Ipswich Transport Museum
Preserving the transport heritage of Ipswich since 1965, and now supported by the Friends of the Ipswich Transport Museum. The Ipswich Transport Museum is a Registered Charity No. 276626 and an Accredited Museum, number RD890.
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Ford Transit Ambulance
Ford Transit
Date:1984
Registration:B287 XFL
Acquired by the Museum:2007
Current State:Fully operational

This was the first modern "Front Line" ambulance provided for the First Aid Group and it was purchased with a bequest from the Jacob family in memory of Lady Jacob. Previously the most common form of ambulance used by the group was a crew bus type vehicle, with removable seats or stretchers which doubled up as seats.

It is a Ford Transit 160 chassis/cab (sliding door option) which has a gross vehicle design weight of 2.64 tonnes, with the ambulance conversion having been carried out by N. Hanlon Ireland Ltd. The saloon body is of fibre glass construction, which proved to be very hard wearing over the 20+ year working life the ambulance enjoyed! It has a 6 cylinder, 2 litre petrol engine with a 4 speed gearbox and overall was shown to be a reliable and efficient ambulance

Originally it had been purchased by the Cambridgeshire Ambulance Service, having been first registered in August 1984. It was very much an NHS standard design of the time, e.g. a walk through facility from the cab into the saloon and twin trolley cots (wheeled stretchers). Standard equipment carried was an orthopaedic scoop stretcher, carry chair, medical gases (oxygen & entenox), powered aspirator, splints, basic rescue tools and a good range of first aid items. Storage space was well provided for, especially by the locker over the cab for bulky items such as blankets and pillows. An almost full length shelf over the offside trolley cot allowed carriage of stretcher poles etc. Saloon heating was via a separate heat exchanger off the engine cooling system, with a two speed fan. This was very effective but meant the engine had to be left running all the time the heater was required to be in operation! Visual & audible warning devices were provided with twin blue lamps and a two tone klaxon, all of this equipment being roof mounted.

The design of the vehicle and equipment it carried was very manual and labour intensive. This was predominantly due to the reliance on crews moving patients by lifting them on the carry chairs or trolley cots into and out of the vehicle.

The ambulance was used by the Cambridgeshire Ambulance Service on a full range of duties especially 999 services until 1991 when it was sold out of service and eventually came to Woodbridge Centre. For First Aid Group use it needed to be a very varied work tool, as equipment such as tents/tables/chairs and boxes of first aid equipment needed to be transported to duties such as horse shows etc. Very often the back of the ambulance would be fully occupied by the equipment and members would travel separately due to the lack of seating space. However when it was suitable, the First Aiders would travel as a group in the ambulance. Or at events such as Higham Point to Point meetings, they would take shelter inside the vehicle between races to get out of the elements!

It was regularly seen at events in and around East Suffolk (e.g. Suffolk Showground) and much further afield including numerous locations for gymkhanas, athletic events, moto-cross and many other community related meetings. As BRC. Ambulance Aid training developed, additional equipment was added such as neck collars, long boards for spinal injury patients and extrication devices for traffic accidents.

In 1999 the East Anglian Ambulance Trust (EAAT) asked the Voluntary Aid Societies for help in providing ambulances & crews to provide extra cover during the Millenium celebration period and this developed into the annual "Winter Pressures" support.

During the 3 year period from winter 1999, this ambulance with its BRC crews carried out excellent work on top of all the routine commitments, transferring patients on behalf of the EAAT into hospital often as "doctors urgent" referrals.

The Ambulance was donated to the Museum in 2007.