Ford’s Southampton minibus gift tradition to the end

Daily Echo: The very first Ford Transit built in Southampton The very first Ford Transit built in Southampton

FORD will donate three Transit-based minibuses to charities and organisations in the city to mark the closure of its Swaythling factory.

Workers are preparing to down tools for the final time as 60 years of Transit van building in the city comes to an end a week today.

As a fitting thank you, vehicles will be donated to Naomi House children’s hospice, The Cedar School in Redbridge Lane, Southampton, and Southampton City Council.

The vehicle donated to the city council will be used as a community bus to help charities and organisations across Southampton.

It comes 41 years after the first ever Transit produced in Southampton was donated to the mayor of the city in 1972.

John Oldham, Southampton plant manager, said: “We have chosen Naomi House and the Cedar School as they have long standing ties with people here.

“We chose Southampton City Council because I had so many people asking if they could have a van.”

The final Ford Transit van produced at the plant is expected to come off the production line early next week.

As reported by the Daily Echo, environmental and legal studies are being carried out to determine what will happen to the site.

Ford will maintain a presence on the site with the formation of a vehicle refurbishment centre in Swaythling and a £12m vehicle distribution centre in September.

Both are expected to be operational by September.

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