Knebworth dad’s Father’s Day gift - his 50th pint of blood to help others, as his own son looks on
- Credit: Archant
Most dads expect a little gift on Father’s Day – but on Sunday Martyn Batty wasn’t looking to be on the receiving end.
That’s because 42-year-old Martyn chose that day to make his 50th donation of blood.
Martyn – father to sons Jared, four, and two-year-old Lucien – was able to roll up his arm for the landmark donation because he’s a regular at a permanent North London blood donor centre near where he once lived.
And he hopes that both his children will follow his example when they grow up – both have already been registered on the national organ donor list.
Heating engineer Martyn, who works for social landlord Sanctuary Housing, donates blood every 10 weeks in Edgware – his mum was a regular donor, too, but only about three per cent of the population donates regularly.
Martyn said: “I started donating in my mid 20s and just carried on because I wanted to do something that was helpful to other people. I remember my mum telling me about donating when I was a child.
“My youngest, Lucien, doesn`t really understand what I am doing, but Jared is more aware and asks about it. Hopefully, seeing me doing this on a regular basis, donating will become natural to him.”
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Travelling to the donor centre in Edgware is not always easy for Martyn, but once he gets there it is only an hour out of his time – a price he is willing to pay to help children in need.
Martyn said: “After the first donation I felt that I have actually done something worthwhile, so I just carried on. I plan to do this for as long as I can.”
Wife Olwen, also a regular donor in the past but now excused for health reasons, said: “I want him to know how much we love him and how very proud we are of him. It’s such a selfless act that he does on a regular basis, taking the time to travel down to Edgware.
“The centre has recently changed its opening times and now holds Sunday sessions, which is great because we can all go down and our sons get to see their daddy ‘giving his blood to the poorly children’.
“By incorporating it into their everyday lives we are hoping they won’t be nervous or scared to do it in the future.
“Blood donation is so important because it’s something that is always in high demand, and there is always a need for more.
“It seems to be a thing that people think about doing but never quite get around doing it.
“It’s sad that more people don’t donate – it’s an hour out of their lives and for the person receiving it it’s everything. Why would you not want to do that?
“A few people I know, including Martyn and I, do not feel completely comfortable at the pop-up donor sessions. They are amazing, but we have always felt more comfortable at a permanent centre.
“I’ve often wondered why they don’t have a blood donor centre at every hospital, but I suppose that costs too much money and they do the best they can.”
There are 24 NHS permanent centres across England including one in Luton in St George’s Square in the town centre, and one in Cambridge on Long Road.
If you want to become a blood donor you can call 0300 123 2323 or book an appointment on www.blood.co.uk.