Fringe Box



Blood Runners Are Desperate For ‘Friends’

Published on: 5 Jul, 2013
Updated on: 6 Jul, 2013
Bloodrunners... working while you are sleeping...

Blood Runners… working while you are sleeping…

Could you be a Blood Runner?

The Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers charity (SERV) based near Slyfield in Guildford is desperate for volunteers to run a new friends group in order to keep the service going.

SERV was initially set up in Surrey in 1981 and has since grown throughout the county to supply quick and reliable means of transporting emergency blood products to the hospitals and medical facilities at night. It operates between 7pm and 6am, free of charge. Of the 80 volunteers across Surrey and south London, 10 volunteers live in the Guildford borough.

Blood Runner on fleet bike.

Blood Runner on fleet bike.

SERV is entirely funded by private donation, street collections, talks to other benevolent charities such as rotary, round table and Masonic lodges. It is just about to launch a summer raffle.

Tim Goodman, an advanced motorcycling instructor and fund-raiser for SERV, said: “We run pretty lean, currently volunteers don’t get reimbursed for time or fuel, so it’s a pretty big ask for someone to be on duty twice a month from 7pm to 6am, riders could easily burn £15 a night so in effect they are donating £30 themselves each month. We would like to rectify that and hopefully fund-raising will get to a point where we can.”

Peter Walker first became aware of SERV at a rotary club meeting and is now a new member himself, he said: “Friends are seen as the important back-up to our work who could provide the wherewithal to keep us going.”

“The front line volunteers give generously of their time and it is unrealistic to expect them, additionally, to turn up in force for street collections or organise events such as sponsored walks, coffee mornings, raffles, and other fund-raising efforts that are necessary to ensure that we have the capacity to operate successfully.

When asked about the costs to run the service Tim Goodman said: “Recruiting is selective. Ideally they want people to have an advanced qualification in motor cycle riding …but if they don’t have one SERV would assist would-be riders with the fees charged by organisations such as the Institute of Advanced Motorcyclists. We also have publicity and vehicle maintenance costs.”

Andrew Mason, the lead biomedical scientist specialist and local laboratories at the Royal Surrey County NHS Foundation Trust explained how it would use the services of SERV: “The duty biomedical scientist in blood transfusion would call SERV when we need to get blood or blood products from St George’s Hospital in Tooting.”

“We would use SERV outside routine hours (10 to 15 times per month) when the blood products are not required extremely urgently. If they are we would use a blue light delivery. The SERV service has always been excellent.”

Tim Goodman with SERV 4x4

Tim Goodman with SERV 4×4.

Tim Goodman highlighted the benefits of volunteering for SERV and said: “You feel good, you make a difference. When you turn up and you are told a product is for maternity at Royal Surrey (for example), you think to yourself this is obviously been really worthwhile and between us we have made a difference.”

An important service to Guildford residents if they were to need premature baby services at the unit at St Peter’s Hospital is that SERV works with the United Kingdom Association for Milk Banking, a charity offering collection and delivery of breast milk to the premature baby.”

One of the volunteer riders, Ray Semmens has written a diary of a night as a SERV rider and says they volunteer “for the pleasure of knowing that we may have made a difference to someone’s life”.

SERV also supports the air ambulance helicopter based in Redhill and is called to replenish its stocks.

If you are able to support SERV by starting up a friends group or would like to know more contact: Tim Goodman via

Peter Walker and Tim Goodman at SERV office Guildord

Peter Walker and Tim Goodman at SERV office Guildord.

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