Lanarkshire man helps hundreds of people by donating 150 pints of blood over the years

John Airens has just turned 75 – but when it comes to giving blood, the Lanarkshire man hasn’t changed a bit since he was 20.

That was when John first rolled up his sleeves and donated for the first time, little realizing that over the years to come he would donate an astonishing 150 pints of blood.

The Scottish Blood Transfusion Service estimate that John’s donations over the years have helped over 400 people.

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He’s spent 55 years now regularly donating, with his blood type being B+, which only nine per cent of the country have.

Marking the recent occasion of his 150th donation, John told Lanarkshire Live: “I’m as dedicated to doing it as I was back then.

“It’d have been more than 150 by now but I tried to stay safe during the covid and missed three or four donations when they took place.

“People ask why I do it – it’s just a good thing to do, it’s a way of doing your bit to help others.

“It’s not something I do for a lap on the back or anything like that. It’s just because it’s the right thing to do.”

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John started donating when, aged 20, he was in the town in Glasgow and saw students fundraising for charity. He could n’t donate cash, so he decided to go and give blood as he felt he should help others-and he’s kept going back since.

He added: “My mum told me stories when I was younger about giving blood and how people desperately needed it. Even today I still find it hard to believe some of the stories you hear about giving blood and the difference it can make to people.

“It’s absolutely outstanding what a small group of people can do to help, and what you’re talking about (with donating) is just a sprinkle of blood. Yet that can help so many people.”

John lived most of his life in Cambuslang before moving to Rutherglen a few years ago.

Over the years he worked in the printing trade, the motor trade and at Ravenscraig, but continued his regular donations, with the exception of a year when he was signed off work and two periods when he returned from working in India.

He admits that he’s always encouraged when he goes to make a donation and sees younger people also stepping up to do their bit, while he also enjoys the rapport with members of the blood transfusion service (BTS).

“You see young people in there and you turn around and tell them there’s nothing to it, it’ll be very straightforward.

“It’s a great thing to do and it’s always nice when you see young people getting involved.

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“I always think that there are some people who would like to do it but can’t because of their health, so if you can hep then you should.

“There’s people from the BTS that you see there over the years, and you get talking to them. They’ll recognize you as it goes on.”

In 2016 John’s efforts were recognized by the Scottish Blood Transfusion Service at a ceremony in Glasgow City Chambers.

And he reckons it all goes back to his parents.

“I was very lucky that I was brought up the right way. I had two brilliant parents and that really helped me, just in knowing right from wrong.”

The Scottish Blood Transfusion Service are always looking for donors and more details on helping out can be found here.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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