Therewas no doubt much of the noble and blue blood of Lord Patel's forefathers spilt at Crecy, Agincourt , Waterloo ...
Lord Patel first willingly offed his up when enticed at a Freshers fair in 1960 as a result of beguiling nurses who entrapped weedy students reeling from the B tests in the (then) mass radiogaphy screening for TB into the cloisters of the Blood Transfusion service.
For years he happily spilt his pints for these pretty bloodsuckers but marriage and change of address led to stopping supplies for the lucky few.
How lucky those few were, has just come to light as he may need to be on the receiving end of some of the precious stuff. The noble blood equird is B Type with the antigen Rhesus negative he comprises but 2% of the population - so much in need that such volunteers are especially asked to supply not the standard 2 pints a year but 3.
The combination of antibodies for the Rhesus (Rh) group are in the UK and most of the world are rare , remarkably Not in the land of the Basques where 35% - 40% display the condition.
The Basques are considered as the remnants of the early Europeans who lived during the pre-neolithic period according to modern genetic studies .It has been known for many decades that they demonstrate a high frequency of O and conversely one of the lowest frequency of B among human populations .
The high prevalence of Rhesus (Rh)negative in Basques (35.6%)was first described in 1945 by Etcheverry among emigrants in Argentina (Etcheverry MA:El factor Rh en personas de
ascendencia iberica e italica residents en la Argentina.Sem Med 1947;2:1 –8.)
These results have been confirmed more recently using more precise PCM methods
What is fascinating for Lord Patel and his family (His father had identical blood type) that the male side of the faily originated in Cornwall arriving in Lancashire in the mid 19th Century.
Of further interest was a Basque nationalist leader garotted in 70's whse Basque surname almost exactly matches his surname which is a distinctive Cornish family name common around Redruth.
It is not too difficult to believe that lurking in the male line there is an Iberian connection - attributed by some to remanants of Cro-Magnon man even Neanderthals (A theory well supported by Lady Patel and several neighbours)
The lesson is, if you are B Rhesus negative get on down to the Blood Transfusion service 3 times a year - get down there and give blood whatever your group.
Interesting discussion in Guradian Notes and Queries on the Basque connection to blood types.