‘I battled the snow storm to deliver breast milk’

Military veteran Gerry Pixsley is a volunteer with Merseyside and Cheshire Blood Bikes. They transport milk and blood between hospitals for no charge – and despite the snow, their urgent deliveries are continuing.

Here, he describes how the extreme weather has made helping those in need even more challenging.

I’ve been volunteering with Merseyside and Cheshire Blood Bikes for over a year, but I’ve never had a job quite like this before.

The weather was clearly too bad for my motorbike, but as we drove off in the car the weather didn’t look too severe. I was to travel from my home in Liverpool to pick up the donation in Sheffield and on to Chester to deliver the milk.

Once we were on our way, suddenly conditions took a turn for the worse. It didn’t enter my head to turn back. A mother and her baby needed this breast milk and I was the only hope they had that it would reach them.

We struggled along, finally getting within half a mile of the home of the woman donating the milk. She lived at the top of a hill, but it was a hill that my car was unable to go up despite my best efforts. There was no way I was going to give up after coming so far.

I left the car behind, grabbed the specialist equipment we use to transport the donations and set off into the snow.

Driving conditions were treacherous during Gerry's journey. Pic: Gerry Pixsley

Image: Driving conditions were treacherous during the journey. Pic: Gerry Pixsley

After managing to find the house, I was loaded up with 55 bottles of frozen breast milk – and the countdown of getting the donation to the drop off point before it defrosted began to tick away.

Trying to walk back down the slippery hill was much harder with the added weight, but this was not going to be the hardest part of this leg of the journey.

Despite having experience of driving in the snow during my military years, there was a brief moment I lost control of my car in the snow. We ran up against blocked roads and were forced to take a longer route.

Once we got closer to Manchester, the car was engulfed in a white-out snow storm and I was only able to crawl my car forward an inch at a time. It felt tense but there was no option to give up.

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Finally we arrived, but we were almost too late. The drop off point was due to close before we arrived, but the woman on standby had been able to stay later to take in the emergency donation.

Once I’d handed over the package, I felt humble. I had been just a small part in a bigger achievement.

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