In this series of articles we look at who is involved in BBE, why they joined and what they do.
Blood Bikes East is managed and serviced entirely by volunteers. Every person has their own life to lead, yet finds the time to help their community in this very important way and in so doing helps to save lives, both directly and indirectly.
This time we talked to Eddie Charlton while he recovers from a knee operation. Eddie has been a volunteer since the early days of BBE in 2013 and has seen quite a few late nights and rainy days with BBE:
Q1: Hi Eddie. So I hear you have a fairly unusual job?
Yeah, you could say that. I am the owner/driver of an articulated truck, which in itself isn’t unusual, but I do deliveries with a difference.
I work with the music industry so we tour with some of the biggest bands in the world and this takes me to every corner of Europe, from Dublin to Moscow to Athens to London and similar runs like this. I can be away for 3 months at a time, but then I could have 1 month off from work. It’s a really interesting industry to work in. Last year took us around a few laps of Europe with the likes of a Madonna 40 truck tour to a 2 truck tour with Massive Attack.
Q2: What do you do for BBE?
I’m delighted to be a Volunteer Motorcycle Rider.
Q3: When did you join BBE?
I am pretty proud to have been volunteering from the outset and was at the launch of BBE at the Mansion House, Dublin in early 2013.
Q4: What prompted you to join BBE?
As I worked so much in the UK I had seen the UK Blood Bikers on the roads and found out a little more about the concept working there. I always admired the guys and gals doing that in the UK giving something back to the community. It was something I really wanted to get involved in myself as I am a big supporter of Temple Street, having crossed Route 66 in the US three times on sponsored trips to raise funds for the hospital. They do amazing work with sick kids and I wanted to do something more directly to help.
So one day, while in my truck, I heard a piece on the radio where Pat McCabe, who was the chairman back then, was talking about the launch of BBE and asking any interested people to come to the event in the Mansion House. I knew this was my chance to help, especially because Temple Street was one of the hospitals BBE covered, so I went along and joined on the day. I haven’t looked back since!
Q5: What is your most memorable moment while on shift so far?
It’s hard to pick out a particular moment, as I feel every delivery has its reasons and helps someone in whatever small way it might be. However one that would stick in my head would be a call we got in the middle of the night. A very sick child was taken to Temple street, but in the rush, a piece of the respiratory equipment the child was reliant on had been forgotten at the child’s home. Due to the unique nature of this piece it couldn’t be easily replaced and so the hospital staff requested that it be collected from the child’s home. Well, I arrived at their house within 30 mins and back in Temple St. 30 mins after that! I was told to go straight to the ward where the nursing staff were standing there waiting for this piece, which was vital to the sick child. They were all so happy to see me arrive and said the child was in urgent need of this piece. I walked away so happy knowing I had directly helped out as best as I could at that moment.
Q6: What does being a BBE volunteer mean to you?
I feel a great sense of pride riding the bikes , I feel people are starting to recognise us more and more and know that we are a charity. We also get waves and people praise our work. I don’t do it for the recognition, but this little bit of endorsement gives me so much energy to do more and a sense that I am giving something back to my community, city and country.
Q7: How long have you been a biker?
It feels like since I could stand! But really it’s since I was about the age of 10. I had numerous moto cross and scramblers. Then when I became road legal at 16 I had the usual scooters and then quickly progressed to a Yamaha Fazer 600. It just went on from there really.
Q8: What was your first motor bike?
It was a Yamaha DT 100. A brilliant scrambler bike that for a young boy felt so fast and was almost indestructible, which was lucky because I rode that thing everywhere and on all surfaces!
Q10: What bike do you own now?
The one and only BMW 1600 GTL, what a machine, I absolutely love this bike!
Q11: If you could buy any bike today, what would it be?
It would have to be another BMW 1600GTL; the new 2017 model. Watch this space.
Q12: When you’re not on shift and riding for pleasure, what’s your favourite road/route?
Well there’s some amazing drives in this country especially way out west, but I have to say (and I know it’s not an every day ride) riding Route 66 is simply amazing. I’ve done it three times in my life, twice on a Harley (I wouldn’t normally ride a Harley, but it somehow felt right over there), and the last time in Sept ’16, I had a brand new Goldwing. This machine made the ride even more memorable! My good mate Andy Travers (aka Pablo) and I crossed the states in super quick time, but it threw every type of weather, road conditions and surfaces at us possible! This ride had to be the most favourite in my life!
This is me in the picture, with Andy in pillion position.
The lovely lady in the picture is Angie McNulty,
who organises the Route 66 fundraising runs for Temple Street.
This was at the end of the run in 2016 as we arrived in Santa Monica.
Thanks Eddie, and thanks for your service and dedication to BBE. Oh and say hi to Madonna from all of us at BBE next time you see her 😉