Some unusual vital medical supplies were transported more than 650 miles in less than four hours thanks to a group of volunteers.
A poorly patient on Shetland needed a faecal matter transplant earlier this week, but the donation had to travel from Birmingham.
The transplant involves a healthy donor giving their poo to a poorly patient to help them fight off Clostridium Difficile Infection (CDI).
The local Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire (SSC) blood bikes stepped in to assist.
They picked up the donation from the Birmingham Microbiome Treatment Centre at 7.30am on Monday, before one volunteer drove it to the airport.
It was then handed to a pilot from the Civil Air Support who flew the supplies to Sumburgh airport in a Cessna light aircraft.
After landing, an honorary member of the blood bikes took the baton and drove the faecal matter to Gilbert Bain Hospital to the very grateful patient within four hours of it leaving Birmingham.
This was the furthest journey ever undertaken by the team.
Pam Hillier, trustee of the SSC blood bikes, called the trip “exceptional.”
She said: “We transport faecal matter quite regularly as we are the UK Coordinator for the transportation of urgent Faecal Matter Transplants.
“As far as I know, the Birmingham centre is the only one to offer transplants at the moment so we are going through a bit of a backlog at the moment.
“Alone, we can’t transport it off-road so we called in the Civil Air Support and planned it out, which took about four days in total.
“The furthest we have been before was down to Plymouth, and to Scotland it was up to Dumfries so this was a new experience for us.
“The most complicated part was all the airport stuff as it is expensive to go in and out them but thanks to the XLR Test Centre in Birmingham we got to use the free facility and the Highlands and Islands airport also provided free space.”
The faecal matter must be kept at -80c due to it being a live bacterial culture.
This means that when transported, it has to make it to a specialist freezer within nine hours, but preferably in six hours.
Ms Hillier added: “It was extremely exciting to see how well it went down, as anything could go wrong.
“We were most worried about the weather, as it was a light aircraft we used so any bad weather could have left us stuck.
“But it all went very well, and it all played out fantastic for us and the patient.
“We are extremely grateful to everyone involved, all the operators and we showed great teamwork and effort.”
What is a Faecal Matter Transplant
A Faecal Matter Transplant (FMT) is used to treat patients with recurring Clostridium Difficile Infection (CDI).
CDI is one of the most common causes of hospital-acquired diarrhoea and is caused by toxin growing in the gut.
It can cause death if left untreated.
FMT is a relatively new procedure that involves the transfer of healthy gut bacteria and other components in faeces from a donor to a patient with the disease.
It can be administered either through a colonoscopy or as a rectal enema.