A vital charity which delivers blood supplies across Lancashire has made a New Year call for volunteers to help continue the vital service.
Since North West Blood Bikes Lancashire and Lakes branch formed 32 months ago, volunteer blood bikers have made more than 9,500 deliveries.
It involves 150 volunteer riders and 14 volunteer control room staff.
But the charity is always on the lookout for more people to get involved and today wants to encourage more people to support it – either through volunteering or by donating.
The organisation delivers an out of hours service to the NHS all over the county and in the Lakes.
The volunteers work overnight and weekend and on Christmas Day there was also a number of people on the rota. The riders deliver anything that can fit on the back of a motorbike – whole blood, blood products, samples, medication and medical notes.
Matt Phillipson, controller manager, said: “We operate a fleet of marked bikes with a number of riders being trained to use the blue lights and sirens. These are used in response to a clinical emergency. However, it is important to note that riders can, and do, use their own bikes.
“We also have roles for non-riders to ‘control’. This involves taking the call from the hospital, ensuring an efficient dispatch of the rider and tracking their run until home safe.”
Matt, 19, added: “It’s very rewarding, we are a small cog in a big machine and we know we are helping somebody.”
Paul Brooks, Chairman and Trustee, said: “Our first year only saw 812 runs, so as you can see the number of call-outs has grown and is growing exponentially. It costs us in the region of £15,000 a year to operate, and we have 14 liveried bikes fitted with blue lights and sirens for emergency runs dotted about the county, but most of the riders use their own bikes and pay their own fuel bills as well as giving up their time freely, they’re a great bunch of guys.
“That said we can’t operate without our band of dedicated controllers who often have to stay up all night at weekends and well into the early hours during the week, without them the hospitals can’t call us and we desperately need more, as well as more riders.”