In November last year, young North West Blood Bike rider, Niall Miller was attacked in Bolton as thieves tried to steal his bike. Niall has now returned to Bolton in happier circumstances.
While visiting a friend in Bolton, photography student Niall was targeted by 2 drunks, who when realising they wouldn’t be able to steal his bike, pushed it to the floor and stole equipment from it resulting in over £2000 worth of damage. As a result of the damage, Niall was unable to continue with his volunteering duties for North West Blood Bikes, a charity which transports urgent and emergency items on behalf of the local NHS Trusts, for free, when their own transport isn’t available.
With the help of members of the public and offers from businesses up and down the country, Nialls bike was repaired and he was soon back on the road making deliveries in the Central Lancashire area.
Over the Easter Bank holiday weekend, the charity received a call from the Neo-natal unit at Bolton Royal Hospital, with an unusual request. The hospital required some equipment to be collected from Chesterfield, South Yorkshire and be bought back to Bolton. This was a bit of an unusual request as the charity doesn’t normally serve Royal Bolton Hospital, but they do provide a service of transporting donor breast milk to the Neo-natal department on behalf of the North West Milk Bank based in Chester.
A few phonecalls took place and Leyland based Niall jumped at the opportunity and embarked on the 170 mile round trip. The Easter weekend is well known for being a major weekend for the biking community, with many of them taking the opportunity to go for pleasure rides to local beauty spots, taking advantage of the start of the good weather.
It would have been easy for Niall to take the option to spend time socialising with his friends, but instead chose to give something back to not just his home community, but the community of those who attacked him previously. Niall said “I love to ride and this was my chance to give something back to everyone who helped me get back on the road. Although I have had a bad time in Bolton, the Bolton people shouldn’t suffer. Who knows, those that attacked me may benefit indirectly from the service provided by blood bikes”
The journey was completed in less than 5 hours, but more importantly for free to the NHS, all costs including fuel were covered by Niall himself. The alternative to the service offered by North West Blood Bikes would be courier companies or taxis, with the cost being in excess of £100. Every penny saved by the NHS can be spent in patient care.
A spokesperson for the charity said “Occasionally we do receive the unusual requests from the hospitals, but our volunteers are always ready to help out when they can” he continued, “The riders are always happy to go the extra mile, in this case 170 miles. We have a number of members from the Bolton area, and in the past when we have had fundraising collections in Bolton, the members of the public have been very generous. It’s nice to be able to give them something in return”
The charity, which celebrates its 5th anniversary in May, operates 365 days a year serving the NHS trusts of Lancashire and South Lakes. It is estimated that in this period, the trusts have been saved in the region of £2 million. Many patients wouldn’t even know that this motorbike service has been involved in their care, and the charity rarely hear anything about the patients they help.