Around 30 Life-Saving Hospital Journeys Thanks to Officers Blood Bike Service

Thursday, 15 September, 2011

L-R Jon Formstone (High Vis Jacket) and Mark Say with one of the blood bikes

The lives of children, adults and pensioners are being saved across Cleveland thanks to the tireless voluntary efforts of two Hartlepool Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) whose Tees Valley Blood Bike service has hit the streets.

A team of standby motorcycle riders have been called to take items such as blood, diagnostic specimens and medical equipment, sometimes in blue-light emergencies, around 30 times since the beginning of July.

As well as saving lives, the blood bike initiative saves the NHS money by providing voluntary motorbike riders on evenings and weekends when the internal courier system is not operating.

Jon Formstone, 36, and Mark Say, 28, embarked on bringing the emergency blue light service to the area back in October 2009 after motorcycling enthusiast Jon saw a reference to the National Association of Blood Bikes on the internet while looking for parts for his own bike.

Jon saw that the nearest service was in West Yorkshire led by a charity called the White Knights but that there was no service covering Cleveland. Both Jon and Mark approached the charity who agreed for them to lead on setting up a satellite branch in Cleveland under the White Knight's umbrella.

In order to raise money to start the service Jon, Mark and other supporters took to their bikes on a 3000 mile trip around the UK with the aim of fundraising £10,000 for fuel and a bike in which to launch the service.

Both officers were stunned when thanks to local media coverage two motorbikes were donated and after the bikes were kitted out and a board set up with Chairman Steve Basford at the helm, the bikes became available on June 6th providing a service to the University Hospital of Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees.

When the PCSOs are not pounding the streets of Hartlepool on foot being volunteers for the Blood Bike scheme, they also try and raise money to pay for the cost of fuelling the life saving trips.

Jon said: "We have carried out around 30 trips in just over a month which would have cost the NHS and the taxpayer if the Blood Bikes service wasn't available, so it shows how important the service is.

"Both myself, Mark and our other supporters are extremely passionate about the Blood Bikes, to know that you are potentially saving someone's life is a fantastic thing. We just want the service to grow and with support from the public and partners we truly believe it will."

Mark said: "The aim of bringing the Blood Bikes to fruition was to save lives, save money and put something back into local communities. Being a PCSO is a worthwhile role in which you work to protect the public and resolve neighbourhood priorities. Having a role in the Blood Bikes is an extension of that and is something that I love being involved in."

Commenting on the relentless voluntary work of the PCSOs, District Commander Glenn Gudgeon said: "The people of Hartlepool and beyond should be extremely proud of all the hard work and effort that these officers have put into starting such a worthwhile scheme in this area. I know they are just as dedicated to their roles within Cleveland Police and it is an asset to the Force that we have these two kind-hearted officers."

Paul Urwin from the pathology department at the trust said: "This is an absolutely fantastic service which not only benefits local people but provides a fast and efficient out of hour's delivery service."

Anyone wanting to get involved in becoming a volunteer motorcyclist needs to be over 25, have no more than six points on their licence and have an advanced certificate. Advanced training can be arranged through ROSPA.

Those wanting further information can contact Mark Say at:

or visit

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