More than £2,000 raised in garden event for ‘mercy vehicle’

From left, Michael Clenshaw and Peter Jones, a 'Green Goddess' driver
From left, Michael Clenshaw and Peter Jones, a 'Green Goddess' driver

More than £2,000 was raised in a Pulborough garden event to replace an unreliable community ‘mercy vehicle’.

Gail Noon, 49, retired, of Pulborough, is fundraising to replace the ‘Green Goddess’, a decade-old, wheelchair-accessible vehicle, with a newer model which will cost Pulborough Community Care less in repairs.

Gail, the newest and youngest member of the charity’s team of voluntary drivers said: “It’s a very worthwhile cause. The car does at least 12 runs a week on average and most of the drivers go out at least once a week so it’s much needed.

“This came about a couple of weeks ago, it broke down on the way to hospital - you can’t have a vehicle which is taking disabled people to hospital and breaking.”

She added: “It feels humbling. There’s one particular lady who’s seriously disabled and cannot speak - to take her out with her friend once a week you get a lump in your throat - so you feel you cannot do enough and opening my garden is the least I can do.

“It’s hard work I must admit, I’m not a terribly big girl so to push someone in their wheelchair is hard work, but I’m glad to do it.”

Gail was called ‘very enthusiastic and positive’ by Michael Clenshaw, who coordinates the driving teams at Pulborough and District Community Care Association.

He said: “Most of the people we help are quite seriously disabled.

“It is a genuine lifeline for them.”

The original Green Goddesses were fire pump vehicles built in the 1950s for the Auxiliary Fire Service .

Michael explained: “The name ‘Green Goddess’ has been plagiarised by us really.

“We originally called the vehicle the Sharan as that is its model, the VW Sharan, but the term ‘Green Goddess’ seems to fit its character much more as it is really a ‘mercy vehicle’ and really does help people to get out of the house when otherwise they would be unable to because of wheelchair confinement.”

Guests will be able to view a collection of vintage cars, and there will be a tombola, donated plants for sale and tea and cakes from 2pm to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday at New Place Manor, London Road, Pulborough.

Adults tickets are priced £3.50 and children go free. No dogs are allowed.

COUNTY TIMES COMMUNITY AWARDS

Nominations are now open for the County Times Community Awards. If you would like to nominate Gail Noon for an award please see page 74 of this week’s County Times.