THE axing of the blood service in Grassington has been branded "short-sighted" by a donor who is about to mark his 100th donation.

Robert Fort of Burnsall and other Dales-based donors will, from Monday, June 9, have to travel to Skipton, the Blood and Transplant Service has confirmed.

Mr Fort said: "The prospect of having to pay for petrol to drive a 20-plus mile round trip, then having to wait around for an unpredictable length of time and possibly pay for car parking for however long it may be, means that I will most likely not bother.

"The Grassington sessions are well attended and popular with locals and the Skipton sessions are understood to be very busy.

"Waiting times in Skipton are likely to be longer and less predictable than at present, even with an appointment.

"Giving blood is entirely voluntary and the Blood Service should be going out their way to encourage local donation and to make it as easy as possible for people to donate.

"Making it harder will inevitably result in reduced levels of blood donation."

Anne Sheldon, NHS Blood and Transplant Head of Region (North), confirmed that collection in Grassington would stop on June 9.

She said: "In future we will increase the number of times we hold sessions in Skipton each year. They will also be open for longer and we will have more donation chairs.

"This means that we can offer donors more opportunities to give blood and see more donors at each session."

She stressed it was always intended to tell donors of the changes face-to-face at Grassington which would still happen and they would write to all those who usually donated in the village.

There was a continual demand for blood, but it was lower than it had been due to improvements in clinical practice and work with hospitals to make sure blood was used appropriately.