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John makes it his business to volunteer

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Published on 13 April 2020

Blood Biker John Dixon-Dawson
Blood Biker John Dixon-Dawson

John Dixon-Dawson knew he could utilise the skills he’s developed over the last three years volunteering for Northumbria Blood Bikes (NBB), transporting lifesaving blood and equipment throughout the region to North East NHS Trusts.

“NHS Volunteer Responders is a great way for us all to help our front-line workers at this difficult time, I joined as soon as it was announced as a Responder and I’m happy to help in any way I can,” explained John, a Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management in the University’s Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism. “I joined as an addition to the volunteering I do as a rider and driver for NBB.”

NBB is a charity staffed entirely by volunteers acting as motorcycle riders, car drivers, radio controllers, speakers to local groups and fundraisers. They provide out-of-hours services to all the North East NHS Trusts covering an area from Berwick in the north to Darlington Memorial Hospital in the south and as far west as Hexham. Working from 7pm to 7am every evening and 24 hours coverage on Saturday and Sunday 365 days a year, they move blood for the National Blood Transfusion Service, samples, medical notes, medical equipment and occasionally clinicians around the region.

In addition they are one of only two groups in the country approved to supply the Great North Air Ambulance and the Cumbria Air Ambulance with blood on a daily basis. The regional branch also picked up the Queen’s Award last year for voluntary service.

 John, who has been a keen motorcyclist for more than 30 years, says volunteering alongside many of his other colleagues, at a time of national crisis, was a natural extension of the work he already does with NBB.

He said: “All the team are volunteers who give their time freely to save Trusts having to pay for taxi and courier services, and ensure the service keeps running, with every penny collected through our fundraising going directly back into the charity.

“While we have seen a significant increase in our activities at the moment due to the coronavirus, because we transport samples, medical equipment, hospital notes, prescriptions or equipment, as well as blood, we are determined to support those NHS workers putting their own lives at risk for us all. The virus does not deter me though, we do this to support our NHS colleagues as best we can.

“I believe coronavirus has made people step back and take a look at the way we provide NHS services and the degree of expectation we place on frontline staff, and the contribution that the public is making to support that. It’s also that notion of community service, giving a little bit back, to the place you live and work.”

John, who has fundraised for various charities over the years through a variety of activities, added: “NBB is one of the most rewarding volunteer works I have ever undertaken, we receive tremendous support from the local community and especially from the various motorcycle groups and other community groups around the region. We get a lot of positive feedback from the NHS trusts and public at large.”

For more information about NBB, or to support fundraising, visit the website www.northumbriabloodbikes.org