NOT many priests own a Harley-Davidson, let alone an ex-MoD
police Honda ST1100, but the Revd Ian Byrne (above, right)
is frequently called on to deliver urgently needed blood to several
hospitals, including Addenbrooke's, in Cambridge, and the Queen
Elizabeth, in King's Lynn.
Mr Byrne was in the army for 30 years before being ordained in
2001, and is still a keen motorcyclist. He is now Priest-in-Charge
of Holy Trinity with St Mary, Bungay, in St Edmundsbury
& Ipswich diocese.
He is also a volunteer with the Norfolk Blood Bikers, part of
the Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers (SERV). Since the service
started in 2011, calls on their help have rapidly escalated, and
they have so far dealt with 304 this year. "We support the NHS by
providing a free courier service," Mr Byrne, who is 60, says.
"Sometimes we meet up with other county SERV groups, so that
platelets or other blood products can be couriered into London, or
wherever they are needed. We usually operate between 7 p.m. and 7
a.m., which suits me, as it does not interfere with parish duties.
We have 52 volunteers, and we are all enthusiasts. But it's about
giving something back to the community. The NHS really does need
us, and it makes it worth doing."
Recently, he was asked by the Lions Club of Southwold to attend
a fund-raising event - supported by the town's Red Lion pub - with
one of his group's five "blood bikes", with the result that he was
been handed a cheque for £1000 for Norfolk SERV.