Behind the shed

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Ever thought about how you might like to go in the end, how about in a long-bodied Mercedes Vito? Reading-based Binz UK supplies custom-built vehicles and has found a niche in supplying special builds to funeral directors and mortuaries. Apparently there is a growing market for stronger vehicles in response to the increasing size and weight of the British public.

Binz UK’s sales and marketing director Kevin Smith said: “Funeral directors are increasingly looking to invest in vehicles which are larger, and have a higher payload, than the traditional hearse.” Smith says that the size and weight of the deceased people they are required to carry is rising and is having a knock-on effect within the sector.

He says: “This is an inevitable result of the growing number of obesity cases in Britain.” You probably won’t care what features your final ride will have fitted onboard, but it will be good to know that you will arrive in style. The Vito 115CDI now features glass panels, internal blinds and has a burr walnut deck with polished fittings, air conditioning, parking sensors, alloy wheels and a custom built ‘rise and fall’ hydraulic deck, that allows a coffin to be loaded into the van directly from a trolley.

Martin Levitt of Storax Racking Systems got the shock of his life at this year’s IMHX show after he won a brand new dark blue BMW Z4. However, the Z series sports car, which controversially replaced James Bond’s Aston Martin in the 2002 film ‘Die another day’, was perhaps not quite what he was expecting.

The child’s pedal car was a raffle prize from V Installations & Fredenhagen, who were also exhibiting at the materials handling show. Levitt said he was thrilled with the car and joked that it would certainly turn heads when he parked it on his driveway. He said: “In this age of climate change, the world-beating carbon emissions are a real bonus too.”

Injecting a bit of life into the IMHX exhibition this year was the current World Electric Water Speed Record holder Helen Loney. Loney was on the Exide Technologies stand with her new hydroplane boat that hopes to smash the existing water speed record for an electrically powered boat.

Twenty-five year old Loney is hoping to beat her own record of 68 mph and believes she can get the hydroplane to nearly 100 mph with the help of CMP Batteries and the ‘Electric Record’ team, which includes her husband Chris. Helen will make the attempt on Coniston Water in November.

Alistair Cochrane, divisional director of TNT and the man who heads up TNT’s logistics support for the London Marathon, is taking the plunge himself this year by running the 26.2 miles to raise £2000 for Wooden Spoon, a UK children’s charity.

He said: “I usually have my own personal 90-minute marathon every year in London – ensuring that the TNT teams deliver one million drinks and 600 tables to the 30 waters stations that line the course just before the event starts.”

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