Page 1



Rough & ready Strap yourself in and hold on for the ride of your life!



Catch up with what’s been happening

06 Disability Snowsport Championing equal rights for skiiers



01_cover.indd 1

11 Celtic Storm

Powerchair football champions

14/05/2012 21:49


MEET THE TEAM Gary Albinson Mobility Adaptations

Jan McCullar Receptionist

LIKES Everything in its place The 80’s love ballads

LIKES France My pussycats

DISLIKES Incompetence Sitting still

DISLIKES Cold weather Baked beans Lee Jones Minibus Sales Specialist

Lucy Duller Customer Liaison

LIKES My dog Rugby

LIKES Chicken and asparagus pie Sky diving

DISLIKES Hair shampoo My diary

DISLIKES Mushrooms Heavy metal music

Caoney Morgan Motability Sales Administrator

Tracey Bull Sales Support

LIKES Holidays Horse riding

LIKES Laughing Cats

DISLIKES Baked beans Rain

DISLIKES Rudeness Twiglets Roy Hayter Used Sales Specialist

Stephen Murphy Sales Manager

LIKES Skiing Motorsport

LIKES Cycling Chopping up wood

DISLIKES Water Cricket

DISLIKES Bad driving The rain

Agata Owston Minibus Sales Administrator

Simon Ballamy Motability Adviser

LIKES Chocolate Being pregnant

LIKES Steak Football

DISLIKES Cats Winter

DISLIKES Mustard Rain Paul Barber Minibus Sales Specialist LIKES Football Coastal walking

LIKES Eating out Huge DIY jobs

DISLIKES Boats Long distance driving

DISLIKES Olives Christmas

02 // PROACTIVE Spring 2012

02-03_Contents.indd 2

David Christie Motability Adviser

14/05/2012 21:56



News 04-05 // Disability Snowsport 06-07 // Going up 09 // Celtic Storm 11 // Rough Riders 12-13 // A design for Life 14






14 GM Coachwork Ltd, Teign Valley, Trusham, Newton Abbot, TQ13 0NX T: 01626 853050 E: PROACTIVE is published every quarter by GM Coachwork Ltd and distributed free of charge.

Copyright GMCoachwork Ltd. No reproducton without the publishers consent.

02-03_Contents.indd 3

Mathew Smith, Editor DESIGNED BY youngstar* creative

PROACTIVE Spring 2012 // 03

14/05/2012 21:56


3 Peaks Challenge 16-17 June

Showtime SPRING is here, the sun is out (occasionally) and its time to get ready for the show season. We’ll be up and down the country with our WAV and Drive-from fleet showing you why GM is simply the best! Our Motability and sales advisors will be on hand to guide you through the process. And its a great way to see our vehicles first hand. DATE


26 May

Disabled Activity Day, Plymouth

8 – 9 June

Motability One Big Day, Stoneleigh, Warwickshire

21 – 23 June

The Mobility Roadshow, Peterborough

7 July

Motability One Big Day, Chepstow

26 July

Motability One Big Day, Bolton

2 – 3 August

Inspirations 4 Ability, Bristol

16 August

Motability One Big Day, Duxford

Its offi cial! Number 1 in Drive Froms FOLLOWING the launch of the Citroen Berlingo Duo, GM Coachwork now officially has the biggest range of drive-from wheelchair cars anywhere. There are four to choose from, three based on the VW Caravelle Nevada, Vermont, Colorado - and the new Duo, based on the Citroen Berlingo. No other convertor offers as many drive-from models as we do.

04 // PROACTIVE Spring 2012

04-05_FT_NEWS.indd 12

IT’S not long until the 3 Peaks Challenge. Paul and Lee have been busy training in readiness. Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdonia await the arrival of the GM team in their bid to raise £3000 for the Hemihelp charity. Can you afford to donate a £1? Every donation will get thanked on our GM Facebook site and the GM website. You can donate by going to our Just Giving page which is www.justgiving. com/GM-3-Peaks-Challenge

GM expands into used Drive Froms NOT content with having over 40 WAV’s in stock we’ve recently expanded into drive-froms. This specialist market requires specialist knowledge which is what we have. After all, we design and build drivefroms so we do know what we’re talking about. And if you need further adaptations we can do that for you prior to delivery. To view our current stock go to and click on Used Cars.

14/05/2012 22:22

Schools love ‘em! Our Minibus Lite is going down a storm with schools up and down the country. Finchley Catholic High School had this to say “thank you for your help, guidance and delivery of our fantastic Minibus Lite. The feedback I have received from staff and pupils has been unbelievable.” Minibus Lite is great for schools, charities and community transport associations. For a free demo call Tracey on 0845 0760961. More info at

SAY HELLO WAVE GOODBYE HELLO TO AGATAS BABY Weighing in at just under 7lbs baby Asia finally arrived, much to the relief of Agata. Everyone at GM wishes her health and happiness.

FAREWELL RODNEY! After 19 years at GM, Rodney Back is hanging up his welding kit and drill. Having worked on a whole range of vehicles over the years Rodney is retiring and planning on spending his well deserved rest taking to the road….on his bike!... with his wife Jean.

The Adaptation bible according to Gary LONGER than your average novel... but without the plot, our 350 page GM Mobility Adaptations and Accessories Catalogue will be available soon. In it you will find an A to Z of every mobility adaptation and vehicle modification we offer, from a simple steering ball to a full-on drive by wire system. And should you not see what you’re looking for (unlikely but you never know!) then give Gary a ring on 0845 0760964

04-05_FT_NEWS.indd 13

Tried and tested FOR those of you who receive the Motability Price Guide every quarter there’s something to look out for in the next issue. There is a column of extra information you may want to look at. Next to the prices at the back of the guide you will see there’s a column of ticks. Vehicles which are ticked have been tested and approved by the VCA (Vehicle Certification Agency) or VOSA. And as you will see all GM vehicles in the guide are ticked. Not all the vehicles will have ticks. Motability advise you to call the convertor to establish if the vehicle is approved but they have said they will not supply vehicles on the Motability scheme which are not approved.


PROACTIVE Spring 2012 // 05

14/05/2012 22:22

FEATURE: Disability Snowsport

l l a m s o o t t r o p s Snow ual ampioning eq h c n e e b s a h wsport Disability Sno many years r fo s r e ii k s d ble rights for disa


kiers and snowboarders with a disability should be able to ski alongside the able-bodied as equals at all ski facilities and resorts: this has been the vision that Disability Snowsport UK (DSUK) has been striving to achieve for many years. DSUK evolved from the joining of four smaller charities; The Uphill Ski Club of Great Britain, The British Disabled Ski Club, The National Handicapped Skiers Association and Scotland’s Alternative Skiers. Each of these charities focused on delivering similar aspects to the disabled community: ski lessons, overseas ski trips, facilitated local ski groups and dedicated race training. The pulling together of expertise and resources from these various charities was seen to be beneficial for all people with disabilities be they physical, learning or sensory impairments. How did this come about? In the 1970s Dr. David Morris took a group of disabled children with cerebral palsy skiing in the

06 // PROACTIVE Spring 2012

06-07_FT_Snowsport.indd 12

James Heather attended a DSUK activity week in Italy this year nine years after his serious accident which almost killed him.

Alps. It was believed that the physical movements involved in skiing could enhance coordination, balance and self-awareness. These physical benefits proved to be true for all disabilities and all ages and also proved to be crucial for the personal and social development of skiers. As Dr. Morris surveyed his team he asked the question ‘Why shouldn’t there be a wheelchair at the top of this mountain?’

I only walked about three metres but it was an amazing feeling and ever since then I’ve thought the sky is the limit.’

As a BA pilot James flew into Paris one evening and checked into a hotel. Going out with friends, and thinking he was on the ground floor, James jumped over the banister unaware of the 18ft drop onto a marble floor until it was too late. James landed on his head and ended up in a coma for six weeks with the doctors and his parents preparing for the worst. In time James did wake up but he couldn’t remember how to do anything. Talking about his rehabilitation, James says: ‘I remember taking my first steps; I stumbled like I was drunk and only walked about three metres but it was an amazing feeling and ever since then I’ve thought the sky is the limit.’ Nine years later James decided it was time to get back on the slopes and booked his first DSUK trip. He wasn’t sure how he would cope but his determination shone through. After just two days of instruction

14/05/2012 22:27

It was when we took to the slopes, having been provided with all the necessary equipment that the real excitement began his muscle memory returned and after three days he tackled a black run with style and finesse grinning from ear to ear!

