For over three years, we have been discussing ‘the ideal’ format for a multi-purpose response vehicle to help deliver critical pre-hospital care in Norfolk.

The existing Audi A6 Allroad has served very well, but it’s coming up to 10 years old and has over 90,000 miles on the clock. We are also finding that with ever-increasing amounts of equipment, there is no longer enough room in the boot! We also recognised the need for resilience, in case of a major breakdown or accident.

We had set out a long list of criteria for the new vehicle:

  • it needed to be fast, to get to incidents quickly
  • four wheel drive, to cope with hazardous conditions
  • room for a driver and three passengers
  • space to stow all the current emergency medical equipment and more
  • multi-incident capability
  • strong road presence with highly visible livery and blue lights
  • sophisticated data communications with future-proof connectivity
  • the capability to act as a mobile training centre

The new RRV also had to replace and exceed the capability provided by Medic 22, the ageing current response vehicle. A tough act to follow, but two main contenders were considered: the Mercedes Vito and the VW Transporter.

As a result of an amazing Legacy – a Gift in a Will, NARS has finally been able to put the plans into action and progress the acquisition of a brand new Rapid Response Vehicle.

After careful research of the options, the decision was made to adopt the VW Transporter LWB van as the basis for the new vehicle. With its powerful twin-turbo 204 BHP engine and four-wheel drive, it will provide the ability to travel quickly in safety, whilst carrying up to two additional crew in rear seats, as well as a substantial payload of medical equipment.

NARS medics Chris Neil and Alex Hartley checking out a VW Transporter, similar to the one ordered.

NARS medics Chris Neil and Alex Hartley checking out a VW Transporter, similar to the one ordered.

NARS Chairman Chris Neil said, when signing the purchase document “This is going to be a huge step forward for NARS. We have dreamed about having a vehicle like this. It will enable us, not only to deliver an amazing emergency medical capability, but to carry and train paramedics who are on their way to becoming Critical Care paramedics. We will even be able to build in multimedia facilities, so we can review incidents and run training sessions. The new RRV is going to be a massive benefit to the people of Norfolk.”

Kim Simper (pictured right), solicitor of Simper Law Ltd and a NARS Trustee, commented “This really does underline the value of people leaving gifts in their Wills to worthwhile charities. This kind of initiative is only made possible by generous legacies… amounts like this would be nigh on impossible to raise through traditional fund-raising. We offer a free Will-writing service to those considering donating to NARS.”

NARS Chairman Chris Neil shaking hands with Keith Bridger of Robinson's VW, Norwich. Chris is wearing NARS uniform.

NARS Chairman Chris Neil closing the deal with Keith Bridger of Robinson’s VW, Norwich.

The new van was taken to the vehicle conversion specialists, who fitted it out with all the equipment required to transform it from a van to a 21st century rapid response vehicle.

NARS awarded the contract for this work to the Coleman Milne Specialist Vehicle Division in Bolton after assessing a number of possible suppliers. The decision was based on cost, quality of workmanship, their understanding of our needs and their ability to deliver the finished vehicle within our required timescale.


Photo showing the rear of a VW Transporter van with tailgate open Photo showing the open side door and interior of a VW Transporter van

This is how the van looked when it arrived from VW, before fitting out. The sliding door was fitted with a window. Two seats were fitted in the back, together with a series of racks and storage units for equipment, including a cooler for drugs and a warming unit for fluids.


Am extensive array of blue lights were fitted, plus all of the communications equipment, on board 4G/WiFi and a sophisticated system to manage the electrics.



The official unveiling and launch took place on 22nd February 2018. The Lord Mayor of Norwich, Cllr David Fullman cut the ribbon and declared the new Medic 22 operational. The old Audi Medic 22 has been re-deignated to Medic 23 and will remain operational, but on secondary duties.