‘I’m really impressed with the Vauxhall Vivaro. The ramp is very clever and the floor is so low’
Mr Walton, Bedford.
Melvyn Walton from Bedford was born with cerebral palsy and has been in a wheelchair all his life. He has had several wheelchair accessible cars, including one his dad made himself!
When Melvyn was a young boy, the family managed with a conventional car until turned fourteen when he became too heavy to lift in and out. It was then that Melvyn’s dad bought an old minivan and together with a family friend they converted the van themselves.
Moving from his family house into a Leonard Cheshire residential home was a turning point as it gave him independence. He took on the responsibility of a Transport Coordinator for the home and that’s when he first became aware of Gowrings Mobility and accessible vehicles and started saving up to buy one for himself. “As a Transport Co-ordinator, I was getting brochures from different companies, including Gowrings Mobility. I was impressed and even went to visit the factory that was then in Thatcham.”
Melvyn bought a Gowrings Mobility Ford Escort in 1989. After the Ford Escort, he had a Fiat Doblo from a different company. “It was a terrible conversion. It wasn’t the same standard that I was used to with Gowrings. It had a high roof and the ramp was very long, steep and dangerous with my big power chair.
I felt that I was swivelling in my chair inside the car. I kept this car for a year and hardly went out because it felt so unsafe, but I managed to save enough money to purchase another car from Gowrings Mobility.”
Melvyn bought a Citroën Berlingo from Gowrings Mobility, which he loved. However, after a number of years, he realised that he needed more space. “I go on holiday at least twice a year and I carry a lot of equipment plus two or three people join me, so I felt that I needed to look into having a bigger vehicle. That’s why I decided to buy the Vauxhall Vivaro.”
Melvyn and his friends like the Vauxhall Vivaro a lot. “I’m really impressed with the Vauxhall Vivaro. The ramp is very clever and the floor is so low, which means that I can manage without lowering suspension. It is a very comfortable ride even though it’s a bigger vehicle. The vision is also great, as I can see really easily through the side windows and can sit forward and have a chat with my friends. And according to my friends, it’s a super vehicle to drive.”
Dealing with Gowrings Mobility has always been good. “I felt like Gowrings were listening to me. I found the company first class.”
Melvyn loves going shopping, to the pictures, bowling and all the normal leisure activities that people take for granted. “I have a disability, but I forget about it and make the most of my life.”