Letters to vanish in global blood donor drive

The letters A, B and O are to disappear from famous landmarks across the world as part of a campaign encouraging people to become blood donors.

The letters A, B and O have vanished from some notable places. Picture: PA
The letters A, B and O have vanished from some notable places. Picture: PA

Signage for the home of British television and film, Bafta, as well as Abbey Road and the Giant’s Causeway will forgo the letters as part of the campaign.

Signs for Llanfairpwllgwyngyll train station in North Wales will also see the letters of the main blood groups disappear.

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Overseas, Table Mountain in South Africa will become “Tle Muntin” and Bondi Beach in Australia will also adapt its name.

A large number of businesses and organisations including Microsoft, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, Boots and Manchester City Football Club have also signed up to take part.

From Tuesday, the week-long Missing Type campaign will aim to encourage people to become blood donors after figures revealed a dip in numbers.

The number of people becoming donors and giving blood for the first time in England decreased by 24.4% in 2015 compared to 2005.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHS BT) is working with donor organisations across 21 countries to highlight the importance of new donors coming forward.

Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland missing a few letters. Picture: PA

Mike Stredder, director of blood donation at NHS BT, said: “Despite overall blood use in hospitals declining, we need more young donors to safeguard blood donation for future generations. And it’s vital the blood donor community reflects the diversity of the population because blood types vary across communities and patients need well-matched blood.

“Don’t worry if you’ve never given blood before and don’t know what blood group you are - you find out shortly after your first donation. What’s important is that you register as a donor and book your first appointment to donate. We particularly need new A negative and O negative donors, and people willing to become dedicated platelet donors.”

In England, health officials are trying to raise particular awareness of the need for more young blood donors and more black and Asian donors.

Just 0.64% of donors were from black communities last year, NHS BT said, and only 11% of blood donors on the register are aged between 17 and 24.

Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland missing a few letters. Picture: PA

Former EastEnders actor Joivan Wade, 23, is backing the campaign.

He said: “I was watching a play at Hackney Empire and during the break an organisation called ACLT (a charity which aims to increase the number of ethnic minorities on the UK stem cell, blood and organ donor registers) came on the stage and gave a talk and I was really touched.

“I contacted the charity and said I’d like to help in any way that I could.

“At the time I hadn’t given blood, I didn’t know what my blood group was.

“A big thing that made me want to do it was, if I was in the situation where I needed blood I would want people to come forward.

“I want to spread more awareness so we can be at a point where more black people are giving blood and becoming donors.”

• For more information visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.