BLOOD donors got to roll up their sleeves in state-of-the-art facilities yesterday with the opening of the new Tamworth Blood Donor Centre at the Longyard.
The centre has been purpose-built for blood collection and attracted at least 25 whole blood donors in its first afternoon.
It has 10 chairs, up from six at the old centre, an extra interview room, a large refreshment and waiting area, a spacious, open-plan design and more parking.
There are also photos and stories of local blood recipients on the walls – including The Leader photographer Geoff O’Neill, who needed blood after a motorcycle accident – and TVs and music to keep donors occupied.
But at least one feature of the old centre has remained – the milkshake maker made the journey across town with staff and volunteers, fortunately matching the decor of the new centre.
Anne Sanders was among the first people to donate, giving her 66th donation yesterday.
The blood and plasma donor didn’t intend to schedule her regular appointment on the opening day, but was glad to get a look at the new centre.
“It’s lovely, clean, roomy, friendly, and it’s very streamlined,” Miss Sanders said.
Miss Sanders said she donated because both she and her father had needed blood transfusions in the past, and she had one of the rarer blood types.
Mayor Col Murray also rolled up his sleeves on the opening day, and like Miss Sanders, was lucky his regular appointment fell on that day.
Local blood transfusion recipient Louisa Burke welcomed the “fantastic” new centre, the entrance of which sports a photo of her and eight-year-old daughter Isabelle.
Mrs Burke received six units of blood after haemorrhaging while giving birth to Isabelle, and has since become a donor, knowing first-hand the life-saving value it has.
Community relations officer Sandee Thompson said she hoped the new centre would attract people who had thought of donating, but had never gotten around to it.
Appointments to give blood can be made by phoning 13 14 95 or visit the website, donateblood.com.au