Severn Trent funds new £12k bike to help Severn Freewheelers deliver life-saving medical supplies

21st June 2024

Motorcycling volunteers who deliver life-saving medical supplies have moved into top gear after a £12,000 Severn Trent grant funded a new bike.

The Severn Freewheelers are called in to ferry blood samples, medicines, X-rays and even donated milk for premature babies, to hospitals, health centres and patient homes across Gloucestershire.

The charity relies on donations and fundraising to carry out its vital out-of-hours service, which also covers the Hereford and Worcestershire areas, plus north Wiltshire.

And the group recently took delivery of a brand new motorbike - appropriately nicknamed ‘Flo’ - after successfully applying for a grant from Severn Trent’s Community Fund.

Simon Grover is fundraising manager at the Severn Freewheelers, who have more than 150 advanced riders and volunteers on their books, who can be called in day and night to make the deliveries for the NHS.

The dad-of-two said: “We give our time for free but have no public funding, so rely on donations like this from Severn Trent and fundraising to exist.

“This new motorbike will help our team to continue to provide potentially life-saving deliveries across Gloucestershire and the other counties.”

The dedicated team of around 150 volunteers has been running since 2007 and currently operate from 7pm to 7am, Monday to Friday, and then across the weekend and during public holidays. The Severn Freewheelers have nine bikes and have completed more than 7,500 call outs in 2023, with each rider covering an average of 150 miles per shift.

Life-long biking enthusiast Simon, 58, said: “Our volunteers are incredibly dedicated and just want to give something back to their community. Many have full time jobs, yet still give up their spare time to help others.”

Simon has his own full-time job as a Tesco delivery driver, but says he and the team get huge fulfilment from their roles.

“Everyone has their own reason for helping, but they all just want to give something back,” said Simon, who has completed over 650 deliveries himself.

“It takes real team work for every one of the ‘tasks’ as we call them and we can sometimes even be called in for relay deliveries coming down from Scotland.

“For the riders, there is of course enjoyment from riding the bikes, but the real satisfaction is making a real difference by helping so many people.”

The group is staging its annual Prescott Bike Festival near Cheltenham this Sunday, June 23, to offer families a fun day out by celebrating all things motorcyclying -  and helping raise more much-needed funds.

Simon said: “We need to raise more than £80,000 every year for running costs and replacements. That’s why grants like the one from Severn Trent are so vital to our work.”

Jade Gough is an officer with the Severn Trent Community Fund, which has given away more than £400,000 to community projects across Gloucestershire since its launch in 2020. In total, the fund will give away £10m from 2020-2025 to good causes across the whole Severn Trent region.

Jade said: “Severn Freewheelers are a wonderful group of volunteers who are providing a much-needed service to people across Gloucestershire.

“We’re delighted to be able to help pay for a new bike to support the amazing work their hardworking and committed volunteers do.

“Our Community Fund was designed to help groups who are making a real difference in their community – and they’re doing exactly that.”