As many of you were just finishing work for the Christmas Holidays, our volunteers were just starting the 104 hour Christmas holiday cover.
The holiday weekend kicked off early with controller Neil McCall taking charge of a triple relay to Newcastle from Barrow (Ian Clark), Lancaster (Adrian Pennie) and Kendal (Jorge Goncalves) and with the help of our colleagues in Blood Bikes Cumbria (Terry Portock) and Northumbria Blood Bikes (Rob Wilks), the samples were delivered on time, despite Storm Barbara trying to wreak havoc.
It didn’t take long for the first job to come in with the first call of the Christmas holidays coming in at 6:15pm on Friday evening.
In total over the Christmas period we received 253 requests, with 43 of those coming on Christmas day itself. One highlight was the East manager Neil Demaline taking a trip from Blackburn through to Barrow. A 200 mile round trip from his home, which Neil himself admitted was long as he didn’t realise that Barrow was so far out. It has a LA postcode, how far can it be!
The runs didn’t stop when the phone lines closed at 2am on Wednesday morning. During the morning Duncan Oag took control of a special relay to Manchester Hospital on behalf of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay. At 8am Bart Purvis left Furness General Hospital with new born baby samples. He went to Westmorland General Hospital to meet Dougie France who was collecting samples from there. Dougie then went with both hospitals samples to Lancaster where he handed them to Bob Bryne who had also collected new born samples from Lancaster Royal Infirmary. Bob then took all 3 sets of samples down to the Tickled Trout where he met up with Paul Brooks who took them on the rest of their journey to St Marys Hospital in Manchester with the delivery being made at 11:19am.
Not only do our riders and controllers give up their Christmas to help the local hospitals, they are also prepared to take on runs when the charity is closed. If it means that they can help save lives while saving the NHS money. Ask each person who was on duty over the holiday period , why? and you will get a variety of answers, but there is one thing that they will all agree on and that is one of the reasons they do what they do is that they enjoy it and they get a personal satisfaction out of being able to help others.