409. John Stepney
A motorcyclist who has helped create a nationwide network to transport blood and urgently needed life saving supplies to hospitals, inspiring over 1,500 volunteers to respond to nearly 40,000 calls for assistance every year.
John Stepney, 57, Chairman of National Association of Blood Bikes (NABB) Bikes, has been involved in the cause for 10 years. The charities are staffed entirely by volunteers and provide a rapid response courier service for medical essentials to NHS hospitals free of charge. In this role he has successfully realised his vision for a national service coordinated centrally, offering a far more efficient service to help saves lives. Since the NABB was founded the number of Blood Bike charity groups has risen from 6 to 32 and he personally negotiated with the Treasury & HMRC to gain VAT recovery worth around £400,000 per year to the charities.
John wanted to do something more than just work for a big company and started volunteering for Blood Bikes after hearing about it through teaching motorcycle safety awareness. On finding out there was no such service in his area he was instrumental in setting up the Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and North Hants branch of Blood Bikes. That team now covers 14 hospitals with over 110 advanced qualified riders and responds to around 1,500 requests each year using a dedicated fleet of 8 motorcycles.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“The volunteers who give their time to staff Blood Bikes help to save countless lives every year by transporting blood and other vital medical supplies. By setting up his own local branch and going on to establish the first national coordinating body for Blood Bikes, John has enabled hundreds of volunteers to carry out thousands more life-saving journeys. I am delighted to recognise John as the UK’s 409th Point of Light.”
John has given over 100 presentations up and down the country, to various groups including motorcycle groups, to encourage more volunteers to sign up. On 28 November to 6 December Blood bikes will be at the UK’s biggest motorcycle event, Motorcycle Live, at the Birmingham NEC. NABB will have a stand at the show and will be on hand to talk to members of the public and potential sponsors about the work they do.
“I am surprised and delighted at being given this award. However, none of what we have achieved so far would have been possible without the continued selfless dedication shown day after day by over fifteen hundred volunteer bikers across the country. I am continually in awe and humbled by this ongoing dedication to serve the community. Their passion is my inspiration.”
Blood bikes work collaboratively with the NHS and the Treasury recently placed them in an equal tax playing field with Air Ambulances, officially recognising them as to the NHS what Lifeboats are to the emergency services. In addition the Government has recognised the part they play in delivering an emergency service and will shortly grant the blood bike community the same ‘Blue Light’ road traffic exemptions that are used currently by Fire, Police and Ambulance services.