The Volunteer Ethic

The Volunteer Ethic
22nd September 2020 Steve Stoddart
In Commercial, General
SERV and the Volunteer Ethic

The Volunteer Ethic

I have provided video material for clients that cover a fair old range of subjects… and all were interesting and a pleasure to be part of.  Today – or more accurately – this evening, that trend continues.  The next stage of supporting a crew that have embraced the volunteer ethic to heart, is all set to go.


The work is being done for a remarkable crew.  They go by the moniker “SERV”.  “Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers” to give them their full title.  Their purpose is to provide an out-of-hours courier service for the NHS.  Blood, tissue samples and all manner of supplies are taken delivered to where needed.   Courier services are effective but they can be expensive.  SERV don’t charge for their service and as a result, they save the NHS a small fortune.

During the pandemic, their service opened up to a full 24-hours…  It proved vital in not only delivering PPE to hospitals but also essential drugs to patients that could not attend hospital.

The Queen’s Award

In November 2019,  was my first major encounter with SERV. I was asked to cover their ‘big night out’ hosted by one of the Cambridge colleges.   The event was to celebrate a well-deserved accolade – they were awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. I soon came to understand that while members come from all walks of life, they share at least one common and enduring thread – their dedication to what SERV is all about.  Listening to the commendation was an experience in itself – to say SERV understand the volunteer ethic is an understatement!

SERV and the Volunteer Ethic

SERV at the Queen’s Award Ceremony.


The Challenge!

This project brings its own challenges! Lighting is, usually, one of the most important aspects of video production. The subject does not have to be lit up like the sun, but well enough to eliminate unwanted shadows and clean up ‘muddy’ colours.

Video material will be recorded well after sunset so optimum lighting will be absent today 😊 … This will be new territory for me.   I will bring some lighting but the 24-hour availability of their service needs to be clearly illustrated.  The trusty JVC camera I most often use is not the best in low light – the Sony should fit the bill.  I don’t often use to for video so it has been an adventure adapting various bits and pieces to prepare it.

Sony AR7 for Video

Setting up the Sony AR7

So the video will be a snapshot of what they do… Much of my effort will be in the editing since their bikers have provided some excellent video from helmet-mounted cameras, etc.

It has been a pleasure working with them and not a little humbling.  So much is done by folk that regard the volunteer ethic as a creed. So often, they work under the radar….

If you see one of their riders (some are on liveried bikes) give them a thought and a quiet ‘thank you’.  Like all the emergency services, they are worth their weight in gold.

You can find out more about them here.



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