Luxury car -maker Rolls-Royce has unveiled a new car - but you won't see it on the roads anytime soon - and that's because it’s been designed for children at a hospital near the company's base in West Sussex.
Named the Rolls-Royce SRH, the bespoke build will allow children to drive themselves to the operating theatre, through the Pediatric Unit corridors which are lined with ‘traffic signs’. The experience of ‘self-drive to theatre’ aims to reduce pre-operation stress.
Unveiled for the first time at St Richard’s Hospital, the car had previously been given the thumbs up by two very important patients. Molly Matthews and Hari Rajyaguru were both invited to the Home of Rolls-Royce. Molly and Hari saw the car being revealed for the first time at the company’s Goodwood Studio - with the same attention as all Rolls-Royces VIP customers.
This exclusive event served as final validation and pre-delivery inspection of the Rolls-Royce SRH ahead of the official handover to the patients, their families and the devoted day surgery team at St Richard’s Hospital. And the fun didn't end there. The two children were then treated to test drives of the tiny car on the Rolls-Royce production line. Afterwards, the pair were chauffeured home in Rolls-Royce Ghosts
“We are a proud member of the community here in West Sussex. The Pediatric 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 of 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.”
Building the car took Rolls-Royce's engineers more than 400 hours of their own time, and the company utilised cutting-edge technology such as 3D printing during the construction. The SRH received a two-tone paint job in Andalusian White and Salamanca Blue, with a St James Red coachline. The interior was also built to the company's luxurious standards, with a two-tone steering wheel and seats, while the wheels have self-righting centres finished in the same shade of red as the coachline.
Power comes from a 24-volt gel battery and electric motor, which provides a top speed of 10mph.
The impact on the children was summed up by Sue Nicholls, Paediatric Matron at Western Sussex Hospitals, who remarked: “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.”
If proved successful, could there be room to 'Rolls' it out in other hospitals?