Gary Lineker and Amanda Holden join Team Give Blood ahead of the Olympics

Gary Lineker is playing the red card this summer as he joins the drive to encourage more people to give blood.

The Match of the Day host is one of eight celebrities backing the NHS Blood and Transplant Team (nhsbt) Give Blood campaign, along with TV personalities Sarah Beeny, Amanda Holden and Rachel Riley, Olympians Jayne Torvill and Graham Bell, and DJs Greg James and Twin B.

 "I can’t wait to cheer on England and Team GB, but I'll also be doing my bit by supporting Team Give Blood," says Gary, who heads up the O- team.

"My son [George, who was treated for leukaemia in the 1990s] wouldn't be here today if it weren't for a blood transfusion, so I understand first hand what a difference your donation can make. 

If you don't know your blood type, find out by making a date to donate."

It's predicted that blood stocks will fall this summer because prospective donors will be too busy watching the Olympics.

Coupled with this predicted decrease in supply is the likely increase in demand due to the one million overseas visitors who are expected to travel to the UK for the Games.

At present only around four per cent of those eligible to give blood do so.

Yet the process is quick and painless, and each unit can save or improve the lives of up to three adults or seven babies.

Donated blood is used to help treat health conditions including cancer and long-term illnesses, as well as for trauma incidents and in maternity care.

One person who knows the vital role it plays is TV personality Amanda Holden.

"Having had an emergency blood transfusion during the birth of my baby girl [Hollie, now nearly five months old], this is obviously a cause that is close to my heart, so I'm really pleased to be supporting Team Give Blood. It's the people who give blood every day who are the true heroes."

For more information about giving