Teacher’s lessons in life-saving

LIFESAVERS: Coun Derek Hardcastle presents awards to Diane McConnell and John Calvert
LIFESAVERS: Coun Derek Hardcastle presents awards to Diane McConnell and John Calvert
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a DEPUTY headteacher from a Spen school was among two local people honoured for rolling up their sleeves to help save lives.

Diane McConnell, of Spen Valley Sports College, and John Calvert, who also lives in Spen, were invited to an awards ceremony at the Barceló Majestic Hotel in Harrogate after each giving 75 blood donations.

They both received a crystal plate for reaching the milestone — only three per cent of all blood donors manage to donate 75 times.

Diane, who has run special assemblies at her school to promote blood and organ donation, said: “Giving blood is a quick and painless way of helping others.

“Having my own children made me want to donate blood, as I would like to think they would always have access to blood if they needed it.”

Each blood donation can potentially save the lives of up to three people so Diane and John could each have helped save the lives of up to 225 patients in local hospitals.

The awards were presented by Kirkburton councillor Coun Derek Hardcastle, who knows only too well the importance of donating blood. His son, Joshua, needed several transfusions up to the age of two when he had corrective heart surgery.

He is now a fit and healthy 23-year-old, who is living and working in France. Derek himself has also donated over 75 units of blood.

Darren Bowen, from the National Blood Service, praised Diane and John and urged people to follow their example.

“All our donors are special, but it is a pleasure to thank our dedicated donors in this way,” he said.

“They continue to make time to donate, come rain or shine and really are the lifeblood of our service. We are approaching the time of year when blood stocks tend to dip so it is vital that people come to donate regularly to make sure that we can meet hospital demands.”

Anyone aged over 17, weighing more than 7st 12lbs and in general good health can become a blood donor.

For details of sessions in your area or to book an appointment call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk.