Surrey character: Volunteer blood biker and vintage aircraft restorer Ray Semmens

PUBLISHED: 17:08 30 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:09 30 March 2020

Ray Semmens inside a Wellington bomber at Brooklands Museum in Weybridge

Ray Semmens inside a Wellington bomber at Brooklands Museum in Weybridge

© 2019 Douglas Kurn All rights reserved

Delivering emergency blood and restoring vintage aircraft are all in a week’s work for prolific volunteer Ray Semmens | Words: Simone Hellyer - Photo: Douglas Kurn

The lowdown: Retired engineer Ray Semmens is busier now than when he was working full time, but his job satisfaction is 100 times higher. That’s because he spends his days (including weekends) volunteering for countless charities in the Surrey area.

An enthusiastic motorcyclist and light aircraft pilot, Ray volunteers at Brooklands Museum as a steward and as part of the restoration team.

He says: “I love preserving the heritage here and it’s so nice to be in an environment where the birth of British aviation took place and where Sir Barnes Wallis invented the bouncing bomb. I could go on and on because the history here is just phenomenal.”

Ray also volunteers for Motorcycle Outreach, a charity that works to introduce effective healthcare delivery in remote areas of developing countries.

A few years ago Ray raised thousands of pounds for the charity by riding his motorcycle from Byfleet to Bangkok.

On that life changing experience he says: “I was in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan and pulled up next to a yurt miles from anywhere. I always carry sweets in my bike and gave some to these two kids.

“Next minute I’m sitting in this yurt with this family who are cooking me a meal. It was incredible, they were so friendly and even though they had no money at all, they still offered me food.”

As a blood biker, Ray also provides an essential life saving service to people in dire need. “I took 32 units of blood to King’s College before Christmas and it was like a battle zone in there.

“Two lads had been stabbed and unfortunately one died, but without the blood the other one could possibly have died too.

“When I walk away from something like that I don’t want a pat on the back, I just like to know that I’ve made a difference. And I get that from all my voluntary roles.”

To volunteer at Brooklands, contact Sue Lewin: suelewin@brooklandsmuseum.com.

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