Her Majesty The Queen hosted a ceremony at Windsor Castle on Tuesday 25th April to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Motability, the charity that has provided a ‘road to freedom’ for millions of disabled people and their families.
Established in 1977 by Lord Sterling and the late Lord Goodman, the Motability Scheme has provided 4.5 million vehicles to date. The Scheme has helped millions of disabled people maintain their ability to get to work or college, attend a medical appointment, meet up with friends and enjoy the freedom and independence that so many people take for granted.
Her Majesty The Queen presented five disabled people and their families with the keys to their new vehicles. These were:
- Paul Barrett, a Royal Marine veteran who sustained life changing injuries due to an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) whilst serving on operations in Afghanistan. Paul received the keys to his Nissan X-Trail Automatic, his third vehicle on the Scheme. It is fitted with a twin flip folding left foot accelerator and a quick release steering wheel aid.
- Eckveer Ramburn, aged 11, whose new wheelchair accessible vehicle, a Ford Tourneo, means he can now travel safely in his wheelchair to be taken to school and after school clubs. This is his second vehicle on the Scheme and is fitted with a ramp and tie downs so that Eckveer’s parents do not have to lift him into it, making travelling so much easier for the family.
- Olivia Wray, a student with autism, whose car will allow her to get to college where she studies Animal Care, Maths and English. Her car is also her first on the Scheme and is a Vauxhall Adam. Olivia is currently learning to drive with lessons funded by a Motability grant.
- Edward Todino, a disability advisor at Kingston University, whose adapted ‘Drive-from-Wheelchair’ vehicle, a TBC Sprinter and his first car on the Scheme, will allow him to continue to be mobile and remain independent.
- Allan Carter, aged 72 and a customer since 1978, contracted polio at the age of 11. His new vehicle, a SEAT Alhambra Automatic, has been fitted with an electric transfer plate and wheelchair hoist. This will be his 13th car on the Scheme. When he first learned to drive, Allan used a blue ‘invalid trike’ but, like many disabled drivers, he found it to be anti-social as it could not carry passengers, and difficult to handle on the roads.
The Queen also viewed the special features and adaptations of the Motability Scheme vehicles. During the demonstration Her Majesty learned about the significant technological advances made over the course of the last 40 years, which have allowed those with even the most severe disabilities remain mobile and independent.
Lord Sterling, the Chairman of Motability, said: “We are honoured and delighted that Her Majesty The Queen, our Chief Patron since our inception, was kind enough to host this event at Windsor Castle to mark the 40th Anniversary of Motability and the role it plays in providing ‘a road to freedom’ for disabled people and their families, as well as handing over the four and a half millionth vehicle on the Scheme. The unique partnership which makes up the Motability Scheme is sustained by many individuals who show such wonderful empathy in their efforts, such as those working in motor dealerships up and down the country, patrolmen providing roadside assistance to those who need it, and, of course, all those in the Scheme’s motor manufacturers, insurers, conversion and adaptation companies, and the staff of Motability and Motability Operations.”
In a message to the charity, Her Majesty The Queen kindly said:
"I congratulate Motability not only on reaching its 40th anniversary, but also during this time, how it has changed and enriched the lives of millions of disabled people, their families and friends by helping them to access a world of increased mobility and freedom."