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Cú Chulainn blood bikers

Olivia Ryan ·

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Cu Chulainn Blood Bikes volunteers with 2 blood bikes including Kevin Ayres and Derek Duffy with their BMW 1200 motorcycles

Newly launched in the north east, the volunteer members of Cú Chulainn Blood Bikes provide a vital transport service of blood samples and other medical items.

A relatively new phenomenon in Ireland, the 'blood bikers' travel across the country, wherever needed, collecting and delivering items which are essential to patient treatment, care and recovery.

But for the bikers behind the service, it is the desire to 'give something back to the community' which has spurred them on.

That, and their love of motorbikes!

'For us riders, we just had a sense of being able to use something that we love doing to help others,' says Derek Duffy, chair of Cú Chulainn Blood Bikes.

Members are drawn from all walks of life, he explains. Some already work, or have worked, in front line emergency services.

There are gardai and paramedics involved, but also ordinary people who want to be a part of what can be a life saving service.

'But not all our volunteers are bikers. We also need people who can do the organisational and back up aspects of the service.

He explains that Cú Chulainn Blood Bikes.ie was formed on April 1st of 2016 , with the aim of providing a service to local HSE hospitals and hospices in Armagh, Cavan, Meath, Monaghan and Louth.

'We provide a voluntary service to the HSE north region for the collection and transportation of blood, blood products, human tissues, patient files / x - rays and infant milk.

So far, they have signed a service level agreement with Cavan General Hospital, but say they are willing to work with all hospitals in the region.

For many hospitals, the use of taxis and at times ambulances, has been commonplace for the collection and delivery of bloods, x-rays, files and other essential patient items.

But the blood bikes service, which has been in operation in a number of parts of the UK as aback up to the NHS since the 1960s, offer to carry out the service free of charge, and often at reduced times given the mobility of motorbikes.

An entirely voluntary service, the Cú Chulainn Blood Bikes have just been awarded their charity number, and will be appealing for the public's support as they launch fundraising over the coming months across Louth, Meath, Cavan and Monaghan.

Flag days are expected to be held in Dundalk in early 2018, and the group are hoping these will also create awareness about the service.

'We are also looking for volunteers to help us provide this service. These can be riders or non-riders,' explained Derek.

He said that riders do have to hold advanced 'ROSPA' qualifications in order to join.

'But we need lots of support from those to develop the service across the region, and are hoping that people who are interested in joining will contact us through our facebook page

The Argus

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Cu Chulainn Blood Bikes volunteers with 2 blood bikes including Kevin Ayres and Derek Duffy with their BMW 1200 motorcycles