Why I volunteer by Paul Simmons

Kirsty Lawrence's picture

Why I volunteer…

“I first heard about Northumbria Blood Bikes through a BBC News article.

I started 'working' with Northumbria Blood Bikes in January 2016.  Actually, working is probably the wrong word as not one shift has ever felt like a day at work; despite now completing in excess of 40 shifts / 375 hours for the charity.  Everybody you are on shift with is generally like minded and it's always good craic; when you are lucky enough to have the quiet spells!  As for why, I enjoy riding my bike (yes, even in the rain!), so I thought it would be good to do something constructive with my time while riding.

I’m currently a rider, driver, coordinator… and occasional fundraiser.

As a project manager for the Civil Service I have a very busy day job that requires me to do a lot of travelling throughout the working week so the vast majority of my time is given at weekends, and the occasional night shift when I can actually take some leave from work; thankfully I have a very understanding family!

I've enjoyed every shift, be that coordinating or on the road with the bikes / cars.  That said, it's always amazing when you are engaging with the public at fundraising events, or even at the hospitals. The charity is very lucky to have such strong support from the public / local businesses; and all are very appreciative of our efforts.  Then there are other times on shift when it is very quiet on the roads in the early hours and I've encountered a fox cross the road in front of me and then sit there for a couple of minutes looking very perplexed by the brightly coloured bike!  I've been fortunate enough to see a few good sunrises too while most people are still dozing away.

My most memorable moment would have to be May Day just gone, it was a rare occasion when I took the car instead of a bike for shift, and it was a good job I did. With the two other bikes at opposite ends of our operational area, I was left covering the Newcastle area, which was just streaming with jobs, including requests for up to five boxes of blood products at one time from the local hospital (the most you can get on a bike is 2!). I ended up doing 21 jobs that day, and the 12 hour shift flew over.

Get yourself along to an induction session to meet some of the team and learn more about what we do.  I can promise you that you won't regret it!

My name is Paul Simmons and that is why I volunteer for Northumbria Blood Bikes.”

To sign up or for more information on the roles visit: http://www.northumbriabloodbikes.org.uk/support/volunteer