BPE began its partnership with Severn Freewheelers in January 2020 following a campaign led by software developer Karen Marsh who volunteers as a delivery coordinator between hospitals throughout Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and North Wiltshire. In December, BPE announced that the partnership will extend into 2021.
Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, the blood bike charity has provided an invaluable supporting role to the NHS. Karen volunteered over Christmas, coordinating speedy deliveries and exchanges of essential medical supplies and samples to those who needed it most.
During the shifts that Karen volunteered for (7pm on 23 December to 7am on 24 December and 7pm on Christmas Eve to 7pm on Boxing Day) she supported 99 jobs, her busiest shift to date. Across these two periods, Karen coordinated five motorcycle riders and one car driver who covered 2,800 miles between them.
Over her shift, Karen coordinated with similar charity groups in different regions. One job included working with SERV Wessex to transport baby blood samples from Swindon to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, while another required working with Blood Bike Wales to get medication to a patient in Llandrindod Wells from Hereford.
Severn Freewheelers also assisted SERV OBN (Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Northamptonshire) to get urgent blood samples from Stoke Mandeville Hospital and Northampton General Hospital to Bristol. However, the largest single job was a blood sample from Hereford County Hospital to Birmingham Children’s Hospital – a round trip of 115 miles.
Karen has been volunteering for Severn Freewheelers for over ten years and this year has been the busiest she has seen it. She said, “Severn Freewheelers has been incredibly in demand throughout 2020 and I am so proud that we have been able to support the NHS through such a challenging year.”
BPE has been supporting the charity through remote activities such as a step challenge and a virtual pub quiz for staff.
Severn Freewheelers costs £70,000 a year to run and saves the NHS an estimated £450,000. If you would like more information about the charity, please visit the Severn Freewheelers website.