Redbridge residents come out in force to give blood

THE ICY weather may have set in, but the cold has not put a freeze on blood donations in the borough.

Redbridge’s multi-ethnic community are being urged to continue giving blood, despite the chill, and the turn out at Redbridge Town Hall on Thursday proved age and ethnicity were no barrier for donations.

Ninety-eight donors came for the seven minute session, which NHS Blood and Transplant urge people to do three times a year.

The winter season is traditionally when stocks fall to their lowest levels, this is thought to be down to bad weather making people stay indoors and people falling ill with colds and flu.

Six beds were set up in a circle in the centre of the town hall, where donors lay while their arms are prepared with antiseptic, before they grip a piece of tissue and the process begins.

Nurse Desni Martin, who has been the head nurse during blood donation sessions explained that Ilford had some of the most loyal donors she experienced in her job.

“Ilford is unique, there is a wide range of ages and ethnicities here, and you see lots of the same faces time after time. “We are always overwhelmed by the number of Asian people who want to give blood, but we are constantly urging the African and Caribbean communities, many of whom have the rarer blood type AB, to come forward.”

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Ms Martin added some people are disappointed by their ineligibility to give blood. “We have to turn many people away, for example if they have been in a country with the Malaria bug in the past six months, and if they themselves have received blood, due to the risk of the incurable brain disease variant CJD, which cannot be detected with our tests.”

In order to give blood you must be aged between 17 and 65, weighing at least 7 stone 12lbs, and in good health.

To book an appointment, call the Donor Line on 03001232323, or visit

The next donating session in the borough is in Hainault Forest Community Association in Manford Way, Chigwell, next Thursday from 2pm to 7.30pm.