Grandad on blood bike mission

Blood bike rider Paul Cull
Blood bike rider Paul Cull

Blood bike rider Paul Cull is out to prove that age is just a number.

The 69-year-old is one of many older people on a crusade to tackle age discrimination in the borough.

The new Age is Just a Number campaign from Age UK Wigan Borough challenges stereotypes and negative views of growing old, by showcasing folk who are enjoying later life to the full.

Paul, who has been a motorcyclist since he was 16, only took up the blood bike riding when he retired at 65 and now loves making a difference to people’s lives.

The retired Leigh engineer and grandfather of three has been on hundreds of life-saving blood bike rides.

He said: “I really enjoy it. It is very rewarding and I love motorbikes – so it is a win-win for me.

“I work a patch that covers areas such as Wigan and Leigh, Preston, Chorley and all the way up to Longridge, and can be called out four or five times a night on a 12-hour shift, with two shifts a month – sometimes more.

“I think my motivation came from the fact that my grandson was born prematurely and it makes you realise what needs to be done to help people in hospital.

“As a group of volunteers, we also help save the NHS thousands and thousands of pounds, as they would have to send taxis otherwise to make the collections.

“I’m an active person and a true believer in that you are never too old to take something up.”

North West Blood Bikes provide a free, but professional, voluntary out of hours transport service to NHS hospitals, by carrying urgent and emergency supplies such as blood, platelets, samples, donor breast milk, patient notes and theatre equipment – all through the night, weekends and bank holidays.

Paul also enjoys to bowl, sing in a choir with his wife and plays the trombone in two brass bands.

He added: “There is so much for people to enjoy in later life in Wigan. We just need to make sure that people get to know about it. If anyone is worried about joining a group where they don’t know anyone, I would say ‘get in touch and come with me.’ I will make sure you have a great time.”

Age UK Wigan Borough CEO John McArdle, said: “The stories that we are getting to hear through the campaign of older people enjoying later life and proving age is just a number are phenomenal.

“With more than one in six people aged 65 or over in the borough, it is important that people do not discriminate on age.”

Contact Age UK to see what services they have on offer at www.ageuk.org.uk/wiganborough and follow the campaign at https://www.facebook.com/AgeUKWiganBorough/