By Elizabeth Willoughby on
The Duchess of Cornwall received new Bobby Vans on behalf of the Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust last month.
The two state-of-the-art vans have been added to the Southern England charity’s growing fleet on its 10th anniversary. The Trust’s chairman, Robert Hiscox, said, “We started with one bread van and a box of tools but have now visited nearly 10,000 homes in the last 10 years.”
The vans are equipped with all tools and supplies necessary to repair doors, windows and security devices of homes that have been burglarized, and are captained by locksmiths and carpenters also trained as Crime Reduction Officers in order to counsel victims on home security and safe practices.
Victims tend to be elderly, vulnerable and easy targets for repeat break ins. Hiscox says, “A lot of old people are living alone and in fear, and if we can eradicate that fear from their lives then we are doing a tremendous job.”
Modeled after the highly successful S.A.F.E. project in Nottinghamshire, the project was expanded to all receptive police forces in England and Wales.
The Duchess of Cornwall, the Trust’s patron, is not only an enthusiastic advocate of the project, but she is also responsible for much of the fundraising of £200,000 ($400,000) required annually to keep the project going. According to the Trust’s operations manager, Alan Weston, “We couldn’t manage without the support of the Duchess. She is responsible for raising a lot of money for us and has been fantastic.”
Mr De’Ath, an 87-year-old Wiltshire retiree whose home was burgled while he and his wife were away, said, “It was a horrible feeling – like your territory had been invaded. But the Bobby Van came along and they were wonderful.”
Copyright © 2008 Look to the Stars