New era dawns for blood bike charity
12:04 19 February 2013
Strong support as Devon Freewheelers move into permanent base.
It was a day of celebrations for Honiton-based Devon Freewheelers when the charity marked the official opening of its new headquarters in the town.
The charity, which transports much-needed medical supplies such as blood and breast milk to NHS hospitals, also received the keys to an ex-police demonstrator Kawasaki motorbike, donated by the Province of Devonshire Freemasons.
The Freemasons will also help fund the bike, which has been named MasonicLife, for a year
Sir John Evans, the former chief constable of Devon and Cornwall Police, and the Mayor of Honiton, Councillor David Foster, cut a ribbon to declare the Durham Way headquarters open last Friday.
Members of the community and also local businesses came out in force to support the Freewheelers.
AGM Solutions, in Honiton, surprised the charity’s founder, Daniel Lavery, by donating a cheque for £1,500.
Mr Lavery said: “I am absolutely delighted to open the new headquarters because we have been operational in Honiton since 2009 - now we have a home; we have a base and can be a permanent fixture in the town.
“This has always been a charity founded in Honiton and it belongs to this part of Devon.”
He added: “The additional machine is going to make such a difference to the service and the county.”
The Freewheelers currently have 53 volunteers and last year responded to 5,048 calls for the service – 16 calls a day.
Sir John Evans added: “They are a marvellous group of people, doing a splendid job.
“Many people may not realise that they are not funded.
“We need to do all we can to help them raise funds and keep them viable and keep the bikes on the road.”
Mr Lavery gave a special thank you to the charity’s supporters and John Capon, the owner of Otter Windows, who has been a great help to the charity, donating and fitting a new door at the headquarters and even some reclining chairs for the volunteers.
He said Mr Capon has made a significant difference to the charity over the years.
Ian Kingsbury, the Provincial Grandmaster of the Freemasons for Devonshire, said: “We are proud and delighted as Freemasons to be able to help the Freewheelers. It enables us to help everyone in the community, which is what our order is about.”
The charity relies heavily on donations and is not funded by the NHS.
It is appealing to members of the community to help fit out its new headquarters.