A motorcycle delivery service which provides free around the clock emergency support to local health authorities in Cheshire and Merseyside has been named Merseyrail’s charity of the year for 2018.
Merseyside and Cheshire Blood Bikes use specially adapted motorcycles to transport blood, donor breast milk and other urgently required medical equipment to the region’s hospitals and hospices – saving them hundreds of thousands of pounds each year.
The partnership was announced at the rail operator’s Annual Stakeholder Reception which took place at Liverpool Town Hall at the end of last month.
Merseyside and Cheshire Blood Bikes was one of 17 local charities shortlisted on the evening, which were voted for by Merseyrail staff.
The charity was put forward by Mike Walsh, a guard who works out of the Birkenhead Central Train Crew Depot and is a voluntary rider for the organisation.
Vice chairman of Merseyside and Cheshire Blood Bikes Simon Dennett, who was presented with a £10,000 donation at the event said: “It was so unexpected to be named Merseyrail’s Charity of the Year, as there were so many other worthy organisations who had received nominations, so we are absolutely thrilled.
“We ended 2017 on a high by marking the completion of 6000 jobs – a record year for us, which saved the NHS in the region of £250,000. Being named charity of the year is simply the icing on the cake for us and the perfect way to start the year.
“All of our riders and fundraisers are voluntary and give up their time for free so we rely solely on public donations like these. It costs around £30,000 a year to fund our charity so these generous contributions will make a huge impact to the services we provide and means we can increase our level of support across the region.”
Now in its 15th year, Merseyrail’s annual charity partnership has generated donations in excess of £750,000 for various regional charities including the Clatterbridge Centre, the Community Link Foundation, Claire House and the Whitechapel Centre.
Throughout the year, Merseyside and Cheshire Blood Bikes will be invited to hold bucket collections at Merseyrail stations during major sporting and cultural events including The Grand National, the tenth anniversary of Capital of Culture and Liverpool International Music Festival, to name a few.
Merseyrail staff will also be encouraged to take part in sponsored events over the next twelve months as well as organise their own challenges to raise money for the charity.
Managing director at Merseyrail Andy Heath said: “If a friend or loved one required an urgent blood transfusion or medical supplies out of hours- most people would assume that there is a service in place that just makes this happen but it’s not that simple.
“Merseyside and Cheshire Blood Bikes make this possible. They help save our local health authorities thousands of pounds each year by carrying essential bloods and medical items between hospitals out of hours so they don’t have to rely on taxis or other paid for transport.
“It is a truly incredible organisation which makes a real difference and is made possible by generous volunteers who sacrifice their own time and work around the clock to provide this essential support service.
“We are honoured to have them as our chosen charity for 2018 and will work hard to raise as much money as possible through our fundraising efforts to help such a worthy cause which does so much for the people of Merseyside and Cheshire.”