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Lab team clocks up the miles in thanks to volunteer bikers

A team of Morriston Hospital staff has gone an extra six miles to mark a special anniversary of its partnership with two-wheeled volunteers.

When Laboratory Medicine staff realised they had been collaborating with Blood Bikes Wales for a decade they decided to walk a mile for each year of the partnership to raise money for the charity as a thank you.

Unfortunately the team, which targeted climbing Pen y Fan, set off in the wrong place and ended up walking 16 miles instead of the planned 10!

Despite the navigational error they are on course to raise more than £1,500 for the volunteer bikers who pick up and deliver vital blood samples, enabling the busy lab to continue to function out of hours and at weekends.

The fundraising coincided with this year’s Volunteers' Week (1-7 June) – which celebrated the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering in their communities.

Elizabeth Berry, a biomedical scientist in Morriston, said: “The Blood Bikes have been working with the Laboratory Medicine team in Morriston Hospital for 10 years now so we really wanted to do something to celebrate that. 

“We came up with the idea of a sponsored walk along a horseshoe route around Pen y Fan that was 10 miles long – a mile for every year.

“On the day we ended up walking 16 miles! 

“Nevertheless it was great. Everyone had a really good day and said how much they enjoyed it.”

Elizabeth explained the role the blood bikers carry out when health board drivers aren’t available.

She said: “They provide an essential service. 

“During the week we have our own drivers who do hourly runs through the day but if there is an urgent case the blood bikers can bring them up quicker.

“They also transport all samples for us on a weekend. If, for example, there was a test that we don’t do on a weekend in Morriston, but they do it in Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, we just ring the Blood Bikes and they will take the samples up for us. 

“It also works the other way, as we have the main lab, and they will bring samples from our other hospitals.

“I’ve been here 10 years - so they started when I started - but I do know that we used to spend a lot of money on taxis before they came along. 

“They are all voluntary and a great help to us. So for us to raise a bit of money to help them out is the least we can do.”

Jonathan Sauro, also a biomedical scientist, said it took the party of 20 around 9 hours to complete the walk.

He said: “It was a nice experience seeing the beautiful countryside. It was a lovely day weather wise so we got to see some beautiful sights.”

Laboratory Medicine staff pictured on Pen y Fan
He was equally complimentary of the blood bikers. 

He said: “Anytime you need them after 5pm on a Monday until midnight Sunday they are here for us. They will take any sample we’ve got to any hospital.

“They do a brilliant job so if we can do something small like this then it’s all good.

“It costs £500 to fuel two bikes for a weekend. At the moment we have raised just over £1,500.”

Blood biker David Scourfield said: “We go wherever we’re required within the western NHS area, picking up samples, bloods, sometimes office stuff, anything and everything really.”

Responding to the kind donation he said: “We’re absolutely flabbergasted with the gesture. Without these kind donations we would struggle.”

Fellow blood biker Trevor Richards added: “It’s absolutely brilliant. Without them the bikes wouldn’t be running. We rely upon these people to keep the bikes running so we can do the work for the NHS and the people who need it.”

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