A GROUP of motorbike enthusiasts from York is providing a life-saving service by making emergency blood deliveries for the health service.

The riders of the Whiteknights Emergency Volunteer Service use their own time to make the essential deliveries during evenings and weekends, keeping costs down for the hospital and freeing up ambulances.

Jonathan Burrows, of Heworth, is one of the riders making the deliveries on the modified Honda Pan-European bike, which he said was bought following some “serious fundraising”.

He said: “The NHS in York is strapped for cash. If they are delivering the blood during the day they will use a taxi or an ambulance.

“If they want to send blood at night that’s a very expensive thing to do.

“We have said we will take anything within reason, for example we take blood, X-rays and we have taken swine flu swabs.”

The bike is equipped with blue flashing lights which the riders are permitted to use when making deliveries where a patient’s life hangs in the balance, though the riders must not exceed the speed limit.

The Whiteknights started out in West Yorkshire by recovering cancer patient Vic Siswick, who wanted to give something back to the National Health Service.

Members operate the bike from their homes.

The York branch was set up by members of the York Advanced Motorcyclists in January last year.

Monthly running costs estimated to be £1,200 and the group relies entirely on donations to keep it on the road.

Mr Burrows, 49, said: “We go all over Yorkshire trying to raise the money.

“We hope to be getting two new bikes from Hull where there is a similar group who have offered to lease us the bikes – but that’s a hundred pounds a month then there is insurance and petrol.”

The Whiteknights welcome volunteers and donations.

If you can help, visit the organisation’s web site at whiteknightsevs.org