A group of volunteer motorcyclists are now providing a vital service for NHS Borders as part of the national Blood Bikes charity.
They deliver blood, urgently needed drugs, human tissues, breast milk and other medical requirements between hospitals overnight from 7pm to 6am Monday to Thursday and at weekends and bank holidays, saving lives and saving NHS Borders money.
The Borders branch is now officially registered as a charity, and local co-ordinator Steve Quintus said: “I would love to say that we were the first group to start in Scotland but our sister group in the Strathclyde area managed to get in there before us. We hope soon that we will be able to combine duties with them and can help each other.
“We have received promises from various companies to the value of about £4000. Now its time for us all to shift up a gear and get some funds in so we can get the equipment we need.”
And the Borders Blood Bikes received a welcome boost last week thanks to the generosity of the family of Alastair Watson from Coldstream, who donated the collection at Alastair’s funeral to the new group.
Alastair, a photographer for many years on our sister paper ‘The Southern Reporter’ was struck down quickly and cruelly by cancer.
Explaining why the family chose Blood Bikes, Alastair’s widow, Meg, said: “They are going to cover the Borders and Alastair covered the Borders.
“They are trying to get it off the ground and we wanted to give to something in the local area - you never know when you might need it.”
Blood Bikes Scotland chairman Ron Spalding explained: “There are now hundreds of motorcyclists who freely volunteer their time. If they didn’t then more money would have to be found from the taxpayer.
“In 2010, just one NABB member group made 2,500 deliveries and travelled over 100,000 miles at a cost of around £25,000. If the NHS had used taxis for the same journeys it would have cost more than £120,000. If hospitals tried it would have cost closer to £300,000.”