HAZEL’S STORY Hazel has cerebral palsy and attempted her first ski lesson at age ten. Years later when her colleague started talking about planning a ski trip Hazel decided that she would like to do the same and set about finding ‘something’ that could take her ‘somewhere’ to do some skiing. Hazel had no idea whether she would be able to ski but she was adamant that she was going on a ski holiday. She contacted DSUK and before long she had left work and family behind to brave the unknown. Travelling with a group of strangers and trying something new in an unfamiliar environment didn’t stop Hazel from achieving her goal. She used a mono ski to get her around the mountain and it didn’t take too long for her determination to kick in as she mastered the piece of equipment that she had only just met a few days earlier. Hazel couldn’t stop smiling all week. Going skiing often entails a logistical challenge: what clothes do we bring? How much luggage are we allowed? What do we do with the wheelchair? Isn’t my child too young for this? Is this going to be safe?

BEVERLEY’S STORY Beverley, Zelda’s mother, probably had some of these questions in mind. She and her family came on their first trip in 2007, and have returned every year. Beverley recalls ‘It was when we took to the slopes, having been provided with all the necessary equipment that the real excitement began. Zelda was teamed up with Rachel,

06-07_FT_Snowsport.indd 13

her brilliant instructor, and Joe, one of the several wonderful volunteer helpers on the trip. Rachel attached herself to Zelda’s sit-ski using safety ropes (tethers), and they were off, Zelda being steered by Rachel and Joe skiing behind, ensuring their safety by keeping other skiers at bay. Already I was struggling to keep up and all I could hear was Zelda in the distance calling out ‘faster, faster!’

organising a trip overseas. They took a group of 12 physically disabled young people to France and the trip was so successful that it is now an annual event. As well as going overseas they also attend regular sessions in the UK to Castleford Sno!zone. These are now part of the routine for these young people who were originally not given the same opportunity than their fellow schoolmates.

Zelda is not the only young person who has been lucky to experience the thrill that skiing provides. In 2010 the Aiming High for Disabled Children programme, in partnership with the Physical and Medical Difficulties team in Sunderland, contacted Disability Snowsport UK to discuss

All of these stories would not be possible if it wasn’t for the hard word of instructors, volunteers, and fundraising efforts. DSUK organises a wide range of fundraising events to support its work and deliver safe and enjoyable life-changing opportunities for skiers.

If you want to know more about our work please visit PROACTIVE Spring 2012 // 07

14/05/2012 22:27



Citroen Berlingo Blaze

Citroen Berlingo Duo

Wheelchair access vehicle Over 58 mpg Seats 4 plus wheelchair passenger

Drive-from wheelchair Optional rear two seat bench interchangeable driver and passenger seats

Citroen Berlingo Blaze Auto 6 speed semi-automatic Over 58 mpg Fully automatic and paddle lever gearchange

Peugeot Expert Montana Seats seven plus one wheelchair

Volkswagen Colorado Drive from wheelchair

Side access

08 // PROACTIVE Spring 2012

08-09_FT_Lift service.indd 8

Peugeot Expert Flare Flat floor throughout Available as up-front passenger Choice of short or long wheelbase

Volkswagen Monterey Flagship of the WAV range

Volkswagen Nevada Drive from wheelchair

Rear access

Peugeot Boxer Utah Accommodates multiple wheelchairs

Volkswagen Vermont Drive from wheelchair

Rear access

14/05/2012 22:46

FEATURE: Lift Servicing

Going UP Lift servicing is a legal requirement. Has your lift been certified?


f your vehicle has a tail or side lift for lifting wheelchair users then chances are you’ve already met Kevin Partridge. Kevin is our Mobile Lift Service Engineer who spends most of his days on the road, travelling to all four corners of the country (including the Channel Islands!) servicing and testing lifts. If you have a public service vehicle with a lift and you’ve never met Kevin before then read on… By law any lift fitted to a vehicle, for hire or reward, needs servicing and certificating. It is recommended that private individuals have their lift examined once a year - Motability also advise it and arrange for all Motability vehicles to have annual lift services. We also undertake weight tests and provide certification that your lift has achieved certain benchmarks. Kevin says “Components can wear prematurely causing malfunction with potentially dangerous results. Lifts are a heavy duty piece of engineering designed to lift all weights of people. If you’re operating a public service you’ve got to make sure its fit for purpose. An accident could cost you dearly”

ts gen a e ar GM Ricon, f, for tclif a R , PLS n, AMF u Bra

08-09_FT_Lift service.indd 9

The Lifting Operations and Lifting Regulations 1998 (LOLER) require lifts to be examined every 6 months. An examination certificate will be issued which could be required by Health and Safety Officers. To book your lift for a service call Kevin Partridge direct on 07739 979014

