968. Cecil Turner
Cecil Turner, from Yeovil, is the founder and President of the ‘Yeovil Freewheelers’, an out-of-hours courier service launched in 1978 to transports urgently needed medical items such as blood, biological samples, medical notes, x-rays and medicines.
The service is provided completely free of charge to the NHS and all members of Yeovil Freewheelers are volunteers. The charity is the oldest operational blood bike group in the country, linking up all the local hospitals and GP surgeries in the South Somerset and North Dorset area. The charity saves the NHS and Yeovil Hospital a minimum of £85,000 per year, a figure based on the cost of using private couriers and taxis to provide a similar service.
In a personal letter to Cecil, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“By establishing ‘Yeovil Freewheelers’ forty years ago you have shown tremendous dedication to supporting the NHS. Under your leadership as President of the oldest blood bike group in the country, you are providing a valuable service across South Somerset and North Dorset.”
Martin Surrey, Chairman of the ‘Yeovil Freewheelers’, said:
“When we got the call to say he had been chosen to receive the award, Cecil and the ‘Yeovil Freewheelers’ were shocked and very proud that we had been. All the volunteers do their job day in and day out and ask for nothing in return. So when we are recognised by others it is satisfying to know someone out there sees what we do.”
Cecil added: “Night and day, we find a way!”