The Esher branch of Ernest Doe & Sons, the local distributor of Cushman light industrial vehicles marketed in the UK by Ransomes Jacobsen, has delivered an electric powered shuttle bus to the National Trust's Polesden Lacey estate in Surrey.
Known to staff and visitors as 'Dennis', the green mobility vehicle is on hand to offer assistance and to help less able visitors enjoy the National Trust house and garden near Great Bookham. Dennis was purchased with raffle money raised by a team of fundraisers at Polesden Lacey.
The Diabline was christened Dennis in memory of Dennis Bonarchis, the dedicated leader of the team, who sadly passed away in 2006 and did not live to see the culmination of his fundraising efforts. It is a light electric vehicle, capable of carrying up to eight people (including the driver) and has been specially adapted to take a wheelchair with special securing rails and a lightweight ramp. It is available from Wednesdays to Sundays, from 11am to 5pm, when the house is open.
Visitor Services Manager Abi Pettman said: "We are immensely proud of the efforts, care and commitment of the fundraising team. Their dedication to Polesden Lacey has enabled us to purchase this vehicle and to provide a wonderful service for our visitors.
"We have 40 volunteers who drive the Diabline and since we took delivery at the end of June more than 1,000 visitors have been transported around the estate. We plan to use it throughout the winter, when it will really come into its own."
One of the drivers Hugh Read commented, "It's really rewarding to be able to offer a service to people and one that, I'm sure, helps to enhance their visit."