An angel has arrived at the Countess of Chester Hospital - with wheels rather than wings.
Shropshire and Staffordshire Blood Bikes (SSBB) have unveiled a brand new bike called Angel that will be used to transport blood products, samples and breastmilk.
Led by volunteers, the charity started transporting blood products on a trial basis for the hospital last April which has proven to be a big success.
The new Yamaha FJR 1300 blood bike was purchased following a £10,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund being awarded to the charity.
It has been named Angel after blood bike volunteer Steve Hunter’s first granddaughter, who was stillborn, or ‘born asleep’ at the hospital five years ago.
Steve, 63, and his family have never forgotten how staff looked after them during what was a tough time.
He said: “The care received here made such a difference.
“The staff were brilliant. It was quite a difficult time and the staff let them have time with her.”
Angel’s parents had been expecting to have a boy and had not prepared any girls names, but on her delivery when staff said she looked like ‘a little angel they decided that would be the perfect name for her.
All 12 bikes in the SSBB’s fleet are named for poignant tributes such as Angel or to say thank you to donors and organisations.
SSBB Chair Helen Bundy said: “It was a very special day for our charity to have Angel officially launched as part of our fleet. Angel will play a big part in continuing to provide a service to the Countess and to expand upon those services as required. Our Cheshire riders are delighted with her arrival as are we all.”
Lord Mayor of Chester Angela Claydon, who cut the ribbon on the new bike in a ceremony that the Countess’ new lead governor Tom Bateman also attended, was touched by how the charity supports the community.
She said: “It’s marvellous to see volunteers helping the hospital in this way and the bike Angel will prove invaluable to the people in this area.”
The charity, which has 220 members and recently celebrated its third birthday, has had a long-standing relationship with the Countess delivering samples for the Northwest Human Milk Bank for 18 months.
Pathology quality manager Kathleen Holden said: “It is great that the rest of the hospital staff had the opportunity to meet members of the SSBB and hear what a fantastic service they are providing to the Countess.
“We greatly value the commitment and dedication that the team of volunteers and the riders demonstrate serving us 365 days a year to deliver blood products, patient samples and breast milk for the Northwest Human Milk Bank.”
SSBB are always looking for new volunteers in the area, as riders or controllers to take calls from the hospitals.
To find out more visit wwwww.ssbbgroup.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.