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Fleet of 200 bikes to pay tribute to tragic blood biker at funeral

Friends and colleagues of a dedicated blood biker, who lost his life in a horror crash while serving his community, have paid touching tribute to their "angel on two wheels."

Read more: Blood biker died 'doing the job he loved'
Russell Curwen, 49, from Kendal was delivering an urgent blood sample to Lancaster when he was involved in a crash with a white Jaguar XJR at around 7.45pm last Saturday on Caton Road, Lancaster.

Fellow volunteers at the Blood Biker charity have told how they could not understand why Russell had not contacted them to say he had dropped off the sample that evening.

But the awful news that the rider had been involved in a terrible accident soon reached his colleagues who were left shell-shocked by the tragedy.

Bosses from the charity immediately rushed to the scene and to Royal Preston Hospital to help support the biker's parents.

Paul Brooks, Chairman of the Charity and a former police traffic officer said: "They wanted to help in any way they could. But how do you do that?

"It’s almost an impossible task because of their grief. I am not a religious man, I have seen too many cases like this.

"Things like Russell’s death keep pulling me away. It’s unfair when good people like Russell are taken from their families and friends so suddenly."

Volunteers for Blood Bikes have revealed that they are planning to pay fitting tribute to their much loved colleague with a procession of 200 bikers expected to take part in his funeral procession.

The funeral is set to take place next Friday, May 18 at 12:30 at Kendal Parish Church followed by a cremation at Beetham Hall.

Friends at the charity have spoken of their sadness at the loss of Russell and shared memories of the accomplished bike rider who had volunteered with the Blood Bike charity for over two years.

Karen Carton, who worked alongside Russell at his day job for Medical Support UK, and also as a volunteer blood bike rider remembered meeting Russ for the first time.

She said: "Every once in a while, someone walks into your life and makes a real impact. For me, Russ was that person. Most friendships take time to grow, spanning over many years, ours didn't.

"This chap strolled over and introduced himself and then he smiled. That big beaming gentle smile we all know belonged to Russ. I instantly liked him and within the first few weeks of him becoming a colleague, we were also firm friends.

"Russ was an accomplished rider and he was never complacent when it came to safety and being aware of his surroundings.

"He was extremely proud to be a member of the Blood Bike charity and to work for Medical Support UK - in his eyes he was helping people and helping to save the NHS vital funds.

"He didn't do it for the glory, he did it because he just wanted to help people. That was Russ in a nutshell.

"Today has been the first day without a phone call to/from Russ. He was not just a work colleague and fellow Blood Biker, he was a very dear friend.

"I know I am not alone in saying I will miss him. He was a kind, caring considerate man with a huge heart of gold, who lit up the lives of all who knew him, and the world is a darker place without him."

Steve Dunstan, former North Area Manager said: "I only knew Russ for a little over two years since he joined blood bikes, but I have abiding memories of a lovely bloke.

"He was extremely conscientious and always anxious to make sure that he was “doing the right thing” so we had many long phone calls talking about blood bikes and his passion for riding bikes.

"Right from first meeting him it was clear that he was a larger than life character who loved having a laugh and exchanging banter with his friends and colleagues."

Friends at the charity are now fundraising to help pay for funeral costs and to give Russell the send off he deserves. Donations can be made here -https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/russell-curwen-shift-over-stand-down
Anyone wishing to join the motorbike convoy is asked to meet at the Auction Ground by J36 of the M6 by 11:15am next Friday.

Drivers in the area are warned to expect some congestion.