tl;dr – Very lucky Guy wins awesome VW T4 Van, loves driving it around.
So, i've been meaning to post on the forum for a while about this amazing win and my first few adventures. Apologies for the delay, have been away trying to renovating a house – long story don’t even get me started!!! argh!!!!!!!!.
Anyway in the words of Max Bygraves “'I wanna tell you a story”
(nothing better then starting a post by quoting a topical figure and showing how cool you really are - you can keep your Jay-Z's, Beyonce's and your Reality Stars).
It's about a bloke from Chesterfield who happened to receive an email from someone (still don't know who) trying to promote tickets sales, raising money for the HELP FOR HEROES charity through a raffle via Rogavi. So I checked out the website and looked at all the raffles for various good causes offering a range of prizes from cash, motorbikes, holidays and sports memorabilia. Spotted the VW T4 HFH Van and happily purchased some tickets and totally forgot about them.
Fast forward four months and the following email arrives;
Help For Heroes Raffle Draw - 21/08/2011
Congratulations. The draw for the VWT4Forum Help For Heroes Camper Van has taken place at midday today and the winning ticket number 51652 has been drawn from the tombola.
This ticket was purchased online and our records indicate yourself as the winning ticket holder.
Now I'm a fairly sceptical person at the best of times and my email address has been in existence for a good 10+ years thus 98% of all the emails I receive in my inbox are from various widows, military personnel, lawyers and my close personal friends the entire Nigerian Royal Family who are all constantly claiming to have money just laying about which I can transfer into my bank account without any hassle whatsoever.
Anyway, I fired off the following response (after looking in my online purchases folder and remarkably finding the Rogavi Receipt).
Cheers for your email, I don't really know what to say - other then thank you & the VW T4 Forum very much - I can hardly believe it!!!!! (Do us a favour and double check, I'm not this lucky!!!!!)
I remember purchasing the tickets a while ago via Rogavi and have found my transaction receipt amongst my emails. Hopefully you've raised a huge amount for the Help the Heroes!!!! and had great time over the weekend @ Beaulieu
Hopefully hear from you soon, to find out what happens next.
Quick as a flash Simon kindly emailed back;
Thank you for responding today...I'm afraid that on this occasion your luck is in. Congratulations.
You'll see from the first contact email that I copied in James Northcott. James, known as Jimmer on the VWT4Forum, is the primary manager of the project to raise money for Help For Heroes and the person responsible for putting this whole thing together.
I've copied him in on this email also and I'll hand over to him from this point in order to arrange the presentation of the vehicle to you.
Good luck and hopefully we'll see you soon.
.................HOLY S**T, I've WON a VW T4!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Over the next couple of weeks I spoke to Jimmer on the phone and exchanged a few emails regarding meeting up and collecting. Now at this point i'm still not 100% what i've actually won, part of my is still thinking it's a scale model but the more I check out the photo's of it's conception and development on-line, the more awesome it starts to get.
So after sorting out my insurance with the good people @ Brentacre http://www.brentacre.co.uk (who, when I explained who I was and what I wanted to insure, said “oh you're the jammy git who won the van, congrats lol”) Me and my Dad set off v.early for the 190 odd mile trip down to Tidworth (didn’t realise how far south we actually went until the Isle of Wight appeared on the map!!!!).
The plan was to meet at lunch time but due to a bit of miscommunication we arrived at the actual Tedworth House site when we should had been at the “Tin Hut” (which is where HFH was started). Due to there being a lot of building work and builders on site, we decided to have a poke around Tedworth House and was surprised that no-one seem to stop us!!!! - Eventually we found some official staff who made a couple of calls and pointed us towards the Tin Hut where everyone was meeting.
The Tin Hut is only a mile or two away from the house, so we potted up there, parked up next to the HFH Van and another Jet Black MacDaddy T4 (can't remember who's it was, but it looked pretty hardcore).
