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Meet the volunteer 'Blood Bikes' who deliver life-saving blood to local air ambulance charity

Written by Samantha Lade, Donr

Published on Thursday, 21st June 2018

Meet the volunteer 'Blood Bikes' who deliver blood to local air ambulance charity

A team of bikers are voluntarily giving up their free time to deliver lifesaving blood products to the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC), every day of the week, every day of the year.

Without their services, the GWAAC say they would simply not be able to save as many lives as they do.

Freewheelers are a team of volunteers who deliver lifesaving blood and plasma to GWAAC, known as the 'Blood Bikes'. They are all bikers who work tirelessly to carry this, and other medical items across the South West.

The GWAAC's Critical Care Doctors and Paramedics team attend to emergencies where patients often need immediate treatment which cannot wait for the hospital – for example, where the patient is losing blood at a very rapid rate, the use of plasma can stabilise a patient.

The crew carry out many of the same surgical interventions that you would expect to take place in hospital; however, the GWAAC crew carry those out at the side of the road, in a family home, or in someone's back garden.

Therefore, the delivery of blood and plasma made by freewheelers is vital for saving those lives in very critical times.

GWAAC will be hosting it's third 'ride out' event this summer, on Sunday 15th July, which will unite riders and highlight safety issues as a biker.

Last year, the GWAAC attended 329 road traffic collisions, many of which involved motorcyclists.

Mel Rowbottom plays a vital role in organising the event alongside GWAAC colleagues.

Mel has been a biker for 16 years, an advanced rider since 2003 and a Freewheeler since 2008.

For Mel, a full time Accountant for BT, her hobby became something of significant importance, driving a motorbike to deliver these lifesaving products.

She said: 'Part of organising the ride out means we get to meet up with other motorcycle groups and spread the word about the ride out, plus encourage a few extra people to marshall so we don't run out!'

There are 120 Freewheelers that carry out 50 jobs a week, and up to 90 jobs over the weekend.

They need to raise £120,000 per year to fund themselves, and £15,000 funds their service to the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity.

To find out more about Ride4GWAAC, please visit the website.