Why I volunteer by Mick Redpath

Kirsty Lawrence's picture

Why I volunteer...
“I heard about NBB from one of my motorcycling friends, Ken Tait, who is a very active member and he extolled the virtues of the charity and the good work that was done by them.
I joined as a volunteer in June 2018, but it was 30th September that year before I was able to do my first shift, after having done the induction, training and familiarisation first which had to fit in around my busy job. I joined because I was starting to think about early retirement and would need some new interests, as well as having been persuaded by Ken to undergo my advanced rider training (he is an instructor) to make me a better rider. I am active within another charitable organisation, the Freemasons, and they were starting to support the blood bikes quite significantly so it also tied my two interests together.
I volunteer in a number of roles as Rider/Driver/Controller/Rota Assistant - I started as a rider, but then after a winter riding in some pretty bad weather at times, I decided to undertake advanced driver training as well so I could also drive the cars, particularly when cold to be able to keep the blood deliveries flowing. I attended a controller workshop to get a better understanding of what they do, and was not intending to take on the role but was persuaded to give it a go. I have to say it can be the most challenging operational role at times, but is very satisfying work. In order to get more involved with the charity, I also volunteered to assist the Rota Manager in ensuring we have enough people to cover the shifts and deliver the service.
I treat it very much like work now that I am retired (usually even saying I am working tonight or on a certain day when chatting to people). As you are only asked to give up time to undertake 2 shifts a month it is quite easy to fit them in, although I average 1 a week usually, and having achieved my bronze and silver awards for 25 & 50 shifts I am confident I will reach my next milestone of 100 shifts by the end of 2020. Not bad for what will be just over 2 years.
The professionalism of the charity astounded me when I started and continues to remind me of how dedicated the people are who deliver the service to such a high standard. I have met some great people who I now count as friends, and enjoy getting out on rides and holidays with as well.
On my 3rd ever shift I covered an amazing 423 miles, and hardly stopped at all during the 12 hours with 2 trips to Berwick, and trips to Darlington, Sunderland, Cramlington and a few more. Pretty much the length and breadth of the area we cover. The other amazing thing is the respect and friendliness given to you by the other emergency services so that you feel that you are one of their own. Also, just people saying thank you as you go about the deliveries, and how grateful they are for what we do.
It is always good to give something back, and to help people whoever they may be or whatever circumstances they find themselves in. I have broadened my horizons and contributed to helping more people, even though I will never know who they are, but appreciate it could enable them to survive some trauma or illness and recover to have a good life.
My name is Mick Redpath and that’s why I volunteer for Northumbria Blood Bikes.”
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