Skills Company employee Neil Mortique, based at the Greater Manchester SkillCentre, is planning a road trip with a difference in June!  Neil, who is an Automotive Assessor and IQA, will be driving an old banger to Benidorm as part of the Benidorm or Bust Rally.  The annual rally raised over £120,000 for a variety of charities in 2015.

Neil will be raising money for a cause that’s very close to his heart.  His eldest daughter’s first baby, Annabelle, was born asleep at 34 weeks last June, and he will be hoping to raise as much as he can for the charity 4Louis, which provides hospitals across the U.K with memory boxes, so that bereaved parents who have suffered stillbirth, neo-natal, infant and child loss can capture as many memories as they can. 

Car enthusiast Neil is a member of a classic Triumph owner’s club, but the rules of the Benidorm or Bust Rally are that cars should be old bangers costing not more than a couple of hundred pounds.  Neil’s neighbour was scrapping an old 2002 Citroen Xsara Picasso which had belonged to Neil several years earlier, and offered him the car for the rally.  Neil paid him the scrap value, and got to work on the restoration project.  The car had failed the MOT on many counts, and needed considerable work both mechanically and to the bodywork. 

Neil said:  “I thought that the project would be ideal for the apprentices and trainees at the Skills Company SkillCentre so that they would be able to see the transformation of the car over a period of months.  With the agreement of the management at the Skills Company, we set to work.  Among other things, we had to replace the suspension springs and the brakes and give the car a full service.  The bodywork was also in quite a state, and the sills were virtually non-existent.

“People who take part in the rally often pick a theme and wear fancy dress.  I’m travelling in a convoy of four cars, and our theme is Scooby Doo, so the car has been painted in the colours of Velma’s Mystery Machine, which has been a challenge for the paint refinishing apprentices!  We’re just waiting now for the stickers and wheel trims to arrive, and we’ll be ready to go.  We’re really grateful to Lechler, one of our paint suppliers who donated the paint for the project, which was a great gesture.  The apprentices have really enjoyed working on the project, and it’s been great for them to see the thing through from the start to the finish.

“When my daughter lost her baby last year, I just wanted to do something to help other families who were going through the same loss, and this charity does amazing work across the country with bereaved parents.  My daughter was planning to come along on the trip, but I’m happy to say that she’s expecting a baby in the summer, so she’ll be supporting us from home!”

To support Neil’s fund raising efforts, visit his Just Giving page.