Two English brothers, both avid RVers, teamed up and developed a specialized lift that allows wheelchair users to access a motorhome or travel trailer without the need for modification.
According to a report in the Northumberton Gazette, Jim Little and his brother, John, came up with the idea 51/2 years ago. The project was spawned when Jim Little’s wife, Carol, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and the couple didn’t want their touring holidays to end.
“It was never built as a commercial venture,” John said. “It was built out of necessity.”
The couple have since traveled extensively using the lift and, according to John, they enjoyed “some good holidays that they wouldn’t have had otherwise.”
Now the Belford Transfer Lift is going to market following the suggestion from someone at Business Link and an investment from Northstar Ventures. So far this year, the brothers have traveled to English trade shows in Newark, Chepstow, Peterborough and Birmingham to demonstrate the product. Next up is the Mobility Roadshow in Peterborough this month, which John thinks will be an ideal place to showcase the transfer lift.
John has a demonstration model that he takes to shows, as well as the prototype, which is fitted to his brother’s motorhome. “They get to see how it works, and it certainly works that’s for sure,” he said. “And the best thing is that you don’t have to alter the vehicle, so if you sell it you can sell it as a standard caravan or motorhome.”
Motorhomes fitted out for disabled people can cost in the region of $155,000, while the Belford Transfer Lift is available for under $8,000, including fitting to the vehicle.
“We have actually got a patent application in and they are saying there’s nothing like it anywhere in the world,” John said. “The interest has been absolutely great, but it’s now about converting a brand new item into sales. We are looking into advertising and marketing now.”
“When they opened the doors on the first day, it was like a stampede.”