The Rolls-Royce SRH was hand-built especially for the hospital’s Paediatric Day Surgery Unit after the NHS trust’s dedicated charity Love Your Hospital approached the luxury car manufacturer for support. Going for an operation can be daunting for younger patients and staff do all they can to make it a fun experience and, at St Richard’s, children have enjoyed the distraction of driving a toy car to surgery for years.

But their old jeep was tired so when a very special mini Rolls-Royce arrived at its new home this week it was an instant hit with children, families and staff alike.

St Richard’s patient, Hari Rajyaguru in the driver’s seat with Love Your Hospital,
trust Chief Executive, Marianne Griffiths, Children’s Day Surgery staff and the team from Rolls-Royce

“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,” said paediatric matron Sue Nicholls.

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.”

Eight-year-old Molly Matthews and seven-year-old Hari Rajyaguru, both patients at St Richard’s, welcomed the car to its new home, one week after its official unveiling at the home of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, near Chichester.

Molly who attends Southborne Junior School said: “I felt like a princess driving the car – it’s really amazing and I think it will make other children who are having treatment feel much better.”

Hari’s mum, Asmita, said: “Without the team at St Richard’s, Hari wouldn’t have survived Leukaemia and just as the nurses at St Richard’s do all they can to help children have a positive experience, this car will also be a wonderful distraction for the children. They will forget their pain and this will make their hospital visit memorable for the right reasons.”

The children’s services at St Richard’s are rated “Outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission, with inspectors commending staff for being “unfailingly kind”.  The new Rolls-Royce SRH will help the children’s care team further enhance the hospital experience for sick children.

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.”