How a Van that ‘Didn’t Exist’ is Helping to Feed Hundreds

DUNTON, UK - When Ford answered the call from a charity desperate for a van to help them deliver food to the needy in Oxford, it was time for a real team effort to swing into action.

Durability engineer Steve Wright had the task of getting the Transit Custom PHev registered and available to use, and that’s where the problems started, because the van didn’t really exist, at least not officially as a van.

It had been simply a project – not much more than a collection of parts assembled and sent to a converter to have a refrigerated body fitted.

For a start it had to be gate released, then officially imported, and next homologated – an incredible journey through paperwork and officialdom. But instead of being put off, Steve put out a call to the experts within Ford who could make all these things happen.

“They all worked wonders to make this a vehicle you could drive on the road and register. Without these people it would have ended with the van being scrapped,” said Steve, who works in Kevin Strutt’s Fleet Test team.

Huge thanks are due, he said, to Vicci Pritchard, Phil Farbon, Dave Petts, Sascha Koenigshausen, Andrew Bush, Bill Hardaway, Alex Pattullo, Debbie Parry, Ashleigh Grange, Martin Cooper and Vijaya Kumar.

Ford has loaned the van to Oxford Mutual Aid who deliver food parcels and meals to hundreds of people across Oxford. They had been fundraising for a van for nearly two years and were losing hope - they were haemorrhaging money having to hire one for weeks at a time - and were over the moon with Ford’s offer. 

“It’s quite surprising how many people in Oxford rely on food banks,” said Steve. ”They were so pleased to get this vehicle.”

They certainly were, said Muireann Meehan Speed of Oxford Mutual Aid’s oversight committee: “We are all so incredibly humbled and grateful. Thank you so much. Because of this van, we have been able to save and distribute ten fridges and freezers worth of meat alone today.” 

She added: “Legends. This means so much to us.” 

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