A PETTS WOOD pensioner is Britain's best blood donor even though he faints at the sight of it.

Former Fleet Street man Gerry Warhurst, 70, has not missed an appointment since he started giving blood more than 50 years ago.

But he admits being terrified of blood and cannot stand the sight of needles.

The retired donor Mr Warhurst, who clocked up 154 units in 52 years, said: “When I was a young man I cut my finger on a corned beef can and when the blood poured out I collapsed.

“I never saw my blood being taken in all those years. I always had to look the other way.

“I did genuinely think I was helping somebody though.”

Mr Warhurst, of Woodhurst Avenue, started doing his bit when he was in the RAF at 18.

After two years as an RAF photographer, he joined Associated Press, selling pictures all over the world. He said: “The easiest job we ever had was flogging the NASA pictures of the moon landing in 1969.

“That was the most memorable part of my job because they were some of the first colour pictures used in papers.”

Mr Warhurst finally hung up his drip in March. The National Blood Service confirmed Mr Warhurst as the record holder. He received an outstanding dedication award at a ceremony in London.

At the event, Anne Rowson, of Sussex, spoke of her battle with cancer. She thanked the blood donors saying: “I wouldn't have survived if I hadn't been given blood.”

Call the helpline on 0845 7711 711 or visit www.blood.co.uk