They are the unsung heroes of the night – a band of riders who courier medical supplies around the country, saving the NHS a fortune. Transporting blood, vital organs and baby’s milk from one hospital to another, they are helping to keep the NHS on its legs at a time of great need. They are the Blood Bikers: an unknown and essential volunteer group.
In a new short documentary, filmmakers Sarah Whitehead, David Hayes and Alex Brooke tell the story of the Blood Bikers through the eyes of the people giving up their time.
Sarah Whitehead first got in touch with the group whilst writing an article for The Guardian back in 2014:
‘For a long time I would see the occasional motorcyclist going down the motorway or waiting in a service station and there would be a box on the back of their bike. When I heard about what they did and how huge the blood network was I couldn’t believe how long I had gone without understanding the role they play for our community. Now I work in a hospital and I can see first hand how essential they are for the day to day existence of the NHS and I hope other people can now see this too.’
David Hayes said:
‘As soon as we started meeting these people we realised that we weren’t dealing with a traditional stereotypes of what a biker might look like! These were everyday people, often with day jobs, giving up their free time for different reasons. What struck us most was the humility. They aren’t expecting a pat on the back for this. They do it to give something back which is both humbling and inspiring.’
Alex Brooke said:
‘With increased pressure on services volunteers are becoming more and more vital in our daily lives. The country wouldn’t run without them, and nothing illustrates this more than the vital service Blood Bikers do. I hope this film inspires people to get out there and volunteer. It can genuinely change your life’.
The shoot took place over nearly two years as the team looked to get access to a variety of different people and places. From the dark streets of South London to the spectacular hills of the Lake District in Cumbria; the Blood Bikers travel everywhere, so the crew followed. The result is a moving tribute to the dedication of these riders and an insight into the benefits of volunteering.
The film was produced in association with Contra, a production company in London and is available to view online from Friday 16th November 2018.
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