Loyal blood and platelet donors were honoured at a special awards ceremony.

NHS Blood and Transplant recognised 66 donors from London who donated 6,000 units of blood and 2,000 units of platelets, which would mean saving and improving the lives of up to 24,000 patients collectively.

Debra Green, 57, from Edgware, started donating blood when she was at school in the upper 6th.

She said: ‘Whilst at school one of the pupils in my class started a personal campaign to get the whole year to donate.

"I find donating blood a sociable and enjoyable experience knowing that you are helping others.

"It is always a very friendly community atmosphere and at the Edgware Donor centre and the donor carers are wonderful."

Commemorative medals were presented to eleven blood donors from north London who had made 100 or more blood donations each, and one donor who had made 250 platelet donations.

One unit of blood can save or improve the lives of up to three people.

Steve Mitchell, 58, from Potters Lane, Barnet, has been a blood donor for 40 years donating more than100 units of blood.

He said: "As a member of the Barnet Rotary Club we went down together to a donation session. By donating you are doing your bit and hopefully ensuring that when you or a family should need it blood will be available."

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

Visit www.blood.co.uk or call the donor line on 0300 123 23 23 for more information.