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Former Army General rolls up his sleeve ahead of Blood Donor Day

A newly retired Army General has rolled up his sleeve in support of blood donation, ahead of World Blood Donor Day.

Former Lieutenant General Sir Ty Urch was the United Kingdom’s Standing Joint Commander and the British Army’s Blood Champion.

Before his recent retirement, General Urch took an hour out of his busy schedule to go along to the Princes Hall in Aldershot where he was one of 116 donors that day who visited to give blood. 

Speaking of his role he said: “I am the Army’s Blood Champion trying to pass the message across and get as many soldiers and officers in the British Army to come and give blood;  I can’t expect them to do that if I don’t do it myself.”

It is phenomenally important as a nation and you just have to see the quantities of blood needed in any NHS hospital Lieutenant General (Ret'd) Sir Ty Urch

As the United Kingdom’s Standing Joint Commander, General Urch was charged with delivering the UK’s military response during times of national crisis. His experience over the last 18 months commanding and directing Operation Rescript, the military’s contribution to the UK’s fight against Covid-19, reinforced his knowledge of the importance of blood donation.

“It is phenomenally important as a nation and you just have to see the quantities of blood needed in any NHS hospital up and down the country. As military people, as soldiers it absolutely and genuinely saves lives when we are away on operations – not only is it a really good thing to do for society, but it is a force for good when we go away on tour and operations.”

“I personally have never required the need for blood, but being a commander on operations, many of my soldiers have required blood either in theatre where they are serving or when they have returned to the United Kingdom to Birmingham (the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine where many Armed Forces personnel are treated for injuries sustained whilst on operations). You can see the end product and you can see your soldiers getting fit and well again as a result of the good nature of people that are donating blood nationwide.”

It comes as the UK marks ‘World Blood Donor Day’ to raise public awareness of the need and importance spending 45 minutes or so to donate blood that could end up saving someone’s life.

As well as maintaining stocks of all blood types, it is vital for the UK to have donors from a wide ethnic background so as to treat specific diseases and conditions that affect particular ethnic groups, such as sickle cell anaemia.

Speaking of giving blood in Aldershot’s Princes Hall, he went on to say;

“It has been a great turn out and the experience has been absolutely first class from start to finish. As the Standing Joint Commander I have been leading the military’s response in support of the NHS and the Department for Health and Social Care and I never cease to be amazed at how remarkable our doctors, nurses and admin staff are and here is no different: I have lost count of all the messages and phone calls just to make sure that I was still coming, that I knew my slot. It has been perfect here straight in, a few questionnaires brilliantly well done. There should be a good few pints in there from everybody that’s been going through today and from me 470ml – nearly an armful!”

Blood donors can now track by App to see where their blood goes, and which hospital is using it.

You can register to be a donor and find all the information on where and how to give blood by visiting www.blood.co.uk