Plenty of press releases of new debuts flowing in this week, with the Geneva Motor Show just around the corner, but this one stood out. It’s good to see carmakers challenging norms and going into new segments, and the Rolls-Royce SRH is all that. Described as a seminal new concept in luxury, it is crafted for one very special customer – St Richard’s Hospital Pediatric Day Surgery Unit in Chichester, West Sussex, where the carmaker is based.

The appropriately-named SRH will allow children awaiting surgery to drive themselves to the operating theatre, through the Pediatric Unit corridors lined with ‘traffic signs’. The experience of ‘self-drive to theatre’ aims to reduce child patient stress. I’m sure it works, just look at those faces below!

Rolls-Royce welcomed two test drivers from the Pediatric Unit at St Richard’s Hospital, Molly Matthews and Hari Rajyaguru, to Goodwood. The junior customers viewed the car being unveiled in style at Goodwood Studio in the same manner as Rolls-Royce’s VIP customers. Final validation and pre-delivery inspection of the SRH were done ahead of the official handover to the hospital.

There was one notable addition to the usual VIP customer experience, though. Molly and Hari both enjoyed first drives on the R-R production line, an exceptionally rare privilege usually reserved for the CEO during the validation process for new model families, and most recently actioned for the forthcoming Phantom 8. The two kids and their families were chauffeured home in Rolls-Royce Ghosts.

“We are a proud member of the community here in West Sussex. The Pediatric Unit at St Richard’s Hospital does such vital work in providing essential care to young people and their families. We hope that the Rolls-Royce SRH will serve to make the experience for young people during treatment a little less stressful,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO.

The SRH was created from the ground-up by the company’s Bespoke Manufacturing team, which devoted over 400 hours of their own time to develop and hand-craft this new model. In addition to developing competency in new chassis and electronic technologies, the project team also utilised 3D printing techniques for the design. This included production of the Spirit of Ecstasy and the bespoke paddle controls.

This special car is specified with a two-tone paint-scheme of Andalusian White and Salamanca Blue, and finished with a hand-applied St James Red coachline. The interior is appointed with the same finesse and attention-to-detail afforded to bigger models, with the two-tone steering wheel, seats and self-righting wheel centres perfectly colour-matched to the coachline.

A top speed of 16 km/h is achieved in seconds courtesy of power derived from a 24-volt gel battery that propels the car with the same whisper-quietness as the firm’s V12 engines. The speed setting is variable and can be limited to a statelier 6 km/h, good for waving to friends by the ward’s corridors.

Sue Nicholls, Paediatric Matron at Western Sussex Hospitals NSH Foundation Trust, said: “It’s wonderful seeing a smiley face on the way to theatre, rather than an apprehensive one, and everyone caring for children at St Richard’s is so grateful to Rolls-Royce for this unique donation. We know boys and girls alike will love driving it and in the coming years it will help turn a daunting experience into a more fun and enjoyable one for hundreds and hundreds of children.”

This is very sweet of Rolls-Royce, and the new model is rather cute too.