Blood Bike Wales set off on their travels in a Mini Cooper to raise awareness of their volunteer-led weekend cover supporting the NHS in Wales. Sally Rees (WCVA) tells us more.
Myself and Val Connelly (AVOW) unexpectedly and by chance met with Blood Bikes at Maesgwyn Hall, Wrexham as we attended the North Wales Well-being Network, which drew in a crowd of students to promote volunteering and student placements in voluntary sector organisations.
We met Chris Jones (Wrexham representative) and John Peers who had just been waved off by Blood Bike volunteers and friends, whose original plan was to drive to Italy in a Mini Cooper as a sponsored fund raiser and to raise awareness of Blood Bikes under the banner of The Blood Bikes Wales Italian Job. Due to the Coronavirus situation in Italy and closed borders, their plan had to change. The trip is now called Not the Italian Job! Val and I were invited to try out one of their bikes called Gwenda. It was a first for us both, as we’d never been on a motorbike before. It made our day and, that of others we shared our photos with!
Blood Bike Wales were winners of Organisation of the Year at the Welsh Charity Awards 2019, and when people see their bikes, they may not realise that all their bike riders are volunteers giving up their weekends. They provide NHS cover from 7pm on Friday evening until midnight on Monday mornings to courier and deliver plasma, blood samples, documents, human donated milk and other much needed items across Wales for six of the seven Health Boards. The organisation is 100% volunteer-led and currently they have 500 volunteers and 264 volunteer bike riders who have made 15,445 deliveries. This number continues to rise every weekend as they ride the roads of Wales to deliver urgent items where they are needed.
UPDATE 18 March 2020
Chris and John made it as far as the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Hotel in Germany before being forced to return to Wales by border closures in the light of coronavirus.
Although they have cancelled or postponed all fundraising and event activities, the bikes are still on the roads seven days a week and will continue to aid the NHS in as many ways as possible, from blood tests to delivering patient medicine, collecting donor human milk and anything else that will fit on a motorbike.