Hundreds of lives have been saved in Greater Manchester by the work of blood bikers in the last two and a half years.

Oldham-based charity Greater Manchester Blood Bikes transports blood for lifesaving needs when the NHS service is out of hours.

And fresh figures released from the air ambulance service has found that 330 lives in the region have been saved from the organisation.

Thanks to its deliveries, paramedics have blood available on helicopters to perform lifesaving transfusions there and then.

The combined authority’s NHS is also saved nearly £200,000 a year by their volunteers, with £29,000 worth of cost-cutting this February alone.

The Oldham Times: Blood bikers on the roadBlood bikers on the road (Image: Supplied)

Volunteer Martyn Guiver said: “The aim is to never turn down a job."

Martyn said the NHS would have to use an on-demand courier if it was not for the charity, which would force the health service to "pay over the odds". 

He added: “We’ve got a rota that’s basically covering things 24/7, the principle behind it is that we do it as a free service so that the local hospitals directly benefit from not paying for the delivery service and then they have funds to reinvest into the communities.

“We’ve got a combination of people in terms of volunteers. We range from duty controllers to blood bikers in the true sense, and then drivers for when there’s a larger delivery to make.

“We run on about 80 volunteers in Greater Manchester.”

Equipped with eight bikes and three cars, the group have made more than 3,000 blood runs since they began and rely on donations from the pubic to operate.

The Oldham Times: A map showing blood bikers in operation across Greater ManchesterA map showing blood bikers in operation across Greater Manchester (Image: Supplied)

The Oldham Times: One of the charity's bikesOne of the charity's bikes (Image: Supplied)

When asked about the challenges of operating with volunteers, Martyn said: “The trick is working around our members.

“Because obviously everybody is working around some form of commitment, whether that be job or family or whatever it is. We try and ensure we’ve got somebody on the job all the time.”

The charity also delivers donor breast milk to maternity wards for usually sick or premature babies whose mothers cannot produce milk.