HM Lord Lieutenant for the County of Bedfordshire, Mrs Helen Nellis, attended a special occasion at Bedford Hospital on Monday 18 January 2016 to mark the 10th Anniversary of The Primrose Car Service which takes those patients of Bedford’s Primrose Unit requiring radiotherapy treatment to and from Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge. Provided by the Bedford Hospitals Charity and without charge to the patients, the Primrose Car Service has more than 20 volunteers who drive four Vauxhall Zafira vehicles on 365 days a year to take the patients who may have up to 35 treatments over about six weeks. Enquiries about what is believed still to a unique activity in the UK continue to be received from other parts of the country. Gordon Beeden, Vice Chairman of the Charity, recognised and thanked the generous response of the local community to appeals by the Charity, all volunteer drivers past and present, the many staff of the East of England Ambulance Service who coordinate the programme, Vauxhall Motors Ltd for their generous support in the purchase of the vehicles, sponsors including Michael Peters of Bedford, and the staff of Bedford Hospital and the Primrose Unit. Special mention was made of Delphi Ellis who plays a vital role as Volunteer Manager for The Primrose Car Service.
Three volunteer drivers
In its first 10 years the Car Service Scheme has provided 24,000 patient journeys over some 752,000 miles, that is three times the distance to the Moon. On behalf of all patients and the whole community HM Lord Lieutenant Mrs Helen Nellis congratulated all those volunteers and supporters who have worked so hard to begin and sustain this marvellous scheme for so many people. Speaking from her own experience, Mrs Nellis told how she has seen the relief and gratitude of patients and their families, and she said that the combined efforts of the community, the volunteers, local organisations and businesses and the NHS, go to show just what can be achieved by good will and determination. Mr Brian Woodrow, Founder Chairman and now Chairman of the Trustees of the Bedford Hospitals Charity, thanked and congratulated everyone involved with the Primrose Car Scheme. In doing so, he told how the late Mrs Jean Beeden, then Vice Chairman of the Charity, proposed and persisted in seeking a way to reduce the anxiety and long days spent by patients going to Addenbrookes. It was Jean Beeden’s proposal that matured into The Primrose Car Scheme.
The drivers with the Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis