POORLY children will get to drive a top-of-the-range toy car to their operations thanks to Tesla drivers.

Great Western Hospital’s children’s unit was one of 120 hospitals across the country to receive one of the ride-along cars, bought by Tesla Owners UK car club.

Nurses say riding the cars to operations will help poorly children arrive at their operations happier and better prepared to cope with sometimes painful procedures.

Shrivenham boy Edward Stanley McCrea, six, drove the red car from one side of GWH to the other and up three floors yesterday morning, arriving at the children’s unit shortly after 10am with a broad grin on his face.

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The youngster, who was wearing a racing driver’s scarlet tunic, said getting to drive the car had been a total surprise: “I knew I was going to be coming to the hospital, but I didn’t know I was going to ride that.”

Young Edward, the son of a GWH doctor, beamed: “The best bit was pushing the horn.”

Tesla owner Matt Joyce, 34, from Shrivenham, handed over the car on behalf of the UK owners’ club. “That looked more fun than my car,” he joked as he watched Edward reverse the plastic car around the nurses’ station on the children’s unit. “I can’t get into lifts in mine.”

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The £500 toy car is fitted with an MP3 jack, so children will be able to play their own music as they cruise to their operations. The car, which is a replica of a Tesla Model S, has a top speed of six miles per hour, but has been set to a more sedate three miles per hour. The car is powered by electricity, with two hours’ drive time.

Claire Parks, a play specialist at GWH, said: “If children go to sleep happy and smiling before an operation they normally wake up smiling.

“Our patients can go to theatre in the car, they can go for their scans and x-rays in it if they are well enough. And they can use it to have some fun on the ward and in our garden when the sun’s out.

“Going down to operations in the car is just going to be amazing.”

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The gift was praised by Catherine Newman, director of hospital charity Brighter Futures.

“It’s going to bring joy to our youngest patients,” she said. “Having an operation when you’re little can be really quite frightening. If they can drive down in style to the theatre that’s going to bring a lot of joy to the children. They won’t be so frightened.”

Only children deemed fit enough to drive the car will be allowed behind the wheel.