It's 120 not out for cricketer Ken as he calls on others to give blood too
WHEN Ken Guy was asked to donate blood on the same day he was due to play cricket, it was the needle – rather than the bat – which was sidelined.
But, at the second time of asking, there was no reason for him not to give and he became a donor in July 1959.
Fifty-three years later, Ken has given blood 120 times.
"I think, whenever you try something for the first time, you feel anxious," he said.
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"When I first started, I was going to technical college in the city centre and there was this one lad who kept trying to persuade me to give blood.
"I thought it was something not for me but, eventually, I put my name down. Then I got this postcard through asking me to give blood on a Sunday.
"I thought: 'There's no way I can play cricket and give blood' – so I chickened out.
"I was still really cautious when I did finally go but, after that, I couldn't see any reason not to go again and again. Now it's part of my routine.
"The question is: If people are prepared to accept the gift of blood to save themselves and their loved ones, why don't they consider donating it?"
Ken, of Vicarage Road, Mickleover, says he hopes sharing his experiences of becoming a first-time donor will encourage others to sign up, through the Derby Telegraph's Save a Life campaign.
We have teamed up with NHS Blood and Transplant to find 500 new donors in Derbyshire.
Ken said: "Some people ask if I think about where my blood is going when I give it but I always say it's something that doesn't really cross my mind.
"It is now just this thing that I do two or three times a year and doing it is not difficult for me.
"I'm hopeful it will do somebody some good and I just get on it."
Ken, who retired 16 years ago from International Combustion after a 42-year career, has given blood at several venues across the city – including the old Assembly Rooms, the Osmaston Road Baptist Church and Pride Park Stadium.
Ken, a volunteer at the Royal Derby Hospital, said: "Going in for the first time was very strange because they used to test blood from your ear before you donated, so everyone had cotton wool on their ears. Now it's done through the finger.
"Lots of other things have changed as well – the choice of dates to go is tremendous and you now only sit for a few minutes after giving, not lying down for 15 minutes.
"But what's not changed is how easy the process is. Some people fear their arm will go cold or they'll get pin and needles or all sorts when they give blood. Honestly, nothing like that has ever happened to me."
And Ken, who used to regularly play football, cricket and table tennis, said he would like to see ex-donors coming forward to give blood again.
He said: "People ought to think about coming back if they can. Medication is perhaps one of the main reasons people stop but my doctor actually once changed my medication so I could still give blood."
He added: "I think the amount of people who have given 50 years of service to blood donation is rare, even if many people have donated 120-plus times. I was 20 when I first gave blood so I really started a little late and could have given more by now. But I'll keep going – at least until they tell me my blood's not good enough any more!"