The stage was set – with a gaggle of celebrities such as ‘ Multiple World Superbike winner & King of The Jungle, Carl ‘Foggy’ Fogarty, Richard ‘The Hamster’ Hammond, and the Emergency Bikers ‘Forest & Flymo’ leading the ride in from Meole Brace in Shrewsbury, it was shaping up to be a good day ahead for the Midlands biking community.
Add to the mix the welcome yet unexpected bright sunshine and we had a recipe for an exceptionally busy day for the SSBB team in attendance and so it proved to be!
With many of our intrepid team taking liveried bikes to the ride out from Meole, SSBB were able to join in with some of our compatriots from both The Midlands Freewheelers and Devon Freewheelers in leading at the head of the parade – showing an impressive Blood Bike presence to several hundred members of the general public who were out showing their support by lining the lay-bys and bridges on the A5 and M54 and waving to the passing parade.
I expect that many will be suffering arm-ache this morning – as an estimated 3500 motorcycles closed the M54 for over an hour as they made their way to Cosford. In fact so long was the line, that whilst Foggy and the front-runners were arriving at Cosford, the back end of the queue was still leaving from Shrewsbury! Meanwhile at Cosford, the remaining SSBB team members were busy setting up shop in the safety village area.
An interesting development came about during the morning when we had ‘Doctor Nick’ from The Air Ambulance come onto the stand to talk to us about a new initiative they are hoping to run clinical trial’s and roll out to Blood Bike groups across the UK – if they can muster the necessary support and funding.
Presently, Air Ambulances throughout the world are only able to carry plasma/saline on board when attending major incidents. The trial would allow the Air Ambo to carry Blood on board – which would be a world first if approved!
In which event it is anticipated that Blood Bike Groups would interface by providing blood supplies directly from Hospital to the relevant Air Ambo group. Their task was to collect 1000 signatures form the general public on the day and we were introduced to two full-time employees of QE Hospital who were there to muster public support. We invited them to put a table on our stand and working together I understand that we were able to help smash this total for them – for which they were eternally grateful – and yet another great contact established!
We had a steady stream of interest throughout the morning, but nothing could have prepared us for the ‘Tsunami’ that was about to hit us when the riders started filtering in at 12:15!
It was a case of ‘standing room only’ as a swathe of bikers were corralled past the stand and it was difficult to keep up with, even with the goodly number of helpers on hand.
Paul C was invited to the stage to be interviewed by the organisers and later (much to the amusement of all) Martin L and Steve H were invited to take part in a competition whereby the fastest around slalom had to be given the ‘kiss of life’ by a Blood Biker! The fact that all but one of the participants were male didn’t exactly sit comfortably with our macho duo – but they valiantly put their pride on the line in support of a good cause!
To cap it all – we were able to raise £305.95 on the day – which was a real bonus to us as we were only permitted to ‘raise awareness’ last year as this is of course an Midlands Air Ambulance charity event.
A great day all round and huge thanks to the team, Nigel B, Steve H, Jon & Tracy H, Martin H, Phil S, Steve and Mandy C, Andy & Zoe W, Gary S, Becca L, Martin L and anybody else that I might have missed – without you this could not have happened
Report by Paul C