TRANSPORTING blood, organs, tissue and human milk across Warrington and beyond is no easy task.

But a group of volunteers are helping the NHS to carry out lifesaving tests by riding their motorbikes all over the country.

Blood Bikes is a charity run by volunteers which relieves the NHS of the cost of transporting blood - saving the service £200,000 a year.

Rob Wilkinson, haematology and blood transfusion service manager at Warrington Hospital, said: "I was approached in 2016 by a trustee of Cheshire and Merseyside Blood Bikes who said they would like to do some urgent blood runs for us.

"We did some trial runs and thy turned out great.

"They now do all of our urgent out of hour runs for samples going to Alder Hey, Manchester, Liverpool and even Birmingham.

"Taking on the urgent care centre at Halton, the Blood Bikes are integral to our operation, I don't know what to do without them."

Before Blood Bikes, Warrington Hospital would use taxis and couriers which were a great expense to the NHS.

Money that was spent on transport is now given to patient care.

Rob added: "Having cover 24 hours a day, seven days a week is fantastic.

Warrington Guardian:

"When children come into A&E overnight and require an urgent test that is only done at Alder Hey, we will call these guys up and they will be here."

Last year the group completed 6400 runs and are set to smash that record in 2019.

Jo Brown, a mum-of-two, is the only female rider covering the region and says her love for biking makes the job easy and rewarding.

She said: "I do the ironing in my leathers as you have to be ready to go.

"Everyone has a day job, kids and other hobbies but we do this because we care.

"You get a bit of a buzz when a call comes through as you never know what the job will be.

"We get an amazing sense of satisfaction and it is humbling to be part of such a fantastic group."

Riding their aptly named Vampire Bikes, riders are kept safe on the roads by volunteer operators who dispatch them on jobs.

They also took the joke 'popping out for a pint of milk' to an extreme this year by driving breast milk to Ireland where there is a shortage.

Jayne Molyneux, secretary, said: "The riders would collect from the milk bank in Chester and drive it to the ferry at Holyhead who provide a free carriage across to Ireland.

Warrington Guardian:

"Irish colleagues meet us on the other side and deliver the milk to the hospitals where it is distributed all across Ireland for premature babies.

"The fact they can get out on their bike which they love, and help the NHS is really satisfying."

Peter Wood is a former police motorcyclist and joined the blood bike team when he retired in 2016 after deciding to put his life and work skills to further use.

Warrington Guardian:

He spent the day last week ferrying blood for two transfusions for a patient at a hospice - making the difference between life and death.

So next time you see a blood bike out and about, be sure to make way as you will be helping to save a life.