This month has been the first month of our new feature! I can't tell you how much joy has been had reading all of your emails and looking at all the pictures of your amazing vans. We wanted van of the month to be open to everyone, it's not all about how much money you have spent on your van or even particularly what it looks like. It's about the passion, the stories and memories it's given you.
We feel our first ever winner has ticked all the boxes! The story behind this van is just amazing and I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as we did!!
Congratulations Richard Tonkin!
"I love my T4. It purrs, it gets loads of attention, but there are two reasons that it's got a special place in my life, and they aren't about how it looks or how it drives.
I work in finance. It's all sensible, wear a suit to work and sit in meetings all day type of stuff. Probably not your typical T4 enthusiast. After dropping out of uni in 1996, I felt like a bit of a failure, like I'd wasted my chance, and most definitely like I hadn't met the expectations of my mum, who'd worked so hard to give me the opportunity.
Time passed and I wanted to make this right, I needed a sensible job, one that would seem respectable (in my naive eyes) and like I'd gotten my life back on track, so I went to work in a bank. I started to get some of my confidence back, started to enjoy wearing a suit to work, and gradually worked my way up, promotions and company cars to go with it. But there's always a price, and the demands that come with the perks are steep. Unreasonable hours, unreasonable requests, and so much travel that weekends were spent recovering, not relaxing.
It came to a head at 4.30 am on a wet winter Monday when I sent my BMW off the road and through a fence at 50 mph on the way to the airport. Two fence posts straight through the windscreen, either side of my head, and all I had to show for it was a graze on my wrist.
There's nothing like another chance to make you pause for a minute and change your perspective and what's important to you. I changed my job, changed my lifestyle, and I've driven camper vans ever since.
I met my wife Bec through work, we had the same job, same pressures and the same interests. We've been together over 10 years now and married for five and a half. We decided to try and start a family, but it just wasn't happening. We had our first round of IVF free on the NHS, but it was unsuccessful. I knew that it was meant to be, so we funded our second round by me selling my T5.1, and I found a beautiful T4 down in Barnstaple that I fell in love with. The profit paid for our IVF, and this time round we were lucky. Our beautiful daughter Lola had her first journey in the T4 when she was less than a day old. I've spent the last couple of months trying to get all of the jobs sorted ready to take her camping for the first time this spring, oh, and the van has a name now, based on the little one who speeds across the floor destroying everything in her path (Thugbullet)."