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Gibraltar contract for ambulance firm.

Byline: HENRYK ZIENTEK

A HUDDERSFIELD company has completed a six-figure contract to provide ambulances for Gibraltar.

Vehicle Conversion Specialists Ltd, based at Leeds Road, has designed and manufactured three high-dependency frontline ambulances for Gibraltar Heath Authority.

Now the company, which was formed less than three years ago, will be tendering to supply a further five vehicles for the UK dependency.

VCS was chosen over a host of European manufacturers for the pounds 300,000 contract to replace the health authority's ageing fleet of vehicles and bring them into line with 21st century health care requirements.

The engineering team at VCS began design works before Christmas 2011.

A specialist transporter will take the three vehicles by road to the British dependency, leaving on Tuesday.

VCS has previously manufactured ambulances, rapid response vehicles, mobile clinics and patient transport vehicles for customers including St John's Ambulance.

It has also exported to Ireland, Kenya, Nigeria, India and Trinidad.

The Gibraltar deal was brokered by Wetherby-based Sandhill (Bullion) Ltd, which acts as an agent for the Gibraltar government.

VCS, which employs 15 people, is owned by joint managing directors Mark Kerrigan and Wayne Sullivan, who launched the business two-and-a-half years ago with a pounds 250,000 investment.

Mr Kerrigan has 15 years experience in the industry, originally with his father's ambulance manufacturing company in Ireland.

He said: "The Gibraltar government's existing ambulances were not as advanced as the UK-designed vehicles and they wanted to upgrade their fleet for the benefit of residents and tourists.

"Their previous ambulances were breaking down and had technical difficulties.

"Sandhill were given the task of finding a supplier and they went to look at various manufacturers. We came out top of their evaluation process.

"It is really down to our team of highly skilled technical, mechanical and electrical engineers. A lot of credit goes to the team here because they are the people who make it work."

Mr Kerrigan said VCS was actively pursuing further exports for its "blue light vehicles".

He said: "Exporting is what this country needs. We area Huddersfield-based company which has begun exporting within three years of starting up.

"We think it is very important that the UK is seen as still being able to provide a quality product."

Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman was among those attending the official handover of the Gibraltar-bound ambulances to Sandhill managing director Paul Abelson.

CAPTION(S):

[bar] ON CALL: Vehicle Conversion Solutions sales manager Paul Croom, left, with, from left, joint managing directors Mark Kerrigan and Wayne Sullivan, Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman and Paul Abelson, of Sandhill (Bullion) Ltd (JH150612Gvcs-02) Purchase: www.examiner.co.uk/buyaphoto 01484 430000
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Geographic Code:4EXGI
Date:Jun 16, 2012
Words:438
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