The charity which delivers out-of-hours blood and urgent medical supplies in the North East has received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
Northumbria Blood Bikes (NBB), which was established by volunteers, to transport the crucial supplies between the region’s hospitals and healthcare sites has been honoured with the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK – the equivalent of an MBE.
Outside normal office hours, hospitals rely on taxis or couriers to transfer urgent medical supplies or test samples between hospitals and other sites.
NBB carries out this service free of charge, ensuring the limited resources of the NHS can be used where it makes a difference.
In critical situations, blood or other medical items need to be delivered urgently and the specialised Blood Bikes, with their distinctive livery, emergency lights and narrow profile, can cut through busy traffic reaching their destination quickly.
NBB is entirely dependent on charitable donations and solely run by volunteers who give up their own free time to run and deliver the service.
The charity will receive its award from the Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland later this summer. However, as a result of the award, a founder member, Geoff Spencer, and his wife Jude, attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace where they had the chance to meet the Queen and other winners of this year’s award.
Carol Malia, Deputy Lieutenant for Northumberland and patron of the charity, said: “NBB is a dedicated team of tightly-knit volunteers working so professionally together.
“Their service has already saved many lives.
“The bikers and drivers undergo extensive training, all in their own time, and are supported by an efficient network of other volunteers all devoting themselves to supporting emergency healthcare.
“I have personal reason to thank NBB.
“My friend’s son went into cardiac arrest after undiagnosed internal bleeding.
“At the age of 14, they found themselves at his bedside praying for his survival.
“He needed blood and quickly.
“It was a Northumbria Blood Bike that delivered the consignment which ultimately meant that Matthew has made a complete recovery.”