A retired paediatric nurse, Sally Sweeney Carroll, was asked by a hospital play therapist to help transport a local family in distress for daily therapy at Wythenshawe Hospital. With the help of her own family, Sally provided the transport which successfully supported the family. This prevented the two young children from being taken into care. Sally then had another request to help the transport a different family, and so the voluntary transport scheme was born.

Initially the scheme was run and organised by a team of volunteers as part of the local branch of the charity the the National Association for the welfare of of children in hospital, now known as action for sick children.


Greater Manchester passenger transport executive (GMPTE) provided funding, through its accessible transport budget, for the first, part-time, paid transport organiser for the scheme.


Liz Barber, GMPTE signs GMPTE agreement with Sarah Drake, first paid transport organiser.


The GMPTE funding enabled the scheme to expand. Eventually it became a registered charity in its own right with trustees from across the Greater Manchester area, They spent many hours negotiating with hospitals, persuading them to support the scheme financially. The charity carefully maintained statistics relating to the families transported, provided clear evidence of its benefits to the NHS, in terms of appointments kept, as well as to the families.

Primary care trusts established

New negotiations between the trustees and NHS managers eventually led to each of the 10 PCTs in Greater Manchester providing financial support for the scheme. By now it had 3 staff members and operated from an office rather than the organisers home.

30 years of transport for sick children

The charity celebrated its 30th anniversary, photographed with one of the cakes is Treasurer John Adams with trustees Pat Brunt and Sarah Drake.


Recognition for the charity by the order of mercy

Sarah Drake was awarded the league of Mercy Merit Award. Photographed here with Treasurer John Adams.


Pat Brunt receives League of Mercy Merit Award

Clinical Commissioning Groups Established

This is led to a new round of financial negotiations. Throughout the many changes of the NHS, Transport for Sick Children has, through the generosity of its volunteer drivers, maintained its initial, simple task: helping children to access essential healthcare.

Recognition for the charity and its supporters

Two of the charity supporters were recognised this year in the UK honours system.

Sally Sweeney Carroll - Co founder of Transport for Sick Children was awarded an MBE in the Queens birthday honours list as ‘Founder and mentor of the Transport for Sick Children, and for services to children.’

John Sagar - Chairman of Transport for Sick Children was awarded League of Mercy Merit Award by the order of Mercy.

The chairs has benefited immeasurably from their contribution.


Number of children helped by the Transport for Sick Children

From April 2003 to February 2016

Children Helped - 7778
Trips Carried Out - 74,801
Miles Travelled - 1,345,680