Sixteen years after he formed part of a Royal Navy Guard of Honour for The Queen, wheelchair-user Richard Allcroft met Her Majesty in person – when he proudly demonstrated his heavily modified Mercedes Benz Sprinter.
The Queen is the Chief Patron of Motability, the vehicle scheme for disabled people, which this year celebrates its Silver Jubilee.
And to mark this historic occasion she formally presented the keys to their Motability vehicles to six new owners at a special ceremony, held at The Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace.
Richard’s green Sprinter 208CDI, was the only commercial vehicle among the six, the remainder being cars. Supplied by Hatfield Mercedes dealer S&B Commercials, which has enjoyed close links with Motability for more than five years, the van is equipped with the Sprintshift clutchless manual transmission – which can also be used in full automatic mode. Other features include remote central locking, electric windows and heated door mirrors.
The conversion was carried out by Jim Doran Hand Controls, of Coventry, which fitted a tail-lift and automatic rear doors, through which Richard accesses his Mercedes. An electric tie-down system keeps his wheelchair in place while he is driving, while an electric head restraint with back support and drive-into seatbelt ensure that he is both comfortable and safe on the road.