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Lions Handover £6000 to Freewheelers

Frome Lions handed over a cheque for £6,000 to Freewheelers Emergency Voluntary Service, better known as Blood Bikes.

The Lions raised the` amount with the Lions Gentleman’s Sporting Dinner held back in January at Orchardleigh House when over 100 paying guests enjoyed John Conteh, the ex light heavyweight world champion boxer, give a super after dinner speech about his life and career.

Matt Sims (pictured), rider for Freewheelers also addressed the guests about what they did which most people simply did not know about and put his bike on display for guests who donated money to sit on.

The Lions would like to thank all who helped, especially Chris Vincent for the use of Orchardleigh House and its catering team; master of ceremonies Dennis Barnard; auctioneer for the evening David Millard and all those who donated prizes and supported the event.

The Freewheelers charity is one of the founding members of the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes and this is their 25th   year. They have about 100 unpaid volunteer members of which about 70 are riders who deliver blood, medical supplies, diagnostic specimens for testing, scans and x-rays to and from hospitals across the South West of England by motorbike.

The Freewheelers provide an out of hour’s courier service of evenings between 7pm until 7am and weekends with at least three motorbikes.  They cover a large area around Bristol’s BRI, Bath’s RUH and Taunton’s Musgrove Hospitals and which including Frome’s Hospital and Medical Centre.

The riders are all over 25 and hold advanced training qualifications, also there are volunteers who answer phones and coordinate the riders and some are fundraiser as the charity needs some £90,000 a year to cover the running costs.

Because of the increasing miles each bike is covering – some 35,000 to 40,000 miles a year – the group is planning to cut this by operating 4 bikes with the purchase of a new bike at an extra cost of approximately £18,000.

Avon and Somerset Police help by servicing the bikes at their garages as they use the same type of bikes the police use.

The Freewheelers, in recognition of the outstanding service provided, were awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service, equivalent to a MBE in 2008.

You can find out more about the charity or can donate by visiting their website www.freewheelers.org.uk