Hepscott WI was pleased to welcome two members of Northumbria Blood Bikes to its February meeting.
Peter Robertson, founder member and chairman, explained how the charity was formed and how it carries out its invaluable work.
The concept of blood bikes began over 40 years ago and was operated by a number of groups, mainly in the south, but in 2011 they united as the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes.
Northumbria Blood Bikes “went live” in 2012 and set up a project with the Air Ambulance Service and Cumbria Health Trust. It is a registered charity, staffed by volunteers and funded by donations and sponsorship.
Through agreements with the NHS the team can operate at nights, weekends and bank holidays, delivering blood, plasma, platelets and other life-saving medical supplies to hospitals and health centres from Berwick to Darlington, and linking with Cumbria. As it is a free service it saves the NHS thousands of pounds which would have been spent on taxis or couriers.
Through fund-raising the group has been able to buy six bikes, which are used by around 70 riders. Unfortunately, blood cannot be carried on bikes when the temperature falls below 3 degrees, but local sponsorship has enabled a car to be added to the fleet so that cold weather will not stop supplies. The bikers make about 180 trips a month.
Peter introduced Ben Shelley, the newest recruit, who told us how a presentation at Morpeth Fair Day had inspired him to enrol. Unfortunately, the third member of the team — the bike — could not get through the village hall doors so after the talk members eagerly crowded around it in the car park; some were even daring enough to sit on it.
This was a most illuminating evening and raised our awareness of the wonderful work done by the unsung heroes of the Northumbria Blood Bikers. For more information visit www.northumbriabloodbikes.org.uk
Our next meeting is on Tuesday, March 17, at 7.30pm, at Cresswell House, where Sue Malloy will show us how to create Food for Easter.