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Vroom vroom - Child patients to drive Rolls Royce to surgery

Hari Rajyaguru, aged 7, test driving the car at the firm's production line Photo:

Two children who are patients at St Richard's Hospital in Chichester were the first to get to ride in a new specially-designed 'toy' car donated to the site's paediatric unit by a local car manufacturer.

Molly Matthews, aged 8, and Hari Tajyaguru, 7, were invited to the production line at Rolls Royce to test drive the mini-me version of the luxury brand.

The vehicle has been given to the hospital's paediatric unit with the aim of soothing children's nerves before surgery. The two test drivers were rewarded with a chauffeur-driven ride home in the grown-up size version of the manufacturer's 'Ghost' model after carrying out their special task.

Hari and Molly on a special visit to the car manufacturer's base in Chichester

Children about to undergo surgery will be able to drive themselves to the operating theatre through the paediatric unit's corridors, which are lined with mock traffic signs. The gesture has been greeted with gratitude from hospital staff, who say the vehicle is proving popular.

"We know boys and girls alike will love driving it and in the coming years it will help turn a daunting experience into a more fun and enjoyable one for hundreds and hundreds of children."

– Sue Nicholls, paediatric matron at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Molly Matthews taking the 'toy' car for a spin

Workers at the firm spent 400 hours of their own time developing and handcrafting the child-sized version of the car, which has a top speed of 10mph and is powered by a 24-volt gel battery.

A comparison of the child-sized version and the real thing

"It is a very special gift and one of the most wonderful donations ever received by Love Your Hospital, our trust's dedicated charity."

– Marianne Griffiths, Chief Executive, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
A special tag for the one-off vehicle

The car has been named the Rolls Royce SRH, the SRH coming from the initials of St Richard's Hospital.

"We hope that the Rolls-Royce SRH will serve to make the experience for young people during treatment a little less stressful."

– Torsten Muller-Otvos, Chief Executive, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars