SHELLEY parish councillor Malcolm Macdonald has given more than an armful of blood over the years.
In fact, the late comedian Tony Hancock would have been alarmed by just how much.
But now, after 136 ‘pints’, he has given his last drop.
Clr Macdonald is 70 this September, which means he is no longer permitted to give blood – a pity since he has such positive memories about the experience.
He recalled: “My first donation, at 18, was a cop-out! Having washed up 900 plates at RAF Wilmslow in the morning myself and fellow conscripts similarly occupied on ‘fatigues’ were offered the opportunity to be excused duties for the day, provided we donated blood!
“That was the start and over the next 52 years donating blood has become a way of life.
“I’ve attended at least 14 venues throughout the country. One was at the old Wembley Stadium when I worked in an office in Olympic Way.
“The National Blood Service staff have always been cheerful and sociable.
“I have enjoyed many a social chit-chat over a cup of tea, although for a time a can of Guinness was an agreeable alternative– good for iron replacement!”
Clr Macdonald has enjoyed socialising with many colourful characters that giving blood led him to meeting, including Carry On star Kenneth Williams.
He met the comic actor at an awards event for honour donors, where Williams also received an accolade for giving blood.
Clr Macdonald also knows Huddersfield eccentric Jake Mangel-Wurzel well, after meeting him while giving blood.
He said: “He regularly brings an abundance of humour into a situation which can otherwise seem, well, a bit ‘clinical’!”
Clr Macdonald was recognised for his excellent commitment to the service in 2002, when he was presented with an award for giving 120 units of blood.
People wanting to give blood are often put off because they are fearful or unsure of the procedure.
Comic legend Tony Hancock best encapsulated this in his iconic sketch The Blood Donor.
In the sketch Hancock decides to give blood, but realises there’s more to the process than he realised, resulting in the famous lines: “A pint? Why, that’s very nearly an armful!” and the doctor’s response: “You won't have an empty arm... or an empty anything!’’
But Clr Macdonald says it is vital to overcome such fears and give blood.
He said: “We all know someone who has received a blood transfusion. My mother and father both did.
“But it is when you know somebody like 26-year-old Examiner reporter Adrian Sudbury, who is suffering from leukaemia, that it hits home.
“I have known Adrian since he started working for the Express and Chronicle a few years ago.
“I have spoken to him regularly when reporting events in Shelley and for Kirkburton Parish Council.
“There is always someone, somewhere who needs blood, maybe even ourselves at some time in our lives.
“Throughout my life I have been blessed with good health and I have felt privileged to be able to donate.
“Donating is the celebration of a healthy lifestyle. They say ‘blood donors love life’. I’ll settle for that.”
According to the National Blood Service hospitals in Yorkshire need 600 units of blood every day to help people with serious blood disorders and cancers and to provide for general surgery.
Hospitals in Huddersfield need over 50 units a day.
Eight thousand units per day are required, but only 5% of the UK population give blood.
To be a blood donor you need to be in good health, aged between 17 and 60, and weigh more than 7st 12lb.
For more information about donor sessions call the national helpline on 0845 7711 711 or visit www.blood.co.uk