IF HE could turn back the clock, then he would have given blood if he could.
But now Aleck Butcher, 56, relies upon the generous donations of others to survive.
Mr Butcher, of Drayton, suffers from anaemia.
He said: ‘I was first admitted to Queen Alexandra Hospital five years ago because my iron levels had dropped dramatically.
‘In the first week I had four units of blood, was discharged, but then had to have two more units three days later.
‘The problem is my condition does deteriorate.
‘I am on iron tablets, but it doesn’t seem to be getting absorbed.
‘This means oxygen isn’t carried out my body and I get tired very quickly.
‘So I still have to go in to hospital to have transfusions.’
Mr Butcher, a freelance photographer, is urging people to donate blood to help others.
‘I spent 23 years in the navy and travelled a lot and were told we were working blood banks,’ added Mr Butcher.
‘I always thought I was too busy to donate blood, yet now I am a recipient.
‘I live because of other people’s generosity.
‘I would love to help others in the same way, but now I can’t.
‘For those who can, please donate.’
Mr Butcher is backing The News’ Give Blood This Christmas campaign.
We’re working with NHS Blood and Transplant to get 200 new donors to sign the register.
The trust wants to ensure there is enough blood stock for the future.
As reported in The News, around 40 per cent of all donors in England and Wales fall into the 17 to 24-year-old bracket, but this has been falling steadily by 20 per cent over a decade.
And this year there has been a 50 per cent drop in 17 and 18-year-olds registering to donate compared to last year.