Charity of the month: SERV Herts & Beds Bloodruners

SERV Herts and Beds riders on a training run

SERV Herts and Beds riders on a training run - Credit: submitted

For the past seven years SERV Herts and Beds Bloodrunners have been saving lives and thousands of pounds at hospitals and hospices

John McCombe wearing a SERV H&B jacket sponsored by Abbotts Langley Tough 10 committee

John McCombe wearing a SERV H&B jacket sponsored by Abbotts Langley Tough 10 committee - Credit: submitted

While most of the county sleeps, a team of voluntary emergency response motorbike riders and drivers saves lives in Hertfordshire and beyond by carrying blood for transfusions and milk for babies in neonatal care. On call throughout the night, the team at SERV Herts and Beds, aka the Bloodrunners, delivers life-saving products, which also includes biological samples, vaccines, medical notes, x-rays and scans to NHS hospitals, milk banks and hospices.

The group of bike enthusiasts as well as drivers was founded in 2009 by Duncan Neill, Peter Cox and John Wigglesworth, as part of the SERV (Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers) national organisation, set up in 1981.

Today, it supports six hospitals including the Lister in Stevenage, the new QE II in Welwyn GC, Bedford, Watford General and most recently Luton and Dunstable. It also supports the UK Milk Bank at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea maternity hospital and the neighbouring Hammersmith Hospital in London, plus two hospices, Sue Ryder at Moggerhanger and Keech Hospice in Luton. The team averages more than 20 call outs ‘and rising’ every week and each trip saves a hospital between £75 and £100.

John McCombe, SERV chairman and trustee, said, ‘SERV Herts and Beds has 80 active volunteers. Most are motorcyclists, but we also have a significant number of car and 4x4 drivers. Included in the overall numbers are 10 controllers, who manage the riders and drivers, but may also ride or drive.’

Why does he give his time to the charity? ‘I volunteer to give something back to both county’s communities. The chance to use my motorcycle in doing this is an added bonus.’

The group has also provided a motorbike escort to the all-women nightime Watford Starlight Walk which raises funds for the Peace Hospice in the town.

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The charity is funded entirely by public donations and sponsors and by its volunteers, who pay their own fuel and maintenance costs and receive no expenses. Donations are are used to provide rider and driver training, high-visibility jackets, identity passes and receipt books.

SERV Herts and Beds is always in need of new volunteers. It especially needs controllers, who are not required to go out on deliveries. To find out more, visit or volunteer your services via

The group also raises funds by giving illustrated talks on its work. If you are a member, secretary or guest speaker organiser for a club or association and are interested in a Bloodrunner talk, contact John McCombe on 07733 022550.

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