A VITAL blood service looks set to cope with the predicted big freeze thanks to a £2,500 donation from steel chiefs.
UK Steel Enterprise has stepped in to help Tees Valley Blood Bike Service which is run by volunteer motorcycle riders and helps keep vital blood and tissue samples from local hospitals moving right through the winter.
Hartlepool police community support officers (PCSOs) Jon Formstone and Mark Say set up Tees Valley Blood Bike to back-up the NHS courier system.
The service, operating under the umbrella of the White Knights charity, started in June and helps save the NHS money with a 7pm to 7am blue-light transport service.
UK Steel Enterprise, the Tata Steel business support subsidiary, has now donated £2,500 from its Community Fund to the service and the money will go towards keeping two newly purchased winter bikes, capable of dealing with severe weather, on the road.
Jon said: “We started with seven riders and two bikes that were very generously donated to us.
“All the money we need to maintain the bikes, provide insurance, kit and fuel comes from public and business donations so we spend a lot of our spare time fundraising and it is hard work.
“The contribution from UK Steel Enterprise’s Community Fund has given us a real boost and everyone at the charity is extremely grateful for this funding.
“Our current priority is to keep these new bikes running right through the winter, whatever the weather, and we also want to keep expanding the service.”
The service is already carrying out about 30 trips a month and the money it saves for the NHS can be diverted back into patient care.
Simon Hamilton, regional manager for UK Steel Enterprise, said: “The White Knights are doing a great job helping to provide the best possible service for patients across Tees Valley.”