A Wheelchair on a Steam Car?

Save the date: Monday 24 April.

This murderball wheelchair is travelling by whatever eccentric means of transport the local Rotary Clubs can devise, visiting all the Spinal Units in the UK and Ireland. It leaves Manchester on Sunday 9 April and will be delivered by Steam Car from RAF Halton Airfield (it will arrive by glider) to the Spinal Unit within Stoke Mandeville Hospital on Monday 24 April. It will pass as many as possible of the local Schools and Pre-schools, as well as several hostelries, as shown on the route map.

Members of the public are very welcome to line the route and enjoy the spectacle of a convoy of 5 vintage vehicles carrying this wheelchair to the Spinal Unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital on the day that the Inter Spinal Unit Games begin.

The murderball wheelchair will be transported to RAF Halton Airfield in a glider owned by London Gliding Club. It is a glass reinforced plastic (GRP) two seater glider, used by the London Gliding Club and many others for instruction, but also suitable for cross country and aerobatic instruction. It has been in production since 1979, and has a top speed in excess of 150 mph, but in normal use would cruise at around 50 mph.Lead Car: Vauxhall, owned by Ian Cheese, restored, in the late 1980s by the late Mike Quartermaine of Frithsden, Berkhamsted.Wheelchair carrier: Steam Car, see middle right, owned by Jim Gregory and David Furnell. It is 6.25hp, twin cylinder, tiller steering, single chain drive between the engine and the live rear axle, mechanical differential brake with transverse semi elliptical front springs and full elliptical rear springs. Boiler fuel is petrol with a water capacity of seven gallons. The large water tank is over 25 gallons. The steam running pressure is 200psi and it has a range of 35 miles. Its top speed is over 40mph.Convoy car: 1904 Ford, see middle left, The Model A was the first car built by the Ford Motor Company, which produced approximately 1750 Model A’s between July 1903 and December 1904. This car was available in both 2 seat and 4 seat versions. The detachable rear tonneau with its 2 seats was a $100 option. This car came to England in mid 1980s and has been in the present ownership since 1996.Convoy car: 1934 Wolseley. They were produced as rolling chassis’ by Wolseley Motors and you could have a variety of bodies fitted by any number of coachbuilders of the time.If any of these vehicles becomes unavailable, it will be substituted by a car of similar vintage.The convoy will pass by as many schools and pre-schools as possible en route so that infants and young children have the chance to see it. It will also pass by five hostelries and the customers will probably want to come out to cheer it on its way.

Sunday 9 April was chosen as the start of the wheelchair relay, because it is the end of the Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland Conference in Manchester. The wheelchair was provided by Wheelpower, a charity which encourages wheelchair sport, based at the Guttmann Centre in Stoke Mandeville, birthplace of the Paralympic Games. Wheelpower is a Rotary supported charity. Details about Wheelpower can be found at www.wheelpower.org.uk/WPower.Wheelpower has a Spinal Unit Project this year to provide an appropriate Sports Bag of equipment for each Spinal Unit in the project. The Rotary Club of Wendover & District organised a fund raising dinner at The Raj Restaurant, hosted by owner Rotarian Ricky Ahmed to raise money towards a Sports Bag of equipment. This dinner took place on Monday 27 March, after this edition of Wendover News went to press, so more news next month.

If you are interested in contacting your local Rotary Club, look at www.wendoverrotary.org.uk, make contact with us through the editor or come along to one of our meetings at the Holiday Inn 7.30 on a Monday night