January 2019

President  Joyce Handbury welcomed Sharon Mathews from Derby, to talk to SI Amber Valley about Blood Bikers. Most Blood Bikers are hefty men and Sharon, who is neither, became super qualified to join their ranks.

We were entertained by an account of her childhood aspirations and exploits with her bicycle, as she strove to become a motor cyclist. Eventually, and with the addition of platform biker boots, Sharon was fit to join the ranks of Blood Bikers in Derbyshire and seized the opportunity when Derbyshire Blood Bikers had a stall at Cromford Steam Rally. Extra training was given before she was entrusted to ride one of their specially adapted motorbikes.

D.B.B., as it is known, was formed in 2011 and gained charitable status in 2012. By 2016 there were enough volunteers to have a rota of available drivers around the clock, and the demand for their services has kept growing.

The Blood Bikers provide a free and urgent courier service to the local NHS, helping to improve patient outcomes with timely treatment. They save the NHS money as it avoids the use of costly taxis to transfer time-critical samples between hospitals and laboratories. Quite often the bikes can reach their destination when other traffic is at a standstill – occasionally gridlocked in the case of Derby.

As well as the fleet of very special motorcycles Derby Blood Bikers now also own two cars for winter use.

In 2017 DBB made 630 request runs with a further 255 scheduled runs; a total of 52,000 miles. They saved the NHS £50,000 in taxi fares. In 2018 they made 1151 request runs plus 260 scheduled ones.

They are financed by donations, some large and some small, and all are gratefully received and carefully spent.

Sharon was thanked by Eve Bonham and was given a donation from SI Amber Valley.

In the Business Meeting which followed members agreed to donate £1,000 to Ripley Hospital from the funds raised throughout the year. A donation of £400 is going soon to the Nursery which we help to support in The Gambia.

Do contact 01773 745082 if you would like to know more about Soroptimist International of Amber Valley. We are a friendly group of ladies, part of the worldwide organisation working to improve the lives of women and girls.

The photograph shows President Joyce Handbury handing over a cheque to Blood Biker Sharon Mathews.