Wiltshire blood donors who have been giving regularly for most of their lives have called on others to roll up their sleeves and join in the fight to save lives.

Around 30 local people who have given 75 or 100 donations were recognised at a presentation ceremony at the Manor House Hotel in Castle Combe last Thursday.

They had already received badges and certificates celebrating the landmarks but, following a lunch at the country club, they each received a trophy from someone who has more reason that most to thank blood donors.

Rebecca Sacco, from Bath, told the group how she nearly died after her first child had to be delivered by caesarean section at the Royal United Hospital, Bath, two years ago. After the delivery she continued to bleed profusely and it was only after lengthy intervention, including numerous blood transfusions, that she was saved.

She said: “I know that I owe my life to blood donors. Sadly, because I have received a blood transfusion, I am not permitted to give blood, so this is the best way I know of thanking you all for the good that you do.”

Bob Davies, senior donor relations manager for the south of England, said: “The percentage of the population who regularly give blood is continuing to drop and is currently just over four per cent.

“Yet the demand for blood and blood products in the NHS continues and we are always on the lookout for more donors.”

Among those receiving awards for giving 100 donations of blood was Bernard Fox from Elm Tree Gardens, Devizes, who gave his first donation in April 1962. The former engineer at Westinghouse in Chippenham said: “I came from a family of blood donors so it was only natural for me to become a donor as well.

“When my wife and I got back from the presentation my son rang up and told me my granddaughter had just signed up to become a donor, so that’s four generations of our family.”

Former Devizes coal merchant Ken Chivers received his award for 75 donations. He said: “It’s a small price to pay to give someone else the chance of life. My only regret is I didn’t start earlier. I started when I was 28 and I could have started ten years before.”

Anyone interested in becoming a blood donor can turn up at the next session in their area. For details go to www.blood.co.uk