Priest delivers life-saving blood across Norfolk
By day Bungay vicar Ian Byrne is a church minister but after hours things hot up as the ‘blood biker’ gets astride a specially adapted motorbike to deliver life-saving blood supplies to hospitals across Norfolk.
For, as well as being vicar at Bungay, Barsham
in north Suffolk
, the 60-year-old also volunteers for the Norfolk Blood Bikers,
part of the Service by Emergency Rider Volunteer
When called upon, Ian will head to Addenbrookes,
the James Paget
the Norfolk and Norwich
or the Queen Elizabeth Hospital
in King’s Lynn
– providing vital help for those that require urgent blood deliveries throughout the night.
When the service started in 2011, it provided just 29 runs, increasing to 250 in 2012 and 304 this year to date, as Ian explains: “We support the NHS by providing a free courier service,” he says. “Sometimes we meet up with other county SERV groups so that platelets or other blood product can be couriered into London or wherever it is needed. We usually operate between 7pm and 7am which suits me as it does not interfere with parish duties.
“We have 52 volunteers and we are all enthusiasts. But it’s about giving something back to the community. The NHS really does need us and that makes it worth doing.”
Ian, who owns a Harley Davidson and ex MoD police Honda ST 1100, served in the Army for 30 years before joining the clergy in 2001. In July he was asked by the Lions of Southwold to attend a fundraising event – supported by the town’s Red Lion pub – with one of his group’s five ‘blood bikes’.
Recently he was on hand to receive a £1,000 cheque on behalf of Norfolk SERV. ‘The Lions and the pub really have been brilliant,’ he said.
Pictured above, the Revd Ian Byrne receives a cheque for £1,000 from Southwold Lions President, Phil Slater. Picture by www.ripplepr.co.uk