We spoke with Andrew Pursell, a 36 year old petrolhead and a lover of VW Transporters.
Andrew had a successful career as an area manager even though he was born with a condition called Scoliosis, which is a curving of the spine and was told throughout his life it would never affect him.
Unfortunately for Andrew, when he hit his 30’s he started to suffer immense pain walking and even just standing straight and was told he would have to have his spine re-built, which he was told was an operation that had never been done on this scale in the UK before, and only twice Worldwide.
There was a 50/50 chance of success but Andrew decided he had to give it a go and so 4 years ago Andrew had the operation but unfortunately it was unsuccessful, 2 further attempts again were unsuccessful and after 3 operations Andrew was left paralysed from the waist down.
Andrew thought his driving days were over, which for an avid petrolhead was devastating but he found out about a scheme called Motability and got in touch with them to see how they could help, I was told I would need a van due to having an electric wheelchair and expected to receive an ugly looking van (even though I was grateful for anything I got) and was amazed when I took delivery of a T5 Transporter Shuttle fitted with electric barn doors, a tail-lift and a system that allows me to drive my wheelchair in, fix it and transfer to the drivers seat with ease, and all configured so I can drive with only my hands.
Andrew was amazed, this was changing his life!!!
Andrew continues the story, “I was totally amazed and wanted to make other disabled people aware of these type of adaptions and controls and to bring it to the publics attention and I thought the best way to do this was to modify my T5 so it stands out as a one-of-a-kind and gets attention at all the shows and events I plan to attend. I want to encourage people to look inside and see that it is for a wheelchair user like me and can still be driven with no legs or feet being used.
The World is all about making disabled people feel less like outsiders and more included in society and I am taking my van to all the national VW shows and hope I can raise awareness for disabled people including war heroes so they can see they don’t have to give up on their freedom just because they are disabled”.
Andrew is hoping to set up a charity in the near future to use his experiences to raise awareness, give advice and point people in the right direction and get them talking to people who can help.
Lots of businesses have been supportive of Andrew and he is very grateful for all the help he is receiving, Andrew says “As anyone who loves their van or car knows modifying it costs a lot of money and I am still needing help with mine but to date lots of amazing companies in the Vee Dub scene have helped me massively and I am really appreciative of this and would like to thank Vibe Audio, Team Dynamics, GTE Custom Vans, R and R Autosports and of course Vee Dub Transporters for all their help and generosity. I would love people to come on this journey with me and I have set up a Facebook page to show the progress with my van modifications and would love people to like the page and share it with their friends, the more awareness I can get the more I can help other people with disabilities get out on the roads again”.
You can follow Andrews progress on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/Transportermodified/
We think Andrews story is inspiring and think it is amazing that he wants to give his time and energy to educate other disabled people about what help they can get through schemes like Motability.
Good luck Andrew with your journey and we hope to see updates soon!
The team at Vee Dub Transporters