Lifesaving achievement

PUBLISHED: 09:14 07 November 2006 | UPDATED: 22:21 28 May 2010

Leonard Smith with Jennifer Verhaest and another award winner, David Walton, of Downham Market

Leonard Smith with Jennifer Verhaest and another award winner, David Walton, of Downham Market

LEONARD Smith is not simply a man in a 1,000 but even better than that- he s one in 59! For Mr Smith was among the 59 lifesavers from across East Anglia who have donated blood on at least 75 occasions. His achievement was marked during the annual donor aw

LEONARD Smith is not simply a man in a 1,000 but even better than that- he's one in 59!

For Mr Smith was among the 59 lifesavers from across East Anglia who have donated blood on at least 75 occasions.

His achievement was marked during the annual donor awards ceremony organised by the National Blood Service at Newmarket.

"The annual awards ceremony is a small token to mark the selfless life saving actions of long-term donors," said Gareth Blood of the NBS.

"These honoured donors can never truly be rewarded for their years of loyalty and dedication, some of whom have been giving blood for over 40 years.

"With each donation potentially saving up to three lives, each of the people who were receiving awards could lay claim to saving the lives of at least 225 people.

Mr Smith, 69, of High Street, Manea, received an engraved crystal plate to mark his achievement of reaching 75 donations.

He said: "My wife, Sylvia, has twice required blood, it is a vital resource. Personally I always feel much better after donating knowing that I have helped others."

Guest speaker, Miss Jennifer Verhaest, gave a heart-warming speech expressing her personal gratitude to blood donors.

She thanked donors for the six units of blood she required during five operations on her leg after an accident.

Jennifer, 17, said: "I still have a long way to go and need two further operations early next year to reconstruct my thigh. Doctors performed miracles to save my leg and I will always be thankful for that.

"Blood donors are more the unsung heroes because they give blood that saves people like me and do not expect anything in return.

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