PROACTIVE Spring 2012 // 09

14/05/2012 22:46

Used_Page_spring_Layout 1 28/03/2012 11:57 Page 1 Used_Page_spring_Layout 1 28/03/2012 11:57 Page 1

Used_Page_spring_Layout 1 28/03/2012 11:57 Page 1



95 75 £4£,47,9





2005 CITROEN BERLINGO 2005 CITROEN BERLINGO petrol, 2 owners, 37,000miles, miles, 1.41.4 petrol, 2 owners, 37,000 lightweight ramp, lowered floor, lightweight ramp, lowered floor, 2005 CITROEN BERLINGO rear saloon seat (J12597) oneone rear saloon seat (J12597)

1.4 petrol, 2 owners, 37,000 miles,

00 ramp, lowered floor, lightweight 40 ,0 £3£,34 one rear saloon seat (J12597) 0


2007FIAT FIATDOBLO DOBLO 2007 1.4petrol, petrol,twin twinsliding sliding doors, doors, 1.4 loweredfloor, floor, lightweight lightweight ramp, ramp, lowered 2007 FIAT DOBLO air con, onerear rearseat seat (J11124) (J11124) air con, one

1.4 petrol, twin sliding doors, lowered floor, ,499 55 lightweight ramp, 13,4 air3con, one rear seat (J11124) ££1

5 £13,49

2003 MERCEDES VANEO 2010 PEUGEOT EXPERT 2003 VANEO PEUGEOT EXPERT 1.6 MERCEDES petrol, 57000 miles, lightweight 2010 TEEPEE 1.6HDi, lowered floor, 1.6ramp, petrol, 57000 lightweight TEEPEE 1.6HDi, lowered floor, low floor,miles, one rear saloon lightweight ramp, 27000 miles, one 2003 MERCEDES ramp, low floor, one rearVANEO saloon 2010 PEUGEOT EXPERT lightweight ramp, miles, one seats (J11088) rear saloon seat, 27000 twin front petrol, 57000 miles, lightweight rear TEEPEE 1.6HDi, lowered seats1.6 (J11088) saloonseat seat,(J12347) twin front floor, passenger ramp, low floor, one rear saloon lightweight ramp, 27000 miles, one passenger seat (J12347)

95 ,9,95 66 33 ££

2,,999955 12 £1 5 £12,99

5 £36,99

2008 2008CITROEN CITROENC8 C8CIRRUS CIRRUS 17,000 17,000 miles, miles,auto, auto,22rear rearsaloon saloon seats, seats,good goodspec, spec,full fullwidth widthramp, ramp, 2008 CITROEN C8 CIRRUS lowered floor, lowered floor, (J12589) (J12589) 17,000 miles, auto, 2 rear saloon seats, spec, ,,4 5 full width ramp, 4995 £ 0good 10 £1 lowered floor, (J12589)

2003 VW CARAVELLE COLORADO 2003 VW CARAVELLE COLORADO DRIVE-FROM WHEELCHAIR DRIVE-FROM WHEELCHAIR 130bhp TDI, auto, only 9000 miles, ourour 130bhp TDI, auto, only 9000 miles, own low floor conversion. SaveSave overover own low floor conversion. 2003 VW CARAVELLE COLORADO £10k onon new (J11962) £10k new (J11962) DRIVE-FROM WHEELCHAIR 130bhp TDI,0 auto, only 9000 miles, our 000 ,2,floor 7low own conversion. Save over ££ 2 7 £10k on new (J11962)

5 £10,49


2010 CITROEN BERLINGO 2010 CITROEN BERLINGO 1.6 HDI, our demonstrator, 1.6 HDI, our demonstrator, lightweight ramp, lowered floor, 2010 CITROEN BERLINGO lightweight ramp, lowered floor, one rear saloon seat (J10193) 1.6 demonstrator, oneHDI, rearour saloon seat (J10193) lightweight ramp, lowered floor, one rear saloon seat (J10193)

2008 RENAULT KANGOO 2008miles, RENAULT KANGOO 38,000 lightweight ramp, 38,000 lightweight ramp, low floor,miles, one rear saloon seat, 2008 lowRENAULT floor, one KANGOO rear saloon seat, (J11823) 38,000 miles, lightweight ramp, (J11823) low floor, one rear saloon seat, (J11823)

