As the New Year of 2019 was welcomed in with tremendous hope for new beginnings, Cornwall Blood Bikes received heartbreaking news.
Our very own advanced fleet bike rider Burt Reynolds had passed away on New Years Day following a courageous battle with a brain tumour.
Burt joined Cornwall Blood Bikes on 27th January 2018 and I think it is safe to say was the epitome of what a CBB volunteer should be.
Burt joined the charity with exactly the right manner: quietly and steadily, gaining knowledge and information about the organisation that he had chosen to volunteer with.
Burt was a retired Devon & Cornwall Police Sergeant, serving in many Cornish villages but soon joined the Traffic branch of “O” Division.
Burt passed his advanced driving/ riding in 1986 and was a Police Class 1 rider.
Burt was always so proud to tell you that he was one of the first traffic Sergeants involved in setting up the fledgling Traffic Training School, and went onto serve at Devon & Cornwall Police Headquarters at Middlemoor, producing some excellent students and courses.
Burt was a proud Cornishman, born and bred and adored the County that he said he always felt privileged to live in.
Using Burt’s own words “Gods Country, if he made anything better then he kept it to himself”
So in January 2018 when Burt was looking for a new focus, he felt that Cornwall Blood Bikes would be an ideal place to take the passion of a devoted career of good road safety and safe motor biking to a charity that simply was “Riding for Life”
Upon Burt’s joining he soon forged many friendships & regained old friendships with current CBB volunteers who were also retired Devon & Cornwall Police officers, and many a tale got told at fundraising events as they reminisced over old times.
2018 for CBB was one of the busiest to date with over 186 fundraising events and talks.
When the Charity prepared to welcome in the milestone moment of receiving our first ever brand new
BMW 1200 RT(P) “Spirit of Cornwall”, at our fundraising gala evening in April, at The Alverton Hotel in Truro.
Burt was delighted to be the on duty fleet bike rider for the evening and to be at the hotel outside welcoming guests to the evening.
There was one problem, we thought some guests were late for the evening, but we later discovered no they were not late, Burt was keeping them chatting!
Our advanced bike fleet rider Burt threw himself into the Charity whole-heartedly, covering a multitude of shifts in all winds and weathers, never ever complaining and always privileged to be serving our Counties hospitals and hospices.
Burt found himself as the April 2018 “Iron Butt” Winner covering 840 operational miles, and received his certificate back in June at our volunteer’s day.
Burt was so dedicated to the charity that he not only gave up his time to ride and fundraise but also was an immense help to our CBB Fleet Manager moving bikes around the County for health checks, breakdowns and servicing.
For those volunteers that didn’t know Burt then it didn’t take very long to work out that his sense of humour was simply outstanding!
Burt loved fundraising events, and was more than happy to attend them up and down the County, and never ceased to be amazed by the communities’ generosity.
He took part in fancy dress, golf days where they ended up playing snooker with golf balls, judging competitions and even spent time at an event in the summer persuading a local MP to look at the work of blood bikes group up and down the Country and to see if we could be allowed vehicle tax exemption.
Burt would ring the co-coordinator to book a job number to attend an event, or to move a bike, the call received would go something like this:-
“Good Afternoon Cornwall Blood Bikes”
“Ah Cornwall Blood Bikes – Burt Here, you are looking well”
In August 2018 Burt was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and he stated quite clearly that he had no intention of handing in his CBB high vis jacket.
He unfortunately had to give up riding for the time being, but his intention was to continue flying the flag for CBB, attending fundraising events and talks.
My goodness Burt proved he was very much a man of his word!
Burt underwent extensive treatment, and despite everything that was thrown at him, never missed a fundraising event, CBB members meeting or charity presentations. He could always be found laughing, charity pot in hand, and quite often a pasty!
In December 2018 CBB held their Christmas Members meeting and the Fundraising team presented their usual fun certificates to say a very big heartfelt thank you to all those volunteers who really do go the extra mile.
Burt was our 4th top fundraiser of 2018, attending extensive events throughout Cornwall and received from our Chair his certificate and presentation gift.
Throughout all Burt’s illness and treatment the one thing that has shone clear to his CBB friends and colleagues was his sheer determination, dignity, and courage.
He never ever stopped caring for others. Always showing his kindness, and compassion and being more concerned over what other people were going through, and of course never losing that incredible sense of humour.
Burt used to end his text messages “Ride safe my dear friends, catch up with you dreckly”
We believed if anyone could fight this dreadful condition then our Burt certainly could, but sadly that was not to be.
Burt became poorly over the Christmas period, but he still showed that incredibly positivity of looking forward to all our upcoming 2019 events.
Burt’s journey came to an end on New Years Day.
Cornwall Blood Bikes have lost a pure diamond and an exceptional friend to so many.
The loss we are feeling is only a fraction to what Burt’s lovely partner Sue, his daughter Vicky, Son Sam and their families must be feeling as they come to terms with the loss of a much loved partner, Dad and devoted Grandad.
We send our heartfelt sympathies from all the volunteers at CBB.
Our love, thoughts and prayers are with you all, as you have to cope with the days, weeks, months and years ahead.
Burt’s time with us, and most of all his family was cut so cruelly short.
For all of us who had the pleasure of knowing Burt so well, we treasure his knowledge and wisdom and most importantly the gift of his friendship.
Burt’s journey has been nothing but inspirational, of which we can all learn lessons from.
Burt you always told us you had no intention of handing in your Cornwall Blood Bikes high vis jacket, and we told you we never ever wanted it back.
Well we hope you are very proudly wearing that jacket, with the wind always at your back as you travel the winding roads.
Ride safe our very dear friend.
We will catch up with you ‘dreckly