When talking about Rolls Royce Bespoke, names like Sweptail and Boat Tail come to mind. Chariots of opulence for the elite of the elites. However, sometimes it's the little guys that matter the most. Built for the St Richard's Hospital in Chichester, the Rolls Royce SRH performs a vital role in the hospital, ferrying young patients on the paediatric day surgery unit to the operation when it is time for their procedure.
Rather than the children being wheeled on a trolley, the children drive the Rolls Royce to the OR like deserving brave little VIPs. This experience also lessens the stress levels for the parents and staff, making it a memorable experience for all involved. Since entering service in 2017, the Rolls Royce SRH has carried no less than 2,000 children to the OR.
As with any transport, wear and tear have over time taken its toll on the mini Roller. Since anxious children drove it along tight hospital corridors, the Bespoke bodywork and paint have seen better days. Therefore, Rolls Royce has called the Rolls Royce SRH back to the Home of Rolls-Royce for its first 100,000-metre (yes metres, not miles) service. The vehicle's service was carried out by specialists from the Bespoke Team and other departments to restore it to its original condition.
Made in 2017, St Richard's Hospital asked Rolls-Royce if it could repair their original child transport, a plastic electric Jeep, which had succumbed to one too many accidents of its own. Being Rolls Royce, they respectfully declined and instead offered to create a new one to Rolls Royce standards.
The Bespoke team went to town creating a custom fibreglass bodyshell reinforced with carbon fibre, complete with the marque's iconic Pantheon grille. 'Real' bonnet lines were cut according to length, and a two-tone finish was applied as it would have on any other Rolls Royce vehicle. Wheel covers, seats and coachlines were all perfectly colour-matched too.
The seat was hand-made from wood with medical-grade vinyl used for padding and upholstery. Hotwelding techniques were used to eliminate seams that could trap dirt. The team also designed a custom aluminium footwell that lifts out for easy cleaning. In addition, several components were individually customised in keeping with Bespoke mannerism, including handcrafted treadplates, 3D-printed dash, wheel caps and spacers and trim pieces. It is completed with a laser-etched RR badge and its own Spirit of Ecstasy mascot; indeed, a Rolls Royce project.
Providing the whisper-quiet ride Rolls Royce's are renowned for, the Rolls Royce SRH is powered by an electric motor with a limited top speed of just 4mph (6.4kph). Taking over 400 hours to complete, the Rolls Royce SRH has now returned to St Richard's Hospital to resume its humble but yet impactful duties.
"Building the Rolls-Royce SRH for St Richard's Hospital was tremendously satisfying for all concerned. That it has been used so extensively and made such a positive contribution to so many children's experiences makes it all the more rewarding. It was wonderful to see it back at the Home of Rolls-Royce and to have the opportunity to return it to its original, magnificent state." said Andrew Ball, Head of Corporate Relations, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
David Clayton-Evans, Head of Charity for Love Your Hospital, the dedicated charity for St Richard's, Worthing and Southlands Hospitals, said, "A huge thank you once again to the amazing team at Rolls-Royce for this wonderful support to St Richard's Hospital. This very special car continues to bring joy, smiles and a positive hospital experience for young people and their families."
Hospital visits are not fun, let alone for kids who have to undergo surgeries or invasive procedures. Yet, this small gesture by Rolls Royce goes a long way to ease the anxiety of children, giving them a good time on what is supposed to be a scary day. Now, if only that made one for adults…