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More than 400 lives have potentially been saved thanks to Timaru’s first blood drive of the year.

The New Zealand Blood Service returned to Timaru on January 3 and 4 with the aim of boosting its much-needed blood supplies.

Donor recruiter Jane Condell said the community’s response was amazing.

“It went amazingly well. On the first day we had 98 people come in the door, which was huge, and the second day we had 49 people come in the door.”

Each donation can save up to three lives, which meant the latest drive had the potential to save up to 441 lives.

“We collected 16 more units than we had anticipated, which was a real bonus,” Mrs Condell said.

“It just went really, really well. [The community] certainly rallied around for us at that time of year, that’s for sure.”

This month’s drive relocated from its usual spot at Sopheze on the Bay to the Red Cross rooms at 18 Bank St, due to the Caroline Bay Carnival.

Mrs Condell had hoped the Red Cross rooms would benefit people still working in the town centre in the new year, as it was more accessible – and the latest response suggests it was a prime location.

She put the call out to people in the lead-up to New Year to attract donors, as the need for blood does not stop over the festive season.

The New Zealand Blood Service will return to South Canterbury later in the year.