£15,995 £15,995 £10,495


seats (J11088) rear saloon seat, twin front WHEELCHAIR ACCESS VEHICLES passenger seat (J12347) WHEELCHAIR ACCESS VEHICLES 2009 CITROEN C8 2.0 HDi, 11000 miles, manual, lightweight ramp, 2 rear seats, (J12268) 2009 CITROEN C8BERLINGO 2.0 HDi, 11000 miles, manual, lightweight ramp,22rear rearseats seats,(J10193) (J12268) WHEELCHAIR ACCESS VEHICLES 2010 CITROEN BLAZE 1.6 HDi, 38000 miles, manual,


2010 CITROEN BERLINGO BLAZE HDi,manual, 38000 miles, manual, 2 2rear £10,495 2009 CITROEN C8HIGH 2.0 HDi, 11000 miles, ramp, rear seats, (J10193) (J12268) £15,995 2006 FIAT DOBLO ROOF 1.31.6 multijet diesel,lightweight 32000 miles, manual, 4seats seats (J12206) £6,995 2006 FIAT DOBLO HIGH ROOF 1.3 multijet diesel, 32000 miles, manual, 4 seats (J12206) £6,995 2010 CITROEN BERLINGO BLAZE 1.6 HDi, 38000 miles, manual, 2 rear seats (J10193) £10,495 2004 RENAULT KANGOO 1.6 petrol, 15000 miles, auto, one rear saloon seat, two side doors ( J8240) £5,500 2006 FIAT DOBLO HIGH ROOF 1.3 multijet diesel, 32000 miles, manual, seatstwo (J12206) 2004 RENAULT KANGOO 1.6 petrol, 15000 miles, auto, rearfull saloon side doors ( J8240)£6,995 £5,500 MASTER 2.5DCi, 38000 miles, manual, 5one seats, width4seat, lightweight ramp (J11602) £8,750 2006 RENAULT 2004 RENAULT KANGOO 1.6 petrol, 15000 miles, auto, one rear saloon seat, two side doors ( J8240) £5,500 MASTER 2.5DCi, 38000 miles, manual, 5 seats, full width lightweight ramp (J11602) £8,750 2006 RENAULT 2005 TOYOTA HI-ACE 2.5 diesel, 58000 miles. 4 seats, manual. (J11964) £6,500 MASTER 2.5DCi, 38000 miles, manual, 5 seats,(J11964) full width lightweight ramp (J11602) RENAULT 20052006 TOYOTA HI-ACE 2.5 diesel, 58000 miles. 4 seats, manual. 2005 TOYOTA HI-ACE 2.5 diesel, 58000 miles. 4 seats, manual. (J11964) DRIVE-FROM WHEELCHAIR VEHICLES

2010 VW CARAVELLE COLORADO Low floor conversion, side lift, 9000 miles, (J11962) DRIVE-FROM WHEELCHAIR VEHICLES DRIVE-FROM WHEELCHAIR VEHICLES 2.2TDi, 4 seats, remote operated ramp (J11852) 2009 MERCEDES SPRINTER 2010 VW CARAVELLE COLORADO Low floor conversion, side lift,tailgate 9000 and miles, (J11962)

2010 VW CARAVELLE COLORADO Low floor conversion, side lift, 9000 miles, (J11962) 2007 RENAULT SPRINTER MASTER 2.5TDi, 4 seats, remote rear door and Ricon lift (J11653) 2.2TDi,auto, 4 seats, remote operated tailgate and ramp (J11852) 2009 MERCEDES 2009 MERCEDES SPRINTER 2.2TDi, 4 seats, remote operated tailgate and ramp (J11852) 2008 RENAULT KANGOO 1.6 petrol, 3000 miles, auto, remote tailgate and ramp (J10670) 2007 RENAULT MASTER 2.5TDi, auto, 4 seats, remote rear door and Ricon lift (J11653) 2007 RENAULT MASTER 2.5TDi, auto, 4 seats, remote rear door and Ricon lift (J11653)

2008 RENAULT KANGOO 1.6 petrol, 3000 miles, auto, remote tailgate and ramp (J10670) 2008 RENAULT KANGOO 1.6 petrol, 3000 miles, auto, remote tailgate and ramp (J10670)

All used vehicles are fully serviced with at least 9 months MOT and with a fullare mechanical and wheelchair equipment safety check Allcome used vehicles fully MOT and All used vehicles are fullyserviced servicedwith withatatleast least 99 months months MOT and OVER 40 VEHICLES IN STOCK OPEN 6 DAYS A WEEK come with a full mechanical safety check check come with a full mechanicaland andwheelchair wheelchairequipment equipment safety

