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An urgent appeal has been launched to attract more donors as recent figures show a sharp reduction in the number of young Londoners giving blood.

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Just 14,302 people aged 17-24 have registered with NHS Blood and Transplant so far this year - meaning 2012 is likely to be the lowest for registrations in the last five years.

Since 2007, the number of donors has gone no lower than 16,000, peaking at 20,227 in 2009, and falling back to 18,121 one year later.

People aged 17-24 account for 40 per cent of all new donors each year. New registrations are needed every year to replace those who drop out of the system.

So far this year 2,156 17 and 18-year-olds have come forward - but this time last year the number stood at more than 2,500.

Jon Latham, from the NHSBT, said: “The number of young people donating has been falling for the last decade but this year there’s been a sharp drop and we now need 100,000 donors to sign up in the next 100 days to start addressing the shortfall.

“We welcome new donors of any age, but a failure to boost the number of young donors now will put a strain on the blood service in the years to come.”

Hospitals across England need 7,000 units of blood every day and each unit is said to save or improve the lives of up to three people. Over a lifetime, some blood donors help more than 500 people through their donations.

T-shirts, created by the designer Wayne Hemingway will be made available on the NHSBT Twitter page @GiveBloodNHS from Monday.

To find out if you are eligible to become a blood donor and make a date to donate, visit www.blood.co.uk or call us on 0300 123 23 23.

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