WHEN it comes to donating blood, Ruth Cairns and Miriam Nicholls are a dynamic duo.

The two Basingstoke women have donated around 150 pints of blood between them in the last five decades.

Ruth and Miriam – who have each received an Emerald award for 75 donations – have given an incredible 166 units of blood since they started donating as young women, making them two of the most prolific donors in the borough.

The friends both have the blood type O negative – so-called ‘super blood’ which can be transfused into any patient regardless of their own blood type.

It is used in over a tenth of hospital procedures but is in limited supply as only seven per cent of the population have the blood type.

Ruth, of Kempshott, who has made 87 donations, said it is vital for everyone to give blood if they are able to. The 68-year-old said she will continue to donate for as long as she physically can.

Ruth, a former biology teacher, said: “You only need to give up an hour of your time every four months. It doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t cost you anything and you know that it’s doing a lot of good.

“Things have changed a lot since I first donated blood when I was 18. It’s now so easy to donate. We used to have to lie on camp beds and the blood was put into glass bottles.”

Miriam, 63, of Coombehurst Drive, Cranbourne, has so far donated 79 units since she was 24.

She said: “When I was living in New Zealand, I received a phone call telling me that a child needed blood and asking me to donate, which I did. It was a real reminder of how important it is that stocks of blood are kept up.”

Most people aged 17 to 65, for first-time donors, can give blood if they weigh at least 7st 12lb. Male donors can give blood every 12 weeks and female donors can give every 16 weeks.

To register and become a blood donor, visit secure.blood.co.uk/enrol.asp or call 0300 123 23 23.