Car offered to replace stolen pride and joy
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.’’