Percy Oliver

OLIVER, Percy Lane 1878-1944. Founder of the first volunteer blood donation service. Percy Lane Oliver, OBE, was born in 1878 and lived in Colyton Road in East Dulwich. He was a librarian for Camberwell and a founder member and volunteer for the Camberwell Red Cross. During WW1 he was stationed at Crystal Palace with the Royal Naval Air Service and when off-duty he and his wife worked tirelessly, managing four refugee hostels in Camberwell for which he received an OBE in 1918. With his wife he established the voluntary blood transfusion service for King’s in 1922; it later became the National Blood Service. He ran this free service from Colyton Road, raising most of the running costs himself and also advising other countries who were setting up similar schemes. In particular, he advised that donors not be considered heroes, in order to counteract any ideas that giving blood was risky. He died in 1944 and has a ward at King's College Hospital named after him.