Car of­fered to re­place stolen pride and joy

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - By KA­T­RINA TANIRAU

Kind­ness is very much alive and well in Mata­mata.

On Mon­day, Mata­mata war veteran Hugh Pick­er­ing was given the keys to his new car, a 2000 Ford Laser, by Fairview Mo­tors Mata­mata branch man­ager Vaughan Nowell.

Mr Pick­er­ing’s beloved 35-year-old Mazda 323 was stolen from his garage in Al­lenby Rd on Jan­uary 16.

The 94-year-old World War II vet- eran bought the car new in 1977 and had only re­cently used it to visit the grave of his late wife, Iris, and to do the gro­cery shop­ping.

Mr Nowell said when he heard about Mr Pick­er­ing’s plight he felt com­pelled to help him out.

‘‘There are a lot of hard luck sto­ries out there and a lot of peo­ple need help, but this story really got to me be­cause it’s pretty ob­vi­ous that Hugh’s car was tar­geted,’’ Mr Nowell said. ‘‘I mean what sort of per­son could do that to a 94-year-old man?’’ Mr Nowell said as a lo­cal com­pany,

Fairview Mo­tors tries to give back to the com­mu­nity as much as pos­si­ble.

‘‘I knew there would be some­thing we could do for Hugh so I made a few phone calls,’’ he said. ‘‘Hugh can use this car for as long as he can con­tinue to drive. All in­sur­ances and other pa­per work have been taken care of and it’s full of petrol.’’

Mr Pick­er­ing was re­luc­tant to take the car at first as he thought he may be the tar­get of thieves again.

‘‘It’s very nice. It’s a lot big­ger than my old car,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ll have to learn how to get it in to the garage.’’

Other of­fers of help have also been pour­ing in from near and far.

Porirua brothers Joel, a spray­painter, and Joshua Briggs have also set up a Face­book cam­paign af­ter learn­ing of Mr Pick­er­ing’s sit­u­a­tion. Their fundrais­ing en­deav­ours in­clude a Trade Me auc­tion, a sausage siz­zle and en­try in a sculp­ture com­pe­ti­tion.

The pair have never met Mr Pick­er­ing but said they were touched by his story.

‘‘It wasn’t a very nice thing to do to a guy that age,’’ Joel Briggs said. ‘‘. . .he put a lot of time and love into that car to keep it in such good con­di­tion.’’

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