£8,750 £6,500


2009 SPRINTER 2009 MERCEDES £36,995 2009 MERCEDES DRIVE-FROM SPRINTER £21,995 SPRINTER £36,995 2.2HDI, 19000 miles, DRIVE-FROM £36,995 DRIVE-FROM £15,995 remote rear lift, side £21,995 2.2HDI, 19000 miles, £21,995 2.2HDI, 19000 miles, £14,995 door. Great value £15,995 remote rear lift, side £15,995 remote rear lift, side £14,995 door. Great value £14,995 Our stock isdoor. Great value £6,500

changing all the time sostock if youis Our Our stock is can’t find what changing changing all all thethe your looking for time so if time so if youyou give mefind a call. can’t what can’t find what your looking your looking for for give a call. give meme a call.


TELEPHONE 0845 076 0963 or visit TELEPHONE 0845 076 0963 TELEPHONE 0845 076 0963 or visit or visit

10-11_FT_Celtic storm.indd 10

14/05/2012 22:47

ACTIVE: Celtic Storm

On the ball Powerchair football club Celtic Storm defeat division champions to win the WFA plate


eltic Storm, Cornwall’s powerchair football club, secured victory in the final of the WFA Plate (Wheelchair Football Association) to bring home the club’s first ever national trophy. The competition saw them compete against clubs from all over the country, culminating in a clash between Newcastle-based Northern Thunder Blues at the final league event of the season. This helped them to secure second place in league one. Many would have seen Celtic Storm as the underdogs as Northern Thunder Blues had just sealed their first place finish in the championship, a whole division higher than their opponents, but right from the beginning Storm’s players showed no signs of fear. The game was closely fought, with a tense yet goal-less first half. The breakthrough came soon after the start of the second half when Storm’s Stuart Warner fired in a free kick from the edge of the area which rattled in off the post. Northern Thunder reacted well, piling on the pressure and pinning the Cornish side back in their own half. Goalkeeper Steve Paget and star defender Steve Bird held their nerve far better than the supporters to continually deny the opposition an equalizing goal. Northern Thunder threw more and more players into the attack, eventually overstretching themselves with six minutes to go allowing Warner a clear run at an empty goal to pick up his second of the match after Mark Stevens successfully

10-11_FT_Celtic storm.indd 11

cleared a corner kick sealing the victory and silverware for Celtic Storm. Storm’s Chris Kellett summed up the reaction after the game, saying, “To actually win a trophy for all the hard work is a really great feeling. It’s what we train for every week, so it means so much to have everything pay off in this way. This is definitely the highlight of my time at the club so far, to win such a big national competition is phenomenal. I just hope we can push on to make a habit of it!”.

To actually win a trophy for all the hard work is a really great feeling The trophy was collected that evening in the presence of the twenty teams that currently comprise the fast expanding National League. Competition is likely to be even hotter next season with a new league system to accommodate more teams and veterans of the forthcoming World Cup in Paris pushing the standard of the national game to a new level. Celtic Storm’s continued presence in the Premiership division is a source of pride for the county, but will have to be defended even more fiercely next season. As ever in the world of football success on the pitch is only half the story. The financial strain of transporting and

accommodating a full squad of players with all the necessary equipment to each league weekend has taken its toll. Thanks to the hard work of Steve Bird and Steve Paget the club has now acquired a minibus from the Duchy Health Charity, a long-term goal which will now make it easier for players to attend the competitive events they work so hard towards. Yet despite this success, and the hours of dedication it represents, the club has still been forced to withdraw its second team, which competed in the last three seasons, from the league, even in the face of raising membership. The cost of a Cornwall-based side competing on a national level leads to a constant struggle which requires much more than the army of willing volunteers the club can boast to succeed in. Looking ahead to the new season, one can only hope that Celtic Storm will enjoy more victories like those with which it ended the previous one, but on both fronts the fight is far from over.


PROACTIVE Spring 2012 //11

14/05/2012 22:47

FEATURE: Rough Riders

& H G U O R ! Y D A E R I Stra

p yo

t’s fast, it’s furious and completely exhilarating. It’s the adrenaline addict’s perfect day out. Get strapped in and hold on tight as you hurtle round the corners and down the slopes of some of the UK’s finest woodland trails. Welcome to Rough Riderz, and the crazy world of four wheeled, downhill gravity bikes.

