Children’s surgery patients arrive in style
Children at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester will be arriving for surgery in style – driving the world’s smallest Rolls-Royce to the operating theatre from their ward.
The appropriately-named Rolls-Royce SRH will be unveiled at the hospital today by the luxury car manufacturer, who built the hand-made vehicle specially for patients in the paediatric day surgery unit.
Preparing for an operation can be daunting for younger patients so staff at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust do all they can to make it a fun experience.
At St Richard’s, children have enjoyed the distraction of driving a toy car to surgery for years, so when the jeep they had been using began to tire the trust’s Love Your Hospital charity approached Chichester-based Rolls-Royce to provide a replacement.
Amanda Tucker, Head of Charity at Love Your Hospital, said: “We asked Rolls-Royce Motor Cars at Goodwood if they could help us replace an old scale car in the children’s unit but we never expected to receive such an incredible gift.
“The company’s employees volunteered hundreds of hours of their own time to hand-build this remarkable electric vehicle which will delight boys and girls coming to hospital for treatment.”
The Rolls-Royce SRH will allow children awaiting surgery to drive themselves to the operating theatre through the paediatric unit corridors, which are lined with ‘traffic signs’.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars welcomed two test drivers from the unit, Molly Matthews and Hari Rajyaguru, to the company’s Goodwood Studio where they enjoyed the same unveiling experience as its VIP customers. This exclusive event served as final validation and pre-delivery inspection of the Rolls-Royce SRH ahead of today’s official handover to the patients, their families and the devoted day surgery team at St Richard’s.
Molly and Hari both enjoyed first drives on the Rolls-Royce production line, an exceptionally rare privilege usually reserved for the marque’s Chief Executive during the validation process for new model families, and most recently actioned for the forthcoming Phantom 8. They then returned home with their families in the chauffeured luxury of Rolls-Royce Ghosts.
“We are a proud member of the community here in West Sussex. The Paediatric Unit at St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester, does such vital work in providing essential care to young people and their families,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
“We hope that the Rolls‑Royce SRH will serve to make the experience for young people during treatment a little less stressful.”
Created from the ground-up by the dedicated Bespoke Manufacturing team, the Rolls-Royce SRH presents to its very important customer a landmark study in bespoke luxury.
Boys and girls alike will love driving it and it will help turn a daunting experience into a more fun and enjoyable one
Akin to the conception of every Rolls-Royce Bespoke commission, a restless desire to understand the customer’s requirements informed every aspect of the design. The car is therefore specified with a two-tone paint-scheme of Andalusian White and Salamanca Blue and finished with a hand-applied St James Red coachline.
The interior space is appointed with the same finesse and attention-to-detail afforded to every Rolls-Royce patron, with the two-tone steering wheel, seats and self-righting wheel centres perfectly colour-matched to the St James Red coachline.
A top speed of 10mph is achieved in seconds courtesy of power derived from a 24 volt gel battery that propels the car with the same whisper-quietness as Rolls-Royce’s magnificent V12 engines. For those preferring a more sedate journey, the speed setting is variable and can be limited to a statelier but no-less exhilarating 4mph.
Sir Henry Royce’s famous credo: “when it does not exist, design it,” echoes around the marque’s home in Goodwood, with this spirit highly evident in the conception of the Rolls‑Royce SRH. The Bespoke Manufacturing team devoted over 400 hours of their own time to developing and hand-crafting this most extraordinary Rolls-Royce.
In addition to developing competency in new chassis and electronic technologies, the project team also utilised 3D printing techniques for the design. This included production of the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy and the bespoke paddle controls.
Lawrie Mewse, Project Leader of the Rolls-Royce SRH, said, “I am immensely proud of what the team has achieved. This project showcases the amazing skills and technology that exist in the Bespoke Manufacturing Team and across every area at the Home of Rolls Royce here at Goodwood.
“However, the most important thing is giving back to the local community and having a positive impact for children and their parents during their time in hospital.”
Marianne Griffiths, Chief Executive, of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said, “Just like the joy it will bring to our young patients, the Rolls-Royce SRH is simply priceless. It is a very special gift and one of the most wonderful donations ever received by Love Your Hospital, our trust’s dedicated charity.
“On behalf of everyone at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and especially the small team who volunteered so much of their own time in support of St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester and the children we care for.”
Sue Nicholls, Paediatric Matron at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said, “It’s wonderful seeing a smiley face on the way to theatre, rather than an apprehensive one, and everyone caring for children at St Richard’s is so grateful to Rolls-Royce for this unique donation.
“We know boys and girls alike will love driving it and in the coming years it will help turn a daunting experience into a more fun and enjoyable one for hundreds and hundreds of children.”