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Featured in the May 2014 issue

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They need your support!

If you are thinking ‘what is the Lincolnshire Emergency Blood Bikes Service?’ LEBBS will be disappointed as it means they still have a way to go with public awareness.

LEBBS is about saving lives. The service was established in 2012 and went live in April 2013 to provide a free courier service transporting essential medical items – including blood, plasma, platelets, biological samples, x-rays, medical notes and breast milk – between hospitals and healthcare facilities within Lincolnshire and they are desperate for your support.

Currently there are twenty-two Blood Bike groups covering 102 counties in the UK and reaching more than 85% of the country’s population. Planned expansion will extend coverage to over 54 million people. The main aims of the charity are: to save lives; to save money for the National Health Service; and to promote a positive image of motorcyclists to the public.

The treasurer for LEBBS is Martin Wright and through this article he would like to take a few minutes to explain how he got involved and how LEBBS helps the local community by assisting the hospitals in Lincolnshire. This will hopefully enhance public awareness.

“I retired from the Royal Air Force about three years ago after some thirty-nine years and wanted to fill my time doing something worthwhile,” says Martin. “I have had motorcycles since I was sixteen, so there was a strong appeal with LEBBS. I joined in late 2012 and as they needed committee positions, I found myself as treasurer! 

“LEBBS takes its lead from the NHS Trust. We work during the ‘silent’ hours – that is from 7pm on a Friday to 7am on the following Monday morning. At present, the NHS covers the working week but we have been approached to assist here too.

“We started in April 2013 taking on Boston and Grantham Hospitals. In June we took on Lincoln, which now means our delivery service includes, but is not limited to, Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Sheffield Hospitals.

“Each volunteer gives his/her availability for a period of one month ahead, so we can rota the work schedule appropriately. Currently we have just over sixty riders – some are a little too far outside the limits, as we have told the hospitals that we can be with them within the hour. We can use these volunteers as we bring in more hospitals.

Our fleet comprises six motorcycles and two cars. The cars are mainly for use in extreme weather conditions – one is a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Essentially the hospital places a call with the duty controller; he or she then calls the nearest duty rider to make the delivery. Once delivery is completed the rider contacts the controller to let them know they are back safe, and available for another run. The bike remains with the rider for the duration of the duty period. He or she then forwards it on to the next duty rider.”

LEBBS is a registered charity, and as such relies on sponsors, donations and fundraising; their volunteers, at present, even pay for their own fuel used during their duty. LEBBS are out most weekends trying to raise money, and if you visit their website you can follow exactly where they are during this year. LEBBS have had a terrific response from the Lincolnshire community, whose financial support enabled them to establish this service in 2013 but the need for resources is an ongoing problem – the need for more bikes grows as they extend their services to more hospitals.

Like every charity, they do need more income. If they could involve more sponsors and enjoy some further regular donations it would be a tremendous advantage. If they could relieve their volunteers from having to pay for the fuel it would be an incredible achievement. The insurance alone works out at over £700 per bike, nearly £6,000 per year for all eight vehicles. 

As well as financial assistance, LEBBS still need volunteers. You don’t need to be a motorcyclist to help. At the moment they have a desperate need for more controllers; they are the first point of contact for the hospitals requiring assistance and all you need is a willingness to help and a telephone. Additionally, they need support at the fundraising events, just a few hours smiling on their stand would make such a difference; tea and coffee is free and great banter is guaranteed.

LEBBS is an amazing organisation, and richly deserves to gain further support from the community. Do visit their website www.lebbs.org where there is much more information about their activities and contact details for those who would like to help. Alternatively, Martin can be contacted at: treasurer@lebbs.org or give him a call on 07899 938192 – but be warned, he won’t let you go before you volunteer for something!

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