A GROUP of volunteers that deliver blood and medication to the NHS have been honoured for their efforts.

SERV Wessex - The Blood Runners, a group of volunteers operating in Hampshire and East Dorset has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The group provides an out-of-hours rapid response service to NHS hospitals, delivering blood, blood products, samples, medication, medical equipment and human donor milk during the times when other transport options to the NHS may be limited.

As well as this, they also resupply the blood and plasma carried on the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance and critical care cars.

The volunteers were nominated for the award by the Pharmacy Departments of Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and Queen Alexandra Hospital Portsmouth.

The National Honour recognises outstanding contributions made to communities by groups voluntarily devoting their time for the benefit of others.

It is said to be the highest award a voluntary group in the UK can receive and is the MBE for volunteer groups.

The charity will receive a certificate signed by the Queen and be presented with an engraved crystal later in the year by the Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire.

Robert Smith, chair of SERV Wessex, said: “We are very proud and humbled by this fabulous award, which is a testament to, and recognition of, the great work done by our volunteers in supporting the NHS hospitals and the community in all weathers and at all times of the day and night.”

From April 2020 the group has been providing a full 24-hour service supporting Hospital in-house Pharmacies delivering medication to shielding and vulnerable patients in the community and supporting Pathology Departments with urgent sample transportation.

Since January 2020 their volunteers also covered over 266,000 miles on duty and completed over 4000 jobs, which included over 3170 medication deliveries to the community.

SERV Wessex will receive a slightly modified crystal with the words 'with special recognition - Covid 19' included in the engraving.