Governor General, Quentin Bryce, donates blood at the refurbished Australian Red Cross Blood Bank at Garran. Photo: Graham tidy
It's as close to royal blood as most Canberrans are ever likely to get. Governor-General Quentin Bryce dropped in to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service next to the Canberra Hospital on Friday to deliver a batch of the much-needed red stuff.
''I've got very good-coloured blood,'' she observed, looking down at the tube protruding from her arm. ''Next time I'll make my security team do it,'' she laughed.
The Governor-General was on hand to help officially open the new-look Canberra Donor Centre.
The centre has undergone an $800,000 renovation, which will allow it to boost the number of donors able to give blood simultaneously. It has also been given a facelift, with new branding, lighting and improved refreshment facilities.
The Blood Service is preparing for its ''blood blitz'', starting on Monday, to try to secure extra donations over the Christmas and New Year period.
Supplies of blood are typically lower than usual over the holidays, with fewer donors around to give blood. One in three Australians will need blood at some point in their life, but only one in 30 will donate.
Helping to extract blood from the Governor-General was veteran Canberra nurse Marion Baynard, who has worked for the Red Cross for more than 30 years.
She said she'd never taken blood from a governor-general in her three decades, but that Ms Bryce had been a perfect donor.
The Governor-General took the donation in her stride. ''I'm feeling rather spoilt lying here, it's extremely comfortable, much better than the dentist's chair,'' Ms Bryce said.
''I've been to centres like this before, and I think that [the staff] always have an incredibly welcoming, calm, professional, manner to them.'' The Governor-General decided against one of the centre's famous chocolate milkshakes when she was finished, instead opting for a cup of tea.
She urged all Canberrans to donate blood over the holiday period.