Ever increasing in popularity, with currently in excess of 220 members, Rough Riderz is the brainchild of founder member Phil

12 // PROACTIVE Spring 2012

12-13_FT_Rough Riders.indd 12


lf in



on fo

r the


Hall. He’s the club’s secretary, and can claim full bragging rights for bringing the concept of “fourcross” to our shores from America. An avid motorcyclist before a devastating accident left him paralysed in 2003, the Preston-based rider was now actively searching for something that he’d love as much as motorbikes. “Luckily I’d done a bit of downhill mountain biking before my accident, and I thought: ‘I wonder if that’s an option?’” says Hall, 38. “I saw a poster for fourwheeled biking, and on asking the disabled

of yo

ur li


community I was surprised to find that almost no one in the UK had heard of it.

“So I decided to do some more research, and managed to track down an activity centre in Colorado. They were offering a week-long package holiday where you could try your hand at this sport. I absolutely loved it and decided on the way home that I was going to start my own club in the UK.”

FUN IS AT THE HEART It’s an all-inclusive, fun-loving club whose mission statement is simply to promote integrated sport across the nation. The focus here is less on physical ability and more about encouraging people from all walks of life to dive into a new and exciting pastime. Thanks to their excellent links with the Forestry Commission, they’re a regular sight on the trails at

14/05/2012 22:50

The focus here is less on physical ability and more about encouraging people from all walks of life to dive into a new and exciting pastime. Whinlatter Forest in the Lake District, Ae Forest in Dumfries, and Fort William’s ultra-extreme “Off Beat Downhill” World Cup track! What goes up must come down, but the greatest issue they face is how to get the bikes up the hillside in the first place. Their unique Taster Days, which give riders all-day access to some of the UK’s best downhill trails, are as sought-after as ever: with their own van providing an accessible uplift service and a club bike allowing newcomers to have a go, at a minimum cost to themselves. However, their main aim is to introduce more people to the sport and pave the way to an effective fourcross ‘Team GB’. So what impact has Rough Riderz made so far on those who’ve tried it? James Hallam, from Leicestershire, said he “really enjoyed the day out” at Whinlatter in June last year, and that the “fourcross machine was incredible.” Despite the typical British weather putting in an appearance, it enhanced the excitement of the day rather than marred it.

Hallam continued: “The rain made it more exciting, as the rear end slides on the top end of the run were magical. Drifting sideways is great fun! The different terrain available at Whinlatter was amazing fire roads, slippery slate, mud holes, jumps and tree lined routes made for a fantastic range of surfaces, each with their own challenges and exhilaration.” He thanked Rough Riderz for a wonderful day out, and advised anyone and everyone to give it a go. Rob Bailey is an able-bodied rider from West Cumbria who trialled the fourcross bike two years ago. In his experience, again at Whinlatter, “a very well organised day was made even better with brilliant summer weather. After an introduction to the bike on forest roads on the South side, we then went onto the Southern Loop trail. Although it was more testing and quite tricky, the instructors were with me all the way.” He concluded that his riding really improved as the day progressed, and he was looking forward to returning for further taster sessions.

The rain made it more exciting, as the rear end slides on the top end of the run were magical

One of the furthest-travelled triallers was Ben Owen-Jones from South Wales, who sampled two taster days between June and July 2010. Already a keen follower of the club, he made sure to get his name on the taster day list as soon as he found out about them. He said: “The session had been well organised, and clearly planned to accommodate me as a ‘newbie’. “The first trail was quite challenging, although Phil seemed able to ride it with his eyes closed! I enjoyed finding out how responsive and well built the bike is. In fact, I could have stayed on the first trail all day but the crew were keen to stretch my capabilities.” He went on to joke that the bank should lend him eleven thousand Canadian Dollars to enable him to purchase his own bike. It’s something of a growing phenomenon in the UK, and the club is incredibly proud to see its efforts taking flight. Full details of the club, bike specifications and their Taster Day Scheme can be found on the club website at The club also has an established presence, with growing membership, on Facebook, as well as their own YouTube channel offering a variety of videos showcasing their activities on different trails across the UK. Information about exciting new plans to build a more cost effective and accessible UK model of these crazy four wheeled machines is also available on their partner website at