I poked my head into the Tin Hut and met up with the HFH staff and the VW T4 forum guys who were happily devouring cake and flirting outrageously (not mentioning any names I: lord_farquad!!!!!!!) with the rather lovely HFH ladies
After meeting with everyone, we sat down and watched a short HFH's film showing the behind the scenes story and the incredible work that's been done by the charity. Being from Chesterfield (fairly northern), i've never really had much of a connection to the armed forces probably due to there not being a barracks based locally (nearest prominent base is Catterick) and only a few people I've known over the years have got into the armed services but HFH's definitely allows for a connection to be formed however loosely and definitely gives you a focal point to offer support in whatever form.
Next step was to drive the HFH Van from the Tin Hut back up to Tedworh House (after a couple of dodgy stalls – hangs head in shame :*) I managed to make it to the stately home (which was more then some people managed – mentioning no names). We parked up and had a proper tour around the place. Tedworth House is owned by the army but is being leased to HFH for a nominal fee, work is still on going but the place is being decked out to 5* hotel standard (like i've ever been in 5* accommodation before ). The facilities were excellent both for the members of the armed forces and the civilian staff. The gaming room was particularly epic with huge screens, the latest game consoles and top of the range gaming chairs (it was quite difficult to prize us all out of there).
One we had done the tour, I drove the Van to the front of the building and various photographs were taken (I explicitly asked that I was extensively airbrushed!!!! and photo-shopped!!!! for these pictures but this appears not to have happened thus i'm the chuff in the black fleece and jeans in all the pictures looking somewhat bewildered.
After our photocall, we all headed back to the Tin Hut for more cake and more flirting with the HFH ladies.
Then I got behind the wheel and headed out of Tidworth towards Chesterfield in my new VW T4. The drive back was great, being another 190 odd miles turned out to be an ideal way of getting used to driving this awesome machine and I've begun to understand and feel how brilliant it is driving a VW Transporter. I did my best to wave to other T4 / T5's on the way home and will endeavour to always wave whenever I'm on my travels.
Roll on the following week, Van parked on the drive getting ready for my first real trip that would be from Chesterfield up to Newcastle (for the Great North Run), then down the East Coast to Bridlington (to help relocate an elderly relative – codenamed “Operation Eagle Transfer”) then from Bridlington back home to Chesterfield.
Had a few technical troubles to solve before the weekend – side lights, reversing lights and cigarette holder – but thanks to the forum members who posted various T4 manuals online these was quickly solved by a replacement bulb and fuse. The reversing lights were a bit more tricky but every time I needed some information all I had to do was search the VW T4 forum and the answer was before me (mainly cos some1 else had already experienced it). A replacement reversing switch solved my issue and I was ready to rock n roll T:
The drive up the A1 was a breeze, stopping off at the Angel of the North (see attached photo) - Here's me parked up at the Angel of the North last week, would have liked to have driven right up to the sculpture but too many people (should have gone at first light - mental note for next time).
A weekend run from Saturday to Monday which clocked up 350 odd miles plus 13.1 miles on foot as I got my sorry carcass around the Great North Run course once again. Must say thank you to the folks in South Shields especially, who instead of offering water, oranges or jelly babies which is the norm instead handed out Beer for any runners. Not wanting to appear rude I gratefully took a small beer with 3 miles to go and thoroughly enjoyed it (I ain't gonna turn down free beer whatever situation I'm in!!!!! ).
I can highly recommend the drive down the east coast from Middlesbrough down to Bridlington, spectacular scenery especially passing through Whitby and seeing the Abbey in all is ruined glory. Arrived at Bridlington, helped with the move and then fired up the Van and headed back home.
I think that gets me up to date; have to plan my next adventure. Will keep a look out for any meets that I might be able to get to and am looking forward to the launch of the The NEW "VWBUS - T4 & 5+" Magazine (i've prepaid for my copy).
Thanks once again to everyone involved not just those who built the Van but to all those who bought tickets as well (the money raised is amazing and has gone to an incredibly worthy cause) and thanks to those who have posted congrats messages (i'm fully aware how f**king jammy I am, lol).
Catcha later or hopefully pass you on the road.
Dave Jammy B*****d Hides
tl;dr – Very lucky Guy wins awesome VW T4 Van, loves driving it around.