May calls time on marrow appeal

Queen guitarist Brian May has closed the British Bone Marrow Donor Appeal after it was announced that the charity, which kept a register of potential bone marrow donors for leukaemia patients, is to be taken over by the NHS.

May, a BBMDA patron for more than 15 years, said: "It has been incredibly important because there was no specific register before and, over the past 18 years, it has grown and grown."

The appeal raised more than £4m towards the cost of recruiting, which succeeded in attracting 300,000 potential donors across the UK.

Appeal co-founder Malcolm Thomas said it had always been its goal for the Government to take over the register. "It has been a long and emotional struggle, but it has all been worth it," he said.

Thomas co-founded the charity with John Humphries as they searched for bone marrow donors for their respective children, Alexandra and Mark.

By the time it ceased fundraising, the BBMDA had reserves of £1m, which it plans to split between the National Blood Services of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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