Property solicitor by day, Blood Biker by night, father of two Iain Grimes has been a volunteer rider, driver and trainer for the charity since a branch was first established in Norfolk back in 2011.
Born and bred in Downham Market, Iain has been riding since the mid-90s and had already earnt his advanced riding qualification when he was first introduced to Blood Bikes at a Norfolk Chamber of Commerce meeting. In chatting with one of the original committee members, who was there recruiting for the charity, Iain realised he was the perfect fit and registered his interest there and then.
Years on and, despite working full-time heading up the Conveyancing Department of a leading law firm, he’s grown very involved with the charity. Riding one of Blood Bikes’ Yamaha FJRs, he is on call four nights a month – including an often-eventful Saturday night – from 7pm-7am.
Reserving his car for larger deliveries and nights below 4 degrees, in which blood products aren’t stable, Iain also provides two monthly presentations across the region to raise awareness and much-needed funds.
“I’ve always been keen to put something back into society, but there was something about Blood Bikes that I was particularly drawn to,” he says. “The thought of me not knowing who I’m helping and the recipients not knowing who’s helping them really appeals to me.”
To this day, Iain has never met anyone he’s delivered medical items to. Although content with just knowing he’s helping those in need, he does receive plenty of admiration from his wife and children, who are very proud of the time he commits. In fact, his eldest daughter is now following in his footsteps having recently started fundraising for the charity as part of her work towards the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. “We always need people to get involved, not just riders, but fundraisers and those that raise awareness, so it’s great to see my daughter help out. No doubt she’ll want to learn to ride when she’s old enough too,” he says, “much to her mother’s dismay!”
Balancing his home life, career and work with Blood Bikes is a challenge, but one that’s eased thanks to an understanding family and workmates. “Being a property solicitor is a very busy day job to say the least, but I’m lucky I’m my own boss, so can blend my responsibilities quite well. That being said, there have been a couple of occasions where I’ve been called out at 4am, not got home until 6am and needed to be in work that morning. But my colleagues are understanding. I think they appreciate what I do and don’t begrudge me leaving early if I’ve had a busy night.”
Despite sounding like a demanding balancing act, Iain’s work with Blood Bikes offers him a great sense of relaxation that he doesn’t get with his day job. “I’ve always loved the freedom and element of solitude that riding offers – it’s my form of meditation – so it’s understanding that I find working as a Blood Biker very relaxing, even when faced with an emergency job. I also love being a part of the Blood Bikes team. There’s a real sense of comradery among those involved.”