Why I volunteer…
Before Feb, 2017, I had never heard of Northumbria Blood Bikes, but I saw one of their vehicles parked on Ratcliffe Road in our village. So I asked the rider, Sam Quigley, what they did. He gave a brief résumé of their purpose and I was intrigued; mostly by the fact that they not only transport blood, but medical notes, samples, medical equipment and so much more.
Having had to visit various North East hospitals when my late husband, Don, was seriously ill, I always wondered how his medical notes seemed to appear shortly after his admission no matter which hospital we were in. So now I know the answer; Northumbria Blood Bikes would pick his notes up from the last hospital he had been treated at and get them to the hospital where we were (e.g. From RVI to Freeman, or North Tyneside).
I then made the decision to attend one of the charity’s coffee mornings to find out more. I was so impressed by the volunteers’ enthusiasm, professionalism and camaraderie that I signed up there and then as a Controller. (I'm one of the ones who get to sit at home in the warmth of my home and co-ordinate where all the riders and drivers deliver the blood etc, whereas the riders/drivers are out in all weathers, 365 days a year).
This led me to complete my Advanced Driver training so that I can now drive Northumbria Blood Bikes vehicles, and I am also an event assistant helping to get volunteers, kit etc to and from events.
Being a single parent now, I couldn't commit to 12 hour driver shifts, so most of my volunteer hours were only occasional Sunday mornings. As that is when I can commit the 6 hours or so needed to carry out either Controller or Schedule Driver duties; but felt I wasn't really enough so now that I am event assistant I can fit organising volunteers into evenings/days as and when I have time.
I would say that the best things I've experienced since joining is the new friends that I have made and the feeling that I am giving something back to the NHS.
My most memorable moment so far, was when I nearly met Steve Cram at one of my first fundraiser events, Kielder Marathon weekend, and we hoped he was going to come down to our stand for a photo shoot, but being the fine gentleman that he is he didn't have time as he stayed commentating until the last runner crossed the finish line. I had to settle for a sweaty hug from our volunteer John Watts.
To anybody thinking of volunteering; just do it. It is rewarding, makes you feel that you've accomplished something each day you carry out a duty, whether it is driving, controlling, holding buckets and meeting lots of people at fundraiser events or when that 'plan comes together' and all the logistics of organising volunteers for events is achieved.
My name is Lorna Woodward and that’s why I volunteer for Northumbria Blood Bikes.”
To sign up or for more information on the roles visit: http://www.northumbriabloodbikes.org.uk/support/volunteer