Manufacturer halts usual operations to make armored ambulances for Ukraine
“We truly feel that it is our duty to deliver on this project."
By Douglas Whitbread via SWNS
An emergency vehicle manufacturer has put its usual operations on hold - to produce new armored ambulances for Ukrainian medics.
Venari Group has now devoted its 120,000 sq ft of shopfloor space, in West Yorkshire, England, to make military-grade vehicles.
The ambulances are built from former British army vehicles, which are then stripped and converted into emergency transport by the company's highly skilled team.
The workforce has been cranking out the emergency vehicles 24 hours a day, with the first ambulances expected to be ready for delivery by the end of this week.
Venari’s chief executive, Oliver North, a former Royal Engineer, said he felt compelled to take on the work after the Ukrainian Embassy asked for his help via the UK politician Andrew Percy.
He said: “When the war started, I felt completely helpless and a level of guilt and was actually speaking to ex-colleagues about whether we go out there.
“So jumping into this is an opportunity to really play a role in helping.
“As the UK’s oldest and largest ambulance builder, we truly feel that it is our duty to deliver on this project, with as much passion, precision, and speed as we possibly can.
Once completed, it’s expected that the ambulances will be taken by truck to the Ukrainian border, before being handed over to the country’s emergency services.
This is especially important now as Ukraine is losing ambulances at a rate of 10 per day.
But the new vehicles will have an all-terrain capability, allowing medical teams to treat people who they may not otherwise be able to reach.
Mr. North said: “Our team has been relentless and tireless in their efforts, knowing that each vehicle completion will play a part in saving lives.
“And as many of us are former military personnel, we feel like we’re operating in a very familiar arena.
“Although many of us are subsequently spending little or no time at home at the moment, we’re well aware that our sacrifices don’t even come close to those made by the Ukrainian people, so we’re genuinely humbled to be able to play our part.”
Mr. Percy said that the team at Venari had done far more than he originally believed was possible by manufacturing the vehicles in record time.
He said: “Oliver and the team at Venari have gone far and above what I thought was possible.
“My role has been to connect all the parties and work to secure the funding for this project and that work continues as we want to send as many ambulances to Ukraine as possible.
“I am also so proud that Goole workers and our manufacturing base are once again helping to protect freedom and democracy just as we did in World War 2 when we helped construct the Mulberry Harbours for the liberation of Europe.
“I cannot praise Oliver and the workers at Venari enough for their incredible efforts, working through the night to get this project up and running.
“Their efforts have been amazing and they should all be very proud of what they are doing to keep medical professionals and patients in Ukraine safe.
“It is not even three weeks since I was asked to help put this project together and we already have these ambulances in production. Once again, Goole has proven itself!
“We have also been working with the UK Government to support this project and we all stand ready to do whatever else we can.”
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