A water company’s chief is in the saddle to help boost a charity that makes motorbike deliveries of life-saving blood to the region’s hospitals.
Northumbrian Water’s Heidi Mottram, has become a patron of Northumbria Blood Bikes, a charitable organisation working across County Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.
With National Blood Bike Awareness Day tomorrow (Friday 14 August), Heidi was asked to support the charity by Northumbrian Water Team Leader, Jerry Trowbridge, who is one of 75 riders helping to keep Northumbria Blood Bikes operating 365 days a year.
Unable to donate blood himself and having owned and ridden motorbikes most of his life, Jerry saw his opportunity to get involved through the water company’s employee volunteering scheme, Just an Hour, fitting in shifts around work.
Jerry said: “Having relied on the NHS all my life, it’s nice to give something back and make a difference. Combining it with motorbikes is a bonus!
“We donate our time and skills for free because we want to help save lives and the dedication and commitment of the group is incredible, I′m proud to be a small part of it.
“I’m lucky that Northumbrian Water is very ethical and encourages staff to give time to good causes in the local community - I’ve been able to attend fundraisers and awareness visits during the working day.
“I′m sure Heidi′s involvement will make this great service more visible and as a result, provide a real benefit.”
Run entirely by volunteers, the team deliver blood, platelets and other urgent medical supplies out of hours to hospitals and laboratories.
By becoming a patron, Heidi will be able to help raise awareness of the charity throughout the business community and call upon employees to support fund-raising events through Just an Hour.
She said: “The blood bikes provide an essential service to the NHS and save hundreds of lives every year.
“Our association with them reflects our commitment to supporting local communities, which we do through our Just an Hour scheme. The scheme encourages employees to spend at least 15 hours of work time involved in local community and environmental projects.
“It’s great to see volunteers helping in such a positive way and I’m delighted to become a patron and help raise awareness of their inspirational work.”
Peter Robertson, Chairman of Northumbria Blood Bikes, said: “"Northumbria Blood Bikes is pleased and extremely grateful to welcome Heidi Mottram as a Patron.
"After a period of initial fundraising the charity only went ′live′ in February 2014 but in that time has already carried out over 3000 potentially life saving out-of-hours jobs for local hospitals.
"Heidi brings a wealth of experience that we know will be invaluable as we continue to grow and develop, as well as raising a profile in the business community that will help us to establish our name and reputation, and hopefully help us to raise the funds to keep our vehicles on the road providing our free service.
"She joins our two existing Patrons, the BBC′s Carol Malia and Prof. Bob Jarman, Consultant in Emergency Medicine."
To find out more about Northumbria Blood Bikes, visit www.northumbriabloodbikes.org.uk.
For more information, contact Janine Scott on 0191 301 6713.