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NHS-supporting couple named What Car?'s 2020 Van Heroes

Amanda and Brian Palmer scoop top 2020 ‘Van Hero’ accolade, voted for by What Car?, TV personality Edd China and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles...

St Albans-based couple Amanda and Brian Palmer have been named as Van Heroes after winning a nationwide competition run by What Car?, TV personality Edd China and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

The Palmers stood out for seizing the opportunity to help others when coronavirus forced them to close their mobile car repair business rather than shutting themselves away. The duo teamed up with a  local charity – You Donate, We Deliver – and took to the road in their pair of work vans to help deliver cooked meals, drinks and treats to local NHS staff across London and Hertfordshire.

“We wanted to do our bit to help the frontline NHS heroes and we aren’t ones for sitting at home doing nothing, so when we discovered the wonderful "You Donate, We Deliver" charity we leapt at the chance to help,” said Amanda. “It was our opportunity to give something back to the real heroes of the time, and I have to thank David Benveniste and his team of volunteers for setting up such a wonderful charity.”

Brian added: “The vans were normally used by our ChipsAway mobile repair service and we couldn't bear seeing them sitting parked up and idle during our temporary lockdown closure. Amanda and I wanted to put them to good use to help the NHS. Winning this award is incredibly humbling, but we’d also like it to recognise the hard work of all the charity’s volunteers, and of course the men and women of the NHS who are still doing so much to support the sick within our communities.”

Brian and Amanda Palmer - Van Heroes

Hailing the Palmers’ win, What Car? editor Steve Huntingford, said: “We had so many inspiring stories sent in by van drivers who rose above the challenges of 2020 to bring some much-needed cheer to others, so judging these awards was especially tough. But what stood out for the Palmers was their refusal to take the setback of having their livelihood taken from them - instead, they channelled their time and resources int helping others.”

Van - Edd China's Van Heroes

Supporting the project to bring some cheer to the van-driving community, as well as joining the judging panel, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’s head of marketing, press and public relations Kate Thompson said: “The entries have really highlighted not only some brilliant examples of the entrepreneurial spirit of the UK’s van drivers but also the kind hearted and generous nature of people. We’re proud to support a population who are dedicated to helping others and using their vans for good. And many congratulations to the Palmers!!” 

TV personality and head judge Edd China concluded: “What a wonderful opportunity this has been to celebrate Britain’s hard-working van heroes – I’ve loved reading the stories of hard work, ingenuity and kindness and feel really inspired by the good work they’ve done. Brian and Amanda’s story left me feeling warm and fuzzy – and there hasn’t been a lot of opportunities to feel like that in 2020!

“I hope that these awards have helped give a little back to all of the heroes who were nominated and I’d like to personally celebrate and thank them all for spreading so much cheer in what has been a pretty tough year for everybody.”

What Car?’s Vans channel reviews every van on sale in the UK, as well as offering van buying and ownership tips and advice.  

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Read about our Van of the Year 2021 winners >>