Blood is best gift to give this Christmas, says singer Con Cluskey

CHRISTMAS is the time for giving and, after a narrow escape, local musician Con Cluskey is urging people to give blood this year.

Con, 68, of 1960s band The Bachelors, suffered a torn artery and lost three and a half litres of blood. He survived thanks to the same amount – around six pints – of donated blood.

"It was pretty terrifying," he said.

"I went to bed and when I woke up there was blood everywhere. I had no idea where it was coming from. My wife got me straight in the car and drove to the hospital."

"Calderdale Royal Hospital took me in but they didn't have the equipment to treat me so I was taken to Huddersfield Royal Infimary where they pumped blood and fluids into me."

Nationally the NHS needs 7,000 blood donations daily but only 4 per cent of the eligible population are donors.

Con, who has lived in Elland for the last 38 years, said: "I have given blood myself in the past. In fact, back at college, I used to organise the blood donation sessions. Although you used to get a free bottle of Guinness every time you donated so that might have had something to do with it!

"It isn't until something like this happens that you realise the importance of it."

Craig Taylor,of The National Blood Service, said: "Every week hospitals in West Yorkshire use 1,614 units of blood.

"We need both regular donors and new donors to continue to come forward as blood has a relatively short shelf life."

Surgeons at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary were about to remove half of Mr Cluskey's bowel before they found tears in a leg artery.

Doctors said the surgery would have been impossible if it were not for the blood transfusions he received.

It was so successful he hopes to be back on stage soon. Con's festive advice is: "Give blood as one of your gifts this Christmas and help people. Thanks to people's generosity I survived."