A couple who underwent lifesaving blood transfusions within months of each other say their sons would have been orphaned if not for the help of those who give blood.
Evelyn and Ted Sherratt are now urging people to donate blood to help save more lives in the same way.
The couple, who live in Oak Avenue, were given blood within five months of each other in 1974, when they were both 24.
Ted, now 65, said: “I had had a stomach ulcer for years which we didn’t know about, and one day I just collapsed completely out of the blue.
“I was haemorrhaging so heavily I couldn’t even lift my head off the pillow.
“They had to get two ambulance crews to carry me head first down the stairs.”
The couple were living in Bury at the time, and Ted was taken to Bury General Hospital where he was given six pints of blood.
He was later told it was only his relatively young age which kept him alive.
Five months later, Evelyn was in hospital giving birth to the couple’s second son when complications arose during the removal of the afterbirth.
The young mum haemorrhaged and needed several pints of blood.
Evelyn said: “It’s an horrific feeling when you are laying on the bed. You know you are fighting for your life but you feel helpless.
“I can still picture after 40 years the person running in with my first lot of blood.”
For both Ted and Evelyn to undergo such traumatic experiences is a coincidence they are all too aware of.
At the time they had a two-year-old son, Simon, as well as newborn Glyn.
Evelyn, who worked as a paediatric occupational therapist before retirement, said: “We could both have died and left our children without parents. “I don’t know what would have happened to them.”
“Every year we celebrate being alive and thank the people that gave blood.
“You don’t realise how important it is until you need it.
“It might not seem much to the people doing it but it’s so important. We are just so grateful.
“A traumatic experience like that will always live in your mind. It can just happen so quickly; you can be just going about your daily life, and then suddenly you are fighting to stay alive for your family.”
This week is National Blood Week, and NHS Blood and Transplant has revealed that 40 per cent fewer new volunteers came forward across England and North Wales to give blood last year compared to a decade ago.
In total, 204,000 new volunteers need to come forward this year across England and North Wales to keep the nation’s blood stocks at a safe level for the future.
Regular donations are crucial to saving and improving the lives of patients with cancer, blood disorders and those suffering medical trauma or undergoing surgery.
Just 4,180 new volunteers came forward to donate blood for the first time in Lancashire last year, fewer than five per 1,000 of the estimated number of people between the ages of 17 and 70 living there.
Unfortunately, Ted and Evelyn are both unable to give blood due to screening regulations brought in in 1986, but their son Glyn is a regular donor.
And they urge others to give blood whenever possible so that others can be helped as they were.
Evelyn said: “It’s hard to express how important it is and what a good thing it is for people to do.
“It’s as important as people donating their organs.” Ted, a retired telecommunications worker, added: “You can save someone’s life just by giving a pint of blood – it’s that simple.”
Go to www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23 to find out if you’re eligible to donate, to register as a donor and book an appointment.
You can also down an app by searching ‘NHSGiveBlood’ on Android, Windows and Apple Smartphone and tablet devices.