Tony Rutherford and Ian Walby “Blood Bikes” 2nd Feb 22
Our recent meeting 2/2/22 two gentlemen from Blood Bikes, West Cumbria Emergency Response Team – Tony Rutherford, two year in the position of chair, and Ian Walby, vice chair,
gave an inspiring and very informative talk about the amazing work these volunteers do.
Blood bikes are a registered charity, funded by themselves. Relying solely on volunteer time, donations and corporate sponsors to keep them going, and saving the NHS thousands of pounds in transport costs so that more money can be directed to front line services and patient care.
The idea originated in 1965 and was started by a lady called Margaret Ryerson, from Surrey and later adopted in USA, Africa, France and Australia.
Transforming lives and freeing up essential time for the NHS, these volunteers work 365 days a year. Shifts of an evening 6PM to 6AM, and weekends and bank holidays 6PM to 8AM. During the pandemic, which is still ongoing, 24/03/20 to 17/09/20 they worked twenty four hours a day and in 2020/2021 responded to 2228 callouts. The running costs for 2020/2021 was a staggering £58,086.87.
Mr Rutherford talked about the areas the volunteers cover from Millom to Whitehaven, Carlisle including the helipad at Langwathby and Newcastle Freeman and City General Hospitals.
The equipment they use and transport they have, explaining the different types of bikes and cars were discussed. The panniers on the bikes are all security tagged, and each individual wears an air vest with logo on, name, identity including a photograph.
This is an essential service which needs to keep going. Please spread the word. Volunteer if you are able at fundraising events including recruitment drives. Remember the BLOOD BIKES in wills if possible and keep this vital service continuing their amazing work.