Bring our baby home

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By EMMA WHITTAKER

HEAV­ILY preg­nant Sally Wil­liams planned to bring her new­born home from hos­pi­tal in her trea­sured camper­van.

But thieves put paid to that dream when the van was stolen last week.

‘‘All my hard work is gone, it’s dif­fi­cult to take,’’ the Mt Eden res­i­dent says.

‘‘When I saw it was gone I went cold and my stom­ach flipped over.’’

It took 18 months for Sally to con­vert the Toy­ota Hi­ace van into a camper­van.

The Lon­don na­tive is an artist and has al­ways en­joyed mak­ing things.

‘‘I learned to use a saw when I was 4, which my mother wasn’t happy about,’’ she says.

‘‘When my hus­band was at work, I spent the evenings and the week­ends build­ing things for the van – in the lounge and on the deck.’’

Sally moved to New Zealand with her hus­band Huw eight years ago.

‘‘Ever since we’ve just loved trav­el­ling around and find­ing new places. We just loved be­ing in the out­doors and dis­cov­er­ing New Zealand,’’ she says.

Huw and Sally mar­ried in 2007 and Huw’s par­ents planned to rent a camper­van when they vis­ited New Zealand for the wed­ding. Sally and Huw of­fered to build them one in­stead.

‘‘It was an ab­surd thing for them to have risked re­ally, but we did it,’’ Sally says.

She started work on her own van, nick­named Dita Van Bach, about 18 months ago. Its cur­tains are made from a blan­ket bought in Mex­ico and an ul­tra­sound pic­ture of their daugh­ter, who is due in April, hangs on the wall.

‘‘We don’t own a house so it’s the first ‘home’ we have owned,’’ Sally says.

It was also the cou­ple’s only ve­hi­cle.

Wai­tangi Day was the first an­niver­sary of Sally and Huw be­ing granted per­ma­nent res­i­dency in New Zealand. They were get­ting ready to leave for a cel­e­bra­tory trip in the van when they re­alised it was miss­ing from their drive­way.

Sally thinks the van might have been mis­taken for a trades­man’s ve­hi­cle and is hop­ing that who­ever took it will leave it some­where to be found.

She is try­ing to be philo­soph­i­cal.

‘‘Ev­ery­thing hap­pens for a rea­son so we will wait to see what this one is,’’ she says.

A Face­book page has been set up to help find the van. Go to face­book.com and search ‘‘Dita Van Bach’’.

Photo: EMMA WHITTAKER

Wasted ef­fort: The camper­van Sally Wil­liams spent months con­vert­ing has been stolen.

Gone miss­ing: Sally Wil­liams’ camper­van.

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