An appeal has gone out to motorcyclists in the west of the region to offer their skills for a life-saving venture supported nationally by the NHS.
Blood Bikes Cumbria and South West Scotland wants to spread its services to Galloway but needs bikers who can give up their time to transport donated blood and breast milk between a network of hospitals in the south west.
Blood Bikes Cumbria and South West Scotland, just one leg of a national scheme, was the dream of chairman Bill Bertham from Carlisle. His idea sprouted legs in May of this year upon hearing about similar such groups across the UK and he quickly sought likeminded people with a passion for motorcycling and for helping others in times of crisis.
Bill was astounded by the number of people in Cumbria and South of Scotland that answered the call, and in a few short weeks a committee was formed and the first donated bike came forward.
The group started its first contract with the Cumberland Infirmary at Carlisle on 1st July, and has since established a network of hospitals to receive and deliver blood.
The group will also collect and deliver breast milk direct specialist baby units in Cumbria and Dumfries and Galloway.
John Forrester from Blood Bikes said: “With a countrywide network of Blood Bikes, the collection and transportation of blood will save time and money, thus presenting an efficient timely service.”
Blood Bikes is a charitable organisation and totally self funded – members give their time freely and pay all their own expenses. No charges are made for the service.
John continued: “Consequently, we will save NHS hospitals thousands of pounds over the year enabling them to fund other services within the NHS.”
All group riders are assessed for their riding skills – only the best are able to ride for the group on their own machines. To ride the marked bikes, they have to gain an advanced qualification and then undertake “blues and twos training.
“We believe the Blood Bikes are an essential service to our area.
“It is a costly business to run the service 365 days per year so any help, large or small, can make a difference.
“One day your life or the life of a loved one may depend upon a Blood Bike.”
If you live in the Stranraer area and are a motorcyclist, the group is keen to hear from you. Alternatively, if you would simply like to sponsor the group or become a volunteer, contact the group on www.bbcumbria.org.