In 1921, King’s College Hospital called Percy Lane Oliver, honorary secretary of the Red Cross Camberwell division, and asked him to find a volunteer willing to donate blood to a patient. He did and the patient survived. A group of donors was organised across the country who were able to give blood when called upon.
Oliver became honorary organising secretary of the scheme, which was organised from his home, largely with the help of his wife.
Oliver received no official recognition for his blood donor panel work but derived immense personal satisfaction from it. After his death in 1944 the Oliver Memorial Fund was established in order to preserve his memory.
After the establishment of the National Health Service in 1948, the Red Cross kept a supporting role in the blood transfusion service until 1987.
The British Red Cross is no longer involved in blood donation but there are several other organistions that accept blood donations, including the National Blood Service, the Welsh Blood Service, the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service and the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service.