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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Ulverston hospice vehicles ‘vital to patients and carers’

GETTING out into the community may be a vital part of the work St Mary’s Hospice does but it is impossible without a reliable set of wheels.

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MAINTENANCE Hospice volunteer Howard Graves does his best to keep the old van running smoothly MILTON HAWORTH REF: 50044099B004

For the Evening Mail’s Reaching Out campaign, volunteer Howard Graves spoke about his struggles keeping an ageing fleet of vehicles on the road.

The former geography teacher at Parkview School, Barrow, has been volunteering at the hospice for four years and one of his roles is looking after the vehicles.

He said: “I do regular checks on them and try to keep them roadworthy.

“Every four or five weeks I will come in and check them over. I have a checklist of things to check and do.”

But in recent months, Mr Graves has noticed the job becoming more difficult and time-consuming as time takes its toll on the valued motors.

He said: “The van is the oldest vehicle by a long way. It is coming up to 10 years old this year. It is a good solid little van but it gets hammered — it carries a lot of gear. By January it had done 47,000 miles and it is carrying heavy loads as well.”

The newest vehicles in the fleet are four Ford KAs, which the hospice has had for four years, but the mileage they do each day means maintenance is becoming an issue.

Mr Graves added: “As they get older I have noticed how much more often they have to go into the garage for repairs – especially the van and the 4x4 because they get hammered the most.

“We need vehicles to be able to cope with the conditions round here, especially in the winter. We need vehicles that are going to be reliable.”

The hospice’s head of income generation, Zoe Guest, said the daily travel can be taxing for the vehicles but the journeys are vital to the hospice and its patients.

She added: “Obviously our miles are not motorway miles – they are difficult miles.”

Donations totaling £130 have been made to the campaign in the first three days, including a £100 pledge from an anonymous donor.

You can donate to the cause at www.justgiving.com/reaching-out or in person at the Evening Mail’s offices in Abbey Road, Barrow.

ARTICLE ARCHIVE:

Call for support to replace Ulverston hospice fleet

Therapist's Ulverston hospice plea

Ailing van threatens Ulverston charity delivery work

Ulverston hospice staff helped grant ill dad’s dying wish

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