Why I volunteer by John Reay

Kirsty Lawrence's picture

Why I volunteer…

“I first became aware of Northumbria Blood Bikes after visiting the Durham Bikewise event in 2017, it did appeal to me, though being in full time employment back then, it was something I felt that I couldn't spare the time for.

After just over 47 years in the rail civil engineering, repairing rail bridges and stations and the like, I decided in January 2018 to hang up my work boots at the age of 63. Looking to occupy some of my time usefully, I remembered the blood bikes, thinking that as I enjoy riding motorcycles, it would be good to combine that pleasure and do something worthwhile and beneficial to others.

I enrolled in May 2018 as a rider, but it did seem to take such a long time to get through the advanced riding course and finally get to fulfill the role. My first 12 hour shift was Sunday 11th / Monday 12th November 2018.

I remember on that shift the temperature was down to - 2c, and I got a run out to Berwick-Upon- Tweed, so a pretty chilly ride, but still enjoyed it, and continued to ride blood bikes right through the winter months.            

The rider role fits in well with my lifestyle, booking the shifts that suit me best.

It does give me great satisfaction, when members of the public around the hospitals "give praise for the work we do", together with the big “thank you so much" you get from NHS hospital staff.

Whilst it is the riders and drivers who get this "front line" praise, none of the work we do would be possible without the fantastic supporting roles such as fund raising, shift controllers and committee members who take care of the general operational requirements.

So to any potential volunteers, even if you don't ride or drive, there are still essential roles you could undertake. 

I have also found that all Blood Bike volunteers, whatever their roles, are a very friendly and helpful group of people. 

My name is John Reay 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

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