark for Sheringham blood donor
An active grandfather is urging people to give blood following his 100th donation in 40 years.
Mike Holmes, 70, from Clover Drive in Upper Sheringham, said blood stocks were down nationally.
As well as celebrating the donation of his 100th pint this week, 2015 is a landmark year for the former bank manager.
Mr Holmes - who moved to Upper Sheringham 10 years ago - is retiring this year as a Norfolk County Football Association referee after a decade with the association.
He had completed 28 years as a referee of adult men's football matches for the Essex Senior League immediately before that.
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Mr Holmes, who has two children and four grandchildren, said: 'I'm proud I have managed to keep donating blood. I feel I have done something for society. I feel good about reaching the 100th pint landmark. It means I have helped some people along the way.
'There are danger signals, that if there was an epidemic where lots of blood was needed there would be an issue in getting it. Stocks are generally down 30-40pc compared to 10 years ago.
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'There has never been a more urgent need to donate blood because stocks are diminishing.'
He believed the main reason behind the low supply was because people were worried about having a needle stuck into them.
'It really is a painless exercise. It is no different to getting a cut in your finger or a thorn in the arm,' Mr Holmes added.
The referee donated his first pint when he was in his late 20s while working in the city of London for Barclays bank.
'There was a shortage of blood at the time and I responded to a plea for donors.'
He donated a pint three times a year up until 2000 when regulations changed and men could donate a pint up to four times a year, which Mr Holmes has done.
He wants to continue donating blood for another five years.
'The National Blood Service will happily take blood from you beyond 70 if you are healthy and fit.'
One way Mr Holmes keeps active is running five miles a week as a referee for Anglian Combination League football matches across Norfolk.
He is giving it up this season, which he admitted would be difficult.
'I have made a lot of friends and enjoyed it immensely.'
His favourite grounds are Wells and Holt.