Bolton men are being asked to become "extraordinary" by signing up to donate blood.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is running a national campaign to get more men donating blood because of a serious imbalance in the gender of new donors.

In 2019 only 41 per cent of new donors in the borough were men, a reflection of a wider national trend.

Mike Stredder, the head of donor recruitment for NHSBT, said: “All our donors are amazing. But we need more men to start donating blood in Bolton during the New Year.

"Men’s blood can be used in extraordinary, lifesaving ways, but we don’t have enough new male donors coming forward.

"This is not about recruiting as many donors as possible – it’s about getting the right gender mix.

“If you can’t find an appointment right away don’t worry – your blood will do extraordinary things if you donate in a few weeks instead.”

Until the end of November, 234 women had joined the donation register and started giving blood, with only 162 men doing the same.

Donations from men are vital as some transfusions can only be completed with blood from men.

Without more men starting to give blood, there is a concern that blood stocks will be put under increasing pressure in future years.

NHSBT has named Bolton as one of the target areas for new male donors, aiming for 48 per cent of all new donors to be men during 2020.

Men are valuable donors for two main reasons – higher iron levels and fewer antibodies.

Each time a man tries to donate, they're less likely to be deferred for low haemoglobin levels.

This allows NHSBT to maintain a strong donorbase for those needing transfusions.

Women will often produce antibodies during pregnancy, even during short pregnancies they don’t even know about.

Antibodies are part of the body’s defence system and they make transfusions more difficult.

This means that only blood from men is used for some specialist transfusions and blood products, such as complete blood transfusions for newborn babies.

NHSBT also gets 93 per cent of its platelets, mostly used to reduce internal bleeding in cancer patients, and plasma, used for people who've had massive blood loss, from male donors.

The organisation has 23 permanent donor centres, with mobile teams collecting blood at community venues across the country.

Over 1.4 million units of blood need to be collected each year to meet the needs of patients across England, with 135,000 new donors each year needed to replace those who stop donating.

Visit to become a donor.