ONE hundred blood bikers took to the road to pay tribute to a much-loved colleague and friend on the first anniversary of his death.

Russell Curwen, also known as Russ, from Kendal, did voluntary work for the North West Blood Bikes Lancashire and Lakes charity (NWBB-LL). He died following a collision near junction 34 of the M6 on May 5, 2018. He was on his way to deliver urgent items to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI).

Around 100 blood bikers from across the county and beyond marked the one-year anniversary of his death on Sunday by riding from the Bay Gateway in Lancaster to Kendal Rugby Club.

The RLI is also re-naming its Blood Science Unit after Mr Curwen.

Sue Fiddler, Mr Curwen’s sister, wanted to thank everyone that helped organise the event.

“It was a lovely day,” she said. “It was the perfect way to remember him by and I want to thank everyone who helped.”

When all the blood bikers gathered in Lancaster there was a short service by Bishop Michael Campbell and then the riders went to Kendal via Kirkby Lonsdale.

The significance of the route was that it took the bikers past where Mr Curwen lived, near Endmoor, where a memorial bench has now been placed.

Karen Carton, who worked with Mr Curwen, said she could not believe it had already been a year since he died.

“It was a very emotional day,” she said. “But we wanted to do it for Russ’s parents to thank them and show them how loved he was.”

The Ashton Memorial, in Lancaster, was also lit up in green, Mr Curwen’s favourite colour.

The ‘Remembering Russ’ memorial bike ride comes at a crucial time when the North West Blood Bike charity is in need of volunteers and sponsors.

With more than 450 volunteers, every penny goes towards covering administration costs and running the fleet of bikes.

Nigel Parrish, marketing manager for NWBB-LL, said in April more than 1,000 call-outs were received.

In 2018, the blood bikers covered more than 18,000 miles collecting and delivering urgently-needed items including whole blood, platelets, medication and donor breast milk.

“We provide service 365 days a year,” said Mr Parrish. “We work out of hours and the number of calls we are receiving from hospitals are increasing.” Mr Parrish, who also worked with Mr Curwen, said that Sunday was a “fitting tribute”.

“Russ was a great guy,” said Mr Parrish, “But the shock of what happened still reverberates throughout the whole group.

“He is greatly missed, so these individual things that are happening in his name will help us all to honour his memory and remember our times with him.”