A resident of Wigton was inspired to join the Blood Bikes volunteers after receiving roadside blood transfusion due to a tragic motorcycle crash.

The crash near Hutton-in-the-Forest, north of Penrith, resulted in life-altering injuries including a fractured skull, traumatic brain injury, fractured collarbone, seven fractured ribs, a collapsed lung.

Stephen Carr, 60, was shopping in Carlisle and decided to take the long route home on his motorcycle as it was a hot day.

News and Star: The scene of the crash

Mr Carr, 60, said: "Recovery was very slow.

"I was off work for 14 months, during which time I attended a lot of hospital appointments, spent time with an Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, Neurological Occupational Therapist and Occupational Health people."

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) critical care team was instrumental to Mr Carr's survival.

They spent nearly an hour administering treatment at the scene, including a blood transfusion, putting him in a medically-induced coma and performing a thoracostomy, which involves making a small incision at the side of the chest to release a build-up of air from the chest cavity to help reinflate the lung.

The GNAAS chopper then airlifted him to Royal Preston Hospital, where he was admitted to the critical care unit.

Mr Carr said: "When we went to GNAAS’ base in Langwathby, Penrith, in October 2017 to present the cheque, doctor Theo Weston and paramedic Terry Sharpe, who treated me at the scene, were on duty, and me and my family were delighted to meet them.

"I can’t explain how grateful I am for GNAAS, because I know that if it hadn’t been for them I would not be here today."

News and Star: He was airlifted by a GNAAS chopper to Royal Preston Hospital, where he was admitted to the

Mr Carr said he remains vulnerable to getting snappy and irritable quickly and he continues to experience short-term memory loss.

The ordeal, however, started a new chapter in his life.

In 2017, his family and friends raised £2,767.64 in support of GNAAS through car boot sales and sponsored walks.

In showing his gratitude, Mr Carr now volunteers with Blood Bikes Cumbria, providing an service of ensuring continuous fresh supplies of blood products for GNAAS.

Mr Carr said: "One of the duties is to ensure that GNAAS have a fresh supply of blood products every single day, this means that 365 days a year someone volunteers to keep this service going.

"It gives me great pleasure to be able to be one of those people and I feel as though I am giving something back to help the team that saved my life.

“I would ask anyone to donate what they can to GNAAS, as you never know when you might need them. In 2023 they were called out more than 2,100 times. My life is only one of thousands that they have saved and they rely on donations to keep going, so please keep on giving.”

GNAAS relies solely on public donations to keep operational, requiring £8.5million a year.

To find out more about how you can support the charity visit gnaas.com or call 01325 487263.