A company director’s passion for motorbikes has seen him sign up to help a charity.
George Young, from Seaton Delaval, is now a volunteer rider for Northumbria Blood Bikes.
The charity – which runs the free service 365 days a year – transports blood, plasma, platelets, samples, vaccines and other urgently required medical items for North East hospitals.
George, who has 35 years’ experience riding motorbikes, became a qualified Blood Biker in December and has now undertaken 10 shifts.
George, a director of digital office equipment company SOS Group Ltd, said: “Essentially I help collect and deliver blood or other important medical supplies to and from hospitals in the region.
“My family has received fantastic care through the NHS and this is something I can do in return.
“You do feel the responsibility when you’re riding. You know you need to get wherever you’re going safely and quickly because of the package you’re carrying. It’s important.
“I’ve been told there would be no daily blood on board the Great North Air Ambulance without Blood Bikes. And that’s something that’s helped save lives.
“I’m very proud to be involved.
“The long shifts can be difficult to fit in around work but my SOS Group colleagues are extremely supportive and feedback from clients has been very positive, too.
“My next challenge will be to become blue light trained so I can deliver emergency items should they be required.”
SOS Group Ltd, based on the Team Valley, launched in 2002 to supply digital office equipment.
Northumbria Blood Bikes is part of the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes and was established by local volunteers in 2012 and currently has 469 volunteer motorbike riders and car drivers.
Kirsty Lawrence, from Northumbria Blood Bikes, said: “Without the dedication of our unpaid volunteers, support from donors and the public we would not be able to operate our service.
“The majority of what we do is unseen and each job we complete could potentially contribute to saving someone’s life.
“In the short length of time that we’ve been operational we are proud of the milestones we have hit and to date we have carried out over 15,000 jobs for the NHS covering over 260,000 miles.”
Northumbria Blood Bikes operates a fleet of ten liveried tourer type motorcycles, which are designed to be ridden for extended periods and distances, offer some protection from the worst of the weather and have reasonable luggage capacity.
All the bikes have full high visibility markings in order to ensure they can be easily identified as Blood Bikes and to help riders and their cargo remain visible and safe.
Northumbria Blood Bikes currently cover hospitals and blood banks in Newcastle, Ashington, Whitley Bay, Gateshead, Hexham, South Shields, Washington, Sunderland, Durham, Bishop Auckland and Darlington. It also covers all NHS Acute Trusts in the North East and the daily blood supply to the Great North Air Ambulance.
For more information about Northumbria Blood Bikes, or to donate to the charity, visit www.northumbriabloodbikes.org.uk