They clock up thousands of miles every year helping to save lives right across the Teesside region.
Their job? Bloodrun EVS – or Blood Bikes for short – transport blood, vital medical tests, tissues and samples to and from hospitals from Hartlepool to Northallerton and everywhere in between.
You might have spotted Blood Bike riders on the road as they go about their work providing a completely free and voluntary courier service to North East hospitals, a service which is estimated to save the NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds every year.
And that’s the very reason why this dedicated bunch of unsung volunteers have become the latest recipients of the Teesside Hero Award.
For the first time, the Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation honour has been presented to a whole group rather than an individual in a bid to recognise the important work carried out by the Blood Bikes charity.
“None of us knew the service had been nominated, it was a complete surprise. We were just overwhelmed to be awarded the honour, it is just fantastic,” said Bren Smith, who is a volunteer Blood Bike rider and fleet manager of its four motorcycles and four cars.
“All of us are volunteers, we don’t take a salary or expenses, our service relies entirely on donations to keep going.
“I always say we are creatures of the night because our bikes are out on the road collecting and transporting blood, samples, tissues and things like cancer biopsies to and from hospitals right around the area at night and at weekends.
“Every penny we raise goes into the service – I always think about the patients we are able to help by keeping the bikes and cars running.”
The Blood Bikes charity was nominated for the Philanthropic Foundation honour by Hayley Brudenell whose dad John Jobling is one of the volunteer motorbike riders. Like his fellow volunteers, he is out in all weathers providing the vital courier service.
“I think him and all the other volunteers are absolutely amazing,” said Hayley. “It costs £25,000 a year to keep the bikes and the cars on the road and last year they saved our local NHS hospitals £125,000 which is pumped straight back in.
“Even the weather, including rain and snow, doesn’t stop the volunteers. When it is too dangerous for the motorbikes, they use the car transport to ensure the safe delivery of blood. He and the rest of the team are so passionate and are giving something back to the community.”
The Teesside Hero Award was presented to Bloodrun EVS by Vicky Browning, from Philanthropic Foundation patrons Archers Law.
As part of the honour, the Foundation gives recipients £1,000 to give to a cause of their choice. Bren revealed the money will go straight back into Bloodrun EVS helping to ensure the fleet is kept on the road.