A campaign to help make up a shortfall in new blood donors called 100,000 New Donors in 100 Days has been hailed a great success after the target was smashed two weeks early.

People came forward in their thousands to support the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) campaign, which was launched following a dramatic decline in the number of younger donors signing up in 2012.

A total of 1,590 donors from Wiltshire stepped forward in the run-up to Valentine’s Day, joining 119,907 who registered across England and North Wales. The new donors will help to ensure future blood stocks are protected.

Jon Latham, NHSBT spokesman, said: “We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported the campaign. It is fantastic that we exceeded the target and people signed up with such enthusiasm. Hopefully any new registrants who haven’t got around to donating will do so soon.”

Young people are vital to the blood service, with 17 to 24-year-olds accounting for around 40 per cent of new donors each year.

Anyone aged between 17 and 65, weighing more than 50kg (seven stone, 12lbs) and in general good health could potentially start saving lives by becoming a blood donor.

There is no upper age limit for people who have donated in the past two years.

To find out if you are eligible to become a blood donor and make a date to donate, visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.