A man who has donated blood more than 250 times has been honoured at an awards ceremony.

James Woolston, 74, a retired design engineer from Borehamwood, was recognised for achieving over 250 blood and platelet donations, having first donated 44 years ago.

Mr Woolston was recognised alongside 65 other donors, who have collectively saved and improved the lives of up to 24,000 patients, at an event in Hammersmith, London, on January 12.

Blood and platelet donations are a vital part of treatment for so many patients.

Platelets are very small cells. They work with the clotting factors in plasma to form a mesh "plug" to stop or prevent bleeding.

Most platelet donations are given to patients who are unable to make enough platelets in their bone marrow. For example, patients with leukaemia or other cancers may have too few platelets as the result of their disease or treatment.

One unit of blood donated can save or improve the lives of up to three people, so 100 donations has potentially helped save the lives of up to 300 patients in hospitals through donating blood.

Out of all the people who give blood, just one in a hundred will reach 100 donations.

Mr Woolston, whose began donating platelets six years ago, said: “I was persuaded to become a blood donor fifty years ago when I joined in with some colleagues who went to donate blood. If you are lucky to be fit and healthy it is a very worthwhile thing to do.

“It is painless and only takes an hour of your time; you should be proud to be a part of it and to be saving people’s lives.”

To find out more register to become a blood donor, visit www.blood.co.uk