Steve Harvey offered to donate his blood plasma after contracting coronavirus in January. As a regular blood donor, Mr Harvey estimated his appointment would take half an hour and purchased a parking ticket for one hour at the Ashford Council-run car park.
The process was more complex than he anticipated, and his appointment overran by more than an hour.
Mr Harvey rushed back to his car where a parking attendant was giving him a ticket. He explained the circumstances and the warden sympathised but said he had already registered the Mr Harvey’s details into the system.
Mr Harvey said: “He was very apologetic and said he would write a note explaining what had happened in his paperwork.
“I thought I was doing the right thing, helping to save lives. I have been a blood donor since I was 18, but the process of giving plasma was not as straightforward as I had thought.
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“Once I was giving the plasma I could not just leave and put another ticket on my car.
“It’s not as if I had gone shopping and forgot the time or got lost. I couldn’t physically get back any earlier.”
The ongoing trial is collecting blood plasma of people who have recovered from Covid to analyse whether it could create antibody medicines to help recovering patients.
Mr Harvey is a firefighter for the London Fire Brigade and previously served in the London police force for seven years. He also helps at Kent Fire and Rescue Service and the ambulance service during the pandemic.
It added: “Whilst we sympathise with the situation described in your challenge it is the driver’s responsibility to obey parking rules.”
Mr Harvey has since paid the £25 penalty fine. He said “it’s not about the money, it’s the principle” adding that he understood the need for parking enforcement but felt “a little compassion” could have been exercised in this case.
A council spokesperson said: “When issuing Penalty Charge Notices and considering appeals we have to take a fair and consistent approach and the PCN was issued correctly in this case.
“Drivers must ensure they make arrangements if they need to extend their parking time but we do offer RingGo as a flexible option whereby drivers can extend their parking time without the need to return to their car.”