Raffle win stirs memories of long ago days

BACK TO THE PAST: Trevor Jeffries of Levin in his new ride, a rebuilt 1975 Morris Mini at Bowater Toyota.
BACK TO THE PAST: Trevor Jeffries of Levin in his new ride, a rebuilt 1975 Morris Mini at Bowater Toyota.

The Wakefield Caffeine Crew's loss is Trevor Jeffries' gain - the Levin school principal has got back the first car he ever drove.

Climbing into the bright yellow 1975 Morris Mini Mark 3 he won from the crew in a raffle last week, he said: "This takes me back to my youth."

The Mini's restoration and repair was sparked in 2012 by Wakefield former engineer Bob Croy and his Caffeine Crew team. It was widely supported by local businesses and raffle tickets were sold over the summer, bringing in more than $100,000 for the Cancer Society.

The Mini was handed over to Mr Jeffries last night in a ceremony at Bowater Toyota. Tony Bowater lamented seeing the much-loved vehicle leave Nelson, but joked that this meant the organisers had not rigged the raffle.

President Bill Findlater said all of the money would benefit people with cancer and their supporters in the Nelson region by allowing the society to broaden its reach.

"We operate really pretty close to the bone, so something like this is really a tremendous gesture."

He said it was great that the catalyst for the fundraiser came from local volunteers, saying it had been heartwarming to see how the community got behind it.

"Cancer is one of those things, one in three [people] are affected by it and most people try to hide from it."

Mr Jeffries said he learned to drive in a similar Mini owned by his mother, saying the compact car was now a tighter fit than it had been in years gone by. He planned to drive it home himself via the Picton ferry today.

"I'll see if I can fold myself into this one. We'll see how much I've grown in the intervening years."

A day after he found out about his win, the initial shock resulted in a trip to the hospital. Mr Jeffries said he felt fine after a check-up. As of yesterday, he still had not decided what to do with the distinctive vehicle, but said there had been no shortage of suggestions from those around him. "My daughters are arguing over it. There's a whole team at the school who are keen to do something. Everyone wants to have a drive."

The Nelson Mail