Bideford supermarket shoppers' boost for charity

North Devon Gazette

Generous donations from supermarket shoppers in Bideford will be used to replace 50 much-needed high-visibility jackets for Devon Freewheelers blood bike volunteers. Â

Recent collections held outside Morrisons, in Bideford, Tesco in Honiton and Seaton Tesco raised a total of £6,129 for the charity, whose volunteers support the NHS for free. Â

Shoppers at Tesco in Honiton donated £1,919 over two days in November 2021, and £1,476 over the 2022 New Year weekend. In December, Seaton Tesco customers gave £2,133 and  some £600 was collected outside Bideford Morrisons, in North Devon. Â

Russell Roe, Devon Freewheelers deputy CEO, said the shoppers’ generosity would help protect the blood bikers’ safety while they were out on the road. Â

He said: “The safety of our volunteer duty riders is paramount to the charity, so we regularly replace worn kit whenever it is needed. Â

“The fluorescent jackets worn by our riders mean they can be seen more easily by other motorists. For their safety, it is important they are highly-visible at all times. Â

“Everyone at the charity would like to thank the supermarket customers for their help in protecting our riders while they out on the road, supporting the NHS for free, collecting samples.” Â

The florescent jackets, which help the duty riders to be seen by other road users, need regular replacing every three or six months. Â

The specialist jackets used by the Devon blood bikers have been designed in a way that means riders can easily access their response radio. Â

Mr Roe said: “Because the duty riders are on the road all the time, their jackets get covered in road dirt and we have to keep replacing them because when that happens, they are not fit for purpose. Â

“The Devon Freewheelers volunteers are so grateful to the hundreds of supermarket shoppers who gave so generously over the festive period.” Â

The Devon Freewheelers charity is appealing for donations of unwanted gifts or presents that can be used as fundraising tombola prizes. Donations can be dropped off at the charity’s Honiton headquarters, Unit 1, Gloucester Court, Heathpark Industrial Estate, or call the office on 0300 800 0105.Â