SERV Kent, also known as the ‘Bloodrunners’, is a charity that provides an emergency courier service to transport blood products, samples and other patient essential items to the major hospitals and hospices in Kent outside of normal working hours. It also maintains the blood supplies for the air ambulance service in Kent, Surrey and Sussex which undoubtedly saves many lives every year.

SERV KENT is run by volunteers who provide their services free of charge including fuel for the vehicles and any phone charges incurred thus saving the NHS thousands of pounds every year. In order to provide this free service, it relies heavily upon its own fundraising efforts and donations.

In 2019 the Mark Benevolent Fund approved an application for £27,046 to provide SERV Kent with a new state of the art estate car to compliment the amazing charitable work it carries out within the Kent and Sussex region.

Presentation of a cheque for £27,046 to SERV Kent by the Provincial Grand Master of Kent, R.W. Bro. Archibald Iain Torrance, on behalf of the Mark Benevolent Fund

Today, and for the foreseeable future, we find our country in a state of lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which means that now, more than ever, we will rely upon SERV Kent to ensure that our NHS and other essential services continue to be supported.

However, since the lockdown, SERV Kent have been unable to raise much needed funds to buy the essential consumables required to run the service and maintain a safe environment for their volunteers. One such consumable, absolutely essential to maintaining a safe environment and allowing the service to continue to operate, is hand sanitiser. Supplies of hand sanitiser are limited and market prices have escalated. It has been estimated that the cost of hand sanitiser required to run the service would run into many thousands of pounds. Clearly, this is money that the charity does not have and therefore it therefore sent out an appeal to its supporters for help.

Not unexpectedly, the Mark Master Masons of Kent were contacted and asked if they could assist. This request very quickly found its way to the Provincial Grand Charity Steward, W. Bro. Brian Ward, to see what could be done. As luck would have it, before retiring, Brian was employed as a global sourcing director by Givaudan who are the world’s leading Perfumery and Flavours company.

W. Bro. Brian has been very proactive in seeking out, and applying for grants for, worthy causes in Kent. His knowledge and range of contacts came to the fore as W.Bro. Brian made contact with Givaudan at Ashford and established that they had already taken the initiative to compound hand sanitiser at its facility in Switzerland and would be delighted to supply 50 litres of hand sanitiser to SERV Kent, with a promise that more would be available when required.

Special thanks must go to all at Givaudan for this fabulous initiative but especially to their head of site at Ashford, Johnathan Fairclough, and to their head of production, Mike Cullen, for bringing this appeal for help to fruition so quickly.

Sanitiser ready to be loaded into the SERV Kent car at the Givaudan Factory

Mike Cullen handing over the hand sanitiser to Arthur Godden from SERV Kent

Clearly in today’s troubled times we have a story with a happy ending which allows SERV Kent to continue with their fabulous work within our community whilst at the same time supporting the NHS.