12-13_FT_Rough Riders.indd 13

PROACTIVE Spring 2012 // 13

14/05/2012 22:50

FEATURE: Developing a new wheelchair vehicle

Design for life Developing a new wheelchair vehicle takes thousands of hours of research and testing. We go behind the scenes to find out what’s involved


ainstream car manufacturers usually allow 3 years to develop a new model. They are, of course, developing a whole vehicle from scratch with the luxury of being able to allocate huge financial and human resources to the project from day one. In contrast, vehicle convertors face a different set of challenges. The manufacturer has invested millions in the vehicle that we use as the base vehicle for carrying out the conversions. But our challenge is to engineer the donor vehicle into a wheelchair access vehicle. Of course, before you can get to this stage we need to select a suitable vehicle to consider for a conversion. It needs to have good access height and lend itself to being engineered into a wheelchair vehicle. Some vehicles are simply not suited because of the complex and costly engineering of key elements, such as the suspension. Having chosen a suitable vehicle the first item on the agenda is a torsion rigidity test. This test involves twisting

14 // PROACTIVE Spring 2012

14-15_FT_Heathfield.indd 10

the vehicle and measuring how far it bends. This test is repeated after the conversion to check the conversion hasn’t effected the rigidity of the shell. With the rigidity test complete the vehicle is stripped out to leave virtually a bare shell with only the dashboard remaining. The next step is to remove the floor, manufacture a new floor and suspension components where the original ones can’t be used, and strengthen the chassis. All through the process we have regular meetings with the VCA (Vehicle Certification Agency). They advise on which specific parts of the vehicle need to be tested to ensure they satisfy their strict criteria. The design team then create drawings that are needed for any manufactured parts, before sending them to a suitable supplier to manufacture and supply the component. With a vehicle complete and the teething problems ironed out we set about building another vehicle but this time using the newly manufactured

parts. A third vehicle follows - a shell with wheelchair equipment and seats fitted – which is used for static and dynamic testing. Dynamic testing is as it sounds, testing the vehicle while its moving. One of these tests includes the shell being stopped dead from 30mph. Other tests include fixing chains on the seatbelt anchor points and pulling them at the equivalent of a 30mph impact. And all through this process the VCA is present to ensure the vehicle meets their exacting standards. Only when all the testing is complete and the vehicle is approved by the VCA can we start building production models. This entire process can take up to two years from initial concept to final production. We always keep safety as paramount and aim to design with the wheelchair user very much as priority. But we also want the design to be visually attractive and durable for the life of the vehicle. This ethos is at the heart of everything we do so when you choose a GM vehicle you know you’re getting a highly developed vehicle designed with you in mind.

14/05/2012 23:07


Ty pe




pp ro ve d



The lightweight minibus you can drive on an ordinary car licence*

The light on a

•No D1 licence required* •Choice of five specifications •Removable seats and luggage space •Wide range of wheelchair accessible options •16 or 17 M2 tested seats, 3 point seatbelts and fully carpeted interior

• No D1 licence required* •Choice of five specificat • Removable seats and luggag • Wide range of wheelch 17 M2 tested seats, 3 •16 orGreater Mobility


CALL TO CALL TODAY 0845 0760961 or visit

or visit

* see for full details on * see for full details on licence eligibility. Conditions apply. MinibusLite 16 seater can be driven under a Section 19 permit (and without a D1 licence) if the driver is over 21 y without a D1 licence) if the driver is over 21 years of age; has held a category B licence for at least 2 years; receives no payment for driving the vehicle; and the vehicle has a gross weight not exceedi and the vehicle has a gross weight not exceeding 3.5 tonnes. Full details available from GM Coachwork Ltd

14-15_FT_Heathfield.indd 11 1 GM Mini bus lite A4 AD3.indd

GM Mini bus lite A4 AD3.indd 1

14/05/2012 24/10/2011 23:07 23:26


Luxury as standard


Greater Mobility

Volkswagen Caravelle MONTEREY Luxury Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

Drive from wheelchair vehicles giving you total independence

Volkswagen Caravelle NEVADA

Volkswagen Caravelle COLORADO

Rear access Remote operated tailgate and ramp Rear lowering suspension Lowered floor Class leading access height 59�

Side access Remote operated doors and lift Optional air levelling suspension Lowered floor Three seat rear bench

Volkswagen Caravelle VERMONT Rear access Remote operated tailgate and lift Levelled floor Travel as up front passenger

Call 0845 0760964 GM 01_cover.indd Classy AD_A4_V3.indd 16 1

04/10/2011 14/05/2012 20:37 21:49

ProActive Spring 2012  

Sprng newsletter by GM Coachwork