Hollyoaks stars and designer Wayne Hemingway MBE are supporting NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) in their appeal to recruit vital new blood donors.
NHSBT wants to recruit 100,000 new donors in the next 100 days to protect future blood stocks. Every year 225,000 new donors are needed to replace existing donors who drop out of the system. This year, the need is more urgent because there has been a dramatic decline in the number of younger donors signing up.
Hollyoaks stars including Jorgie Porter have pledged their support for the appeal by modelling limited edition 'Blood Sister' and 'Blood Brother' t-shirts created by Red or Dead founder Wayne Hemingway.
The service says young people are vital, 40% of new donors are aged between 17 and 24, but this number has been declining. This year there was a 50% drop in the number of donors aged between 17 and 18.
NHSBT spokesperson, Jon Latham, 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."
Actress Jorgie Porter said:
"I really wanted to support this appeal because giving blood is such an amazing thing to do. Blood isn't just needed when people have accidents - it's also used to help treat health conditions including cancer and long term illnesses and in maternity care. "If someone you loved needed blood you'd want it to be there, so if you can donate then please do."
Hospitals across England need 7,000 units of blood every day and each unit saves or improves the lives of up to three people. Over a lifetime, some blood donors help more than 500 people through their donations.