A TOTAL of 2,442 people in Somerset registered to give blood for the first time this year.

And NHS Blood and Transplant is encouraging people to make a New Year's resolution by joining them in 2018.

Across England 900,000 people gave blood in 2017.

This New Year people in Somerset are being asked to be part of an amazing group of people who save lives.

The Somerset figures include 531 new donors in Bath and North East Somerset, 588 in North Somerset, and 1323 in the Somerset County Council area.

NHS Blood and Transplant needs around 200,000 new donors every year to maintain the supply for life-saving blood donations.

Donors are needed from all blood groups and communities but there is a particular need for more people from black and Asian communities to donate to help provide the right mix of blood.

Mike Stredder, director of blood donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “It’s New Year and like many of us, you may be thinking about the year ahead and some changes you’d like to make to your life.

"Perhaps you want to cut down on drinking, eat more healthily or are considering joining a gym?

“This year we are asking people in Somerset to focus on giving and to register to give blood.

"It’s easy to sign up and book your first appointment online or via our mobile phone app.

“By donating blood you will save or improve the lives of up to three people. Do something amazing in 2018. Give blood.”

In general, as long as you are fit and healthy, weigh over 7st 12lbs (50kg) and are aged between 17 and 66 - up to 70 if you have given blood before - you should be able to give blood. If you are over 70, you need to have given blood in the last two years to continue donating.

If you are already a blood donor you could consider becoming a platelet donor.

NHS Blood and Transplant particularly needs donors with the A negative blood group as they can help any patient, regardless of blood type. One platelet donation can help save three adults or 12 babies or children.

It’s quick and easy to register to become a blood donor - click here or download the app by searching ‘NHSGiveBlood’ in the app store.

You can also call the Donor Line on 0300-1232323.

You can donate platelets at your nearest donor centre. If you already give blood, ask about platelet donation at your next appointment.