New Morpeth Mayor: blood bikes ‘saved friend’s life’

The proposal for Alison Byard to become the new Mayor of Morpeth was unanimously approved by her fellow town councillors.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 23 May, 2019, 16:15
Mayor of Morpeth Alison Byard with husband Steve, who will be her Escort. Picture by Ken Stait.

She was in the leading Morpeth civic role in 2015/16 and her husband Steve will serve as her Escort, as he did when she was Mayor for the first time.

Her charity for the year is Northumbria Blood Bikes. Its volunteers deliver essential blood and urgent medical supplies, out of hours, between hospitals and other healthcare sites in the North East.

Marian Bell will be the Mayor’s Chaplain. She is a full-time chaplain at St George’s Park and Northgate Hospitals and a Eucharistic minister at St Robert’s Church in Morpeth.

Coun Byard said during her speech at the Mayor Making event in Morpeth Town Hall: “I am proud and honoured to be elected Mayor of Morpeth and will perform my duties to the best of my ability.

“I am pleased to welcome Graham Moor, chairman, Jason Cooper and Ross McKenzie from Northumbria Blood Bikes this evening.

“They have brought with them the newest additions to their fleet – two beautiful new BMW bikes that you will be able to see on your way out.

“In critical situations, blood or other medical items need to be delivered urgently in order to save a patient’s life.

“Blood bikes, with their distinctive livery, emergency lights, and narrow profile, can quickly get through busy traffic to reach their destination. 

“For bulky items, or in extreme weather conditions, they use cars too, to ensure the service is available every day of the year.

“By coincidence, I heard an example of this life-saving work just last weekend when I went to stay with an old school friend.

“I knew that she had been seriously ill when her third child was born. I was telling her about my planned fund-raising, when she surprised me by saying ‘the blood bikers saved my life’. 

“She lost a major amount of blood after the birth and all her clotting factors. The hospital ran out of blood.

“Her local blood bikers brought emergency deliveries of 20 pints of blood and blood products and saved her life.

“She is a midwife and mother of three children and completely recovered, thanks to volunteer blood bikers.

“I hope that Morpeth will help me to raise as much money as possible for Northumbria Blood Bikes, which received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in June 2017, and that by choosing it as my charity, I can also help to raise its profile.”

The Stobhill ward councillor praised outgoing Mayor Jack Gebhard’s energy and enthusiasm and said he “has branched out in a new way in his fund-raising, which I am hoping to emulate”.

Coun Byard was nominated by Coun Andrew Tebbutt, who said she was totally worthy of representing Morpeth as Mayor for the second time.

He added: “She has become a champion of many organisations and causes and her decision to call Morpeth home is our gain.”

The nomination was seconded by Coun Nic Best, who said: “She made a very good Mayor last time and so it stands to reason that she will be an even better Mayor this time.”

Morpeth North councillor David Bawn will be Deputy Mayor over the next 12 months after the vote for his nomination was also unanimously in favour.

Coun Bawn, also a county councillor, is a partner at David Auld & Co Solicitors. He announced that his mother, Betty, will be the Deputy Mayoress.

He added: “It’s a great honour to be here as the Deputy Mayor of Morpeth.”