STEVE Trickett truly is a life-saver.

Inspired by the story of a brave five-year-old boy – and by a request from his own dying father – he regularly donates platelets to help patients with leukaemia and other serious illnesses.

Steve is friends with the mum of five-year-old Billy, whose battle with leukaemia was highlighted recently as part the Daily Echo’s Mine’s a Pint campaign.

He also has another reason to give platelets in memory of his father Ray, who died 11 years ago at the age of 56.

“I lost my dad to leukaemia,” said Steve, 37, whose catering van operates near Homebase in Tower Park.

“I said to him just a few days before he died, ‘What can I do to help?’ He said ‘The best thing you can do is give blood because it’s so important for people like me even to feel better for a few days.’”

While giving blood, he learned about platelet donation, which can help up to three adults or 12 children in one go.

Later, he discovered on Facebook that his former school friend Claire had a five-year-old boy who was ill with leukaemia.

“I thought ‘That’s why I’m here’,” he said.

“I started talking to the nurse. She was saying ‘You’re not just helping one person here.’”

He wants to tell more people about donating platelets.

“People are generous. They will donate to Children In Need, they’ll donate to Help for Heroes, but it’s hard times out there at the moment and people will donate their time,” he said.

Although donating platelets takes longer than giving blood, he stressed it was painless.

“I go down to the blood clinic at Poole Dolphin Centre, by appointment because they need different blood groups at different times.

“They will sit you down, they’ve got television there, they’ve got books there and you can play with your phone or whatever. You’re going to sit there for an hour.

“This machine takes your blood in, takes out all the platelets and puts it back into your system very slowly. In the hour it takes, all these platelets are put into a donor bag and get rushed off to help people with leukaemia.”

Steve added: “People can be made to feel better with platelets and almost feel normal again even for maybe just a short period of time.

“People going through radiotherapy or chemo, they know how ill they are. They just want to feel normal again.”