Merseyside Car Maker Hosts First Blind Driving Event

Friday, May 11, 2018


• Jaguar Land Rover’s Halewood Operations provides unique off-road driving experience for blind and visually impaired people, military veterans and employees
• First ever blind drivers event hosted by Land Rover Experience Liverpool
• Exhilarating off-road experiences enjoyed by 15 people

Halewood, UK, Thursday 3 May 2018 – Jaguar Land Rover Halewood opened its doors to blind and visually impaired people from across Merseyside, military veterans and employees for a unique and exhilarating driving experience.

Guests drove around the exhilarating Land Rover Experience Liverpool off-road course in dual-control open-top buggies under the expert guidance of instructors.

The hair-raising route included rivers, steep gravel paths, a tipping bridge and a cone challenge – with only two wheels touching the ground.

The event was delivered in partnership with Speed of Sight, a charity which offers driving experiences to disabled adults and children across the UK.

Mike Newman, Speed of Sight co-founder and the fastest blind man on the planet on land and water with nine Guinness World Records, said: “Most of our events have been track-based so it’s been great to give our guests the experience of true off-roading on such a challenging track. These opportunities boost confidence as well as physical and mental well-being and play an important part in rehabilitation.”

The plant hosted 10 blind and visually impaired local people from Merseyside blind charity Bradbury Fields, some of whom had never had a driving experience before. Chief Executive Philip Longworth, himself visually impaired, said: “The exhilaration of driving off-road was amazing for all of us and we’ve seen how transformational these experiences are in giving people their confidence and independence back.”

Four Halewood employees also took part. After a practice lap of the track the employees were blindfolded and asked to drive around again so they could experience visual impairment.

Carl Pollock, an audit engineer at Jaguar Land Rover Halewood, said: “It really makes you think what it must be like to be visually impaired and the struggles some people have.”

Ex-servicemen Miles Stammers and Darren Gethin tackled the course with Halewood’s military champion Mike Burton. The pair were selected by Mission Motorsport, one of the charities that supported the development of Jaguar Land Rover’s pioneering Armed Forces Engagement Programme which has helped more than 800 service leavers find employment with the business.

Rob Lummis Jaguar Land Rover Head of Employee Experiences and leader of the company’s Armed Forces programme, said: “It’s been fantastic to be able to offer life-changing off-road driving experiences to people who cannot drive in everyday life, something sighted people take for granted. We support people in the local communities surrounding our sites through various education, community and charitable projects each year to help build a stronger society.”

ENDS

For further information contact:
Kate Birkenhead, Responsible Business PR and Communications, Jaguar Land Rover
M: 07780 494 352, E: kbirkenh@jaguarlandrover.com

Neil Roscoe, Senior Communications Officer
M: 07500 814 114, E: nroscoe@jaguarlandrover.com

John Galloway, Co-Founder, Speed of Sight
M: 07971 161 621, E: john@speedofsight.org

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