Meet the UK's longest serving female blood donor - who has given over 130 PINTS

·5-min read
Christine Newnham first gave blood in 1966 in Orpington (photo: SWNS)
Christine Newnham first gave blood in 1966 in Orpington (photo: SWNS)

The woman thought to be Britain's longest serving female blood donor has saved countless lives after giving 130 pints of blood over 56 years.

Christine Newnham, 80, has not missed an appointment with her local blood bank, at The Coniston Holiday Inn, Sittingbourne, Kent, since April 1966.

The retired nurse has donated three times a year since the age of 24 -racking up a staggering 130 visits.

Christine, a grandmother-of-six and great-grandmother-of-two, from Sittingbourne, said: "I want to help people -that is all I have ever wanted to do.

News Shopper: photo: SWNS
News Shopper: photo: SWNS

photo: SWNS

“I wanted to give blood to help those people in hospitals who need blood transfusions.

''I've always aimed to spend my life making people happy.

''When my little sister, Georgina, was born with learning difficulties it caused her lots of problems throughout her whole life.

''i was just a child myself but it broke my heart.

''At the time everyone was pushing people to donate blood so I went along and gave blood for the first time.

''I felt useful afterwards and I haven't looked back from there."

Christine first gave blood in April 1966 at Green Street Green Medical Centre in Orpington, South East London, and quickly became hooked.

News Shopper: photo: SWNS
News Shopper: photo: SWNS

photo: SWNS

She now donates as often as possible- usually three times a year- at her local bank, The Coniston Hotel.

Christine - who has a son, Paul Newnham, 52, a mechanic - said: "I was a nurse so needles never bothered me.

“I was happy to give blood. It made me really happy as I just want to save lives.

“It's very simple to do and it doesn’t take up much of your time so why wouldn’t I?

''I've persuaded my son over the years to give blood too.

''He donates as much as he can.

“I’ve also met so many people at the donor centre, I have so many friends there now I can’t keep up."

News Shopper: photo: SWNS
News Shopper: photo: SWNS

photo: SWNS

Christine has seen the first-hand benefits of giving blood after a handful of close family members have fallen ill and needed blood transfusions.

She said: ''When my daughter-in-law's dad became sick with a rare type of leukaemia, he needed lots of transfusions.

''It made me proud to think that people like me giving blood extended his life so he could say a proper goodbye to his family.

''He was given more time with us all and it was all down to blood donations, it's an amazing thing.''

Christine prides herself on being in 'good health' - taking no medication and not visiting the GP in over four years.

She has two rescue cats, Elvis, nine, and Bella, eight and is a doting grandmother to her grandchildren.

News Shopper: photo: SWNS
News Shopper: photo: SWNS

photo: SWNS

Daughter-in-law Maria Newnham, 56, who works in hospitality, said: “She is just amazing. Christine only ever wants to help others.

“She is the kindest and most generous person I have ever met.

“The grandkids love her, and she never ever complains.

“She had a hip replacement two years ago and she did not complain once.

''She just drank as much water as she could so she could recover and get back home to her cats.

“I have never met a stronger woman.''

The cat lover - who was married to Eddie Gordon Newnham, 82, for 57 years until he passed away from an aneurysm in November 2018 - is passionate about raising awareness about blood donation.

Christine explained: ''It takes less than an hour to give blood and they're always so kind.

"You get a biscuit and a cup of tea afterwards too.

''It doesn’t hurt at all.

''It’s only a scratch and you don’t feel much.

‘'It allows me to do my part and help save people’s lives, it keeps me going knowing I'm still helping people even at my age.

‘'I once had two women approach me in the blood bank who thanked me for saving their lives.

''I was shocked and tried to explain it could have been anyone's ​blood, but they just kept thanking me.

'‘It makes me cry every time I think about it.

''We just don’t realise how much it means to some people.

''It's important that people realise, blood donation can be the difference between life and death or someone's father having two hours or two weeks to say goodbye to family and friends.''

Chrisine - who sadly lost her sister, Georgina Webb, 76, to Covid a year ago - has since been urging people to stay safe and do what they can to help stay happy and healthy.

Blood donation is quick and easy to book online. The average person will donate about a pint of blood for every visit.

The most blood donated by a single person is veteran donor Fred Brailey, also in his 80s has given 135 times - only five pints more than Christine.

The widower said: ''You should give blood because you are saving someone’s life.

‘'In the long run you won’t feel anything, but it will be helping so many families in ways you couldn’t imagine.''

Blood Donation UK have confirmed Christine is one of the longest serving donors but due to the length of her service, paper record keeping makes it very hard for them to give an exact position for her.

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