A mother from Helston is calling on more people to give blood after owing her life to a major transfusion while giving birth.

A previous B Rh negative donor herself, 43-year-old Louise Meacham knows first-hand how important blood donors are.

She suffered a serious bleed during the caesarean section birth of her third child Lola.

After a hysterectomy, eight units of blood and four hours in surgery, Louise woke up in hospital.

Louise said: “If I had gone into labour naturally, it could have killed both me and Lola.

“During the caesarean I suffered a major bleed, which resulted in me having to have a blood transfusion and a hysterectomy.

“If it hadn’t have been for the blood I would not be here today; I would never have met my daughter.”

She has shared her story as part of a national drive to encourage more people give blood.

Young donors in particular are described as “crucial” to ensuring there will be enough blood donated in the years to come.

Although the percentage of 17 to 24-year-olds giving blood in Cornwall is above the national average, at 2,171 donors, more are needed – although donors of any age are welcomed.

NHS Blood and Transplant released the figures during National Blood Week, encouraging more people to ‘get off the bench’ ahead of the World Cup and start giving blood.

Each year 200,000 new donors are needed to replace those who can no longer donate for health or other reasons.

In general, as long as a person is fit and healthy, weighs over 7 stone 12 lbs (50kg) and is aged between 17 and 66 (up to 70 for someone who has given blood before) they should be eligible. Anyone over 70 needs to have given blood in the last two years to continue donating.

To register and book an appointment to donate visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.