Devon Freewheelers volunteers, ‘rightly proud’ to be supporting Air Ambulance Week (September 6-12), have released a short video of how the charity supports the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.
Volunteer Peter Norster, is one of a team of eight drivers who lives near Dorchester, who delivers blood products from Dorset County Hospital to the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, on the Dorset-Somerset border.
The specially-marked blood car is on stand-by, parked at the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Station, Poundbury, ready for the team to operate around the clock, 356 days a year.
Peter said: “The team of Devon Freewheelers volunteer drivers are rightly proud to be assisting the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance in any way possible.”
Devon Freewheelers volunteers also courier life-saving blood products and ventilators between Dorset County Hospital and the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, located at Henstridge Airfield.
Peter, a volunteer for Devon Freewheelers since 2020, said: “In the event of the blood having to be used at the scene of an incident, an unscheduled replenishment is undertaken, often at short notice.
“So far this month there have already been three unscheduled replenishments. In an average year, the blood is used to save lives on about 30 to 40 occasions.
“On the day that this film was made, the designated driver received a call from the Honiton-based Devon Freewheelers controller at 1.15am informing him that an unscheduled replenishment was required, and to collect the blood from Dorset County Hospital at 7am.
“That delivery was with the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance by 8am.
“As this was a designated scheduled delivery day, the driver undertook the routine delivery later that afternoon.”
Peter added: “Blood products are packed in special insulated cases. This ensures that the blood products will be maintained at a temperature of 4°C for up to three days.
“However, the supply is to be replenished after approximately two days in order that it can be safely returned to the Dorset County Hospital Blood Bank and re-stored for use within the hospital.”
He said: “A team of eight volunteer drivers living in and around Dorchester, including one in Bridport, use a specially-marked car, supplied by the Henry Surtees Foundation, to deliver blood products from the Dorset County Hospital to Henstridge Airfield.
“The car is parked at the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Station in Poundbury.
“The team operates and is available 24/7, and 365 days a year, on a predetermined rota system."
- The Devon Freewheelers blood car and volunteer drivers will be attending the Frontline Coffee Shop in Portland, Dorset, on Saturday, September 11, to celebrate the launch of Lift Off – the café’s new coffee brand with 100 per cent of profits being donated to the Air Ambulance UK charity.
The Frontline Coffee Shop was founded by firefighters and donates its profits to the NHS, RNLI and emergency services charities.
- Photos show: The Devon Freewheelers blood car with the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.
- Devon Freewheelers volunteer Graham at one of the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance runs.