Payments in Lou will boost cancer charity as pink three-wheeler hits the streets of Lowestoft
IT'S the car that has become synonymous with comedy legend Del Boy Trotter and his rather dodgy deals.
But a Reliant Robin three-wheeler with a difference is taking to the road in the Lowestoft area to spread a very serious message – by raising money and awareness to help the fight against cancer.
Lauren Lou – a modified Cancer Research UK charity vehicle – is already attracting plenty of attention as it drives around the town's streets, having been painted bright pink for its high-profile role.
Now, ahead of its first major fund-raising event next Friday, people are being urged to show their support.
Businessman Gary Bennett, who owns Gary Bennett Driving School in Lowestoft, said 'every single penny' collected by Lauren Lou would be donated direct to Cancer Research UK to fund its vital work.
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'The aim of the car is for it become an ongoing fund-raising device and by choosing Cancer Research as our charity we want to try to make a difference,' Mr Bennett said. 'Every penny counts – no matter what people can donate.'
Mr Bennett said the story behind Lauren Lou, and how he came to own the car, went back about six years to when his daughter Lauren, now 10, fell in love with three-wheelers while watching them at a stock-car race.
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'I promised her afterwards that I would get a three-wheeler one day,' he said.
The subject resurfaced at a football match. 'The car was owned by Ernest John Whiting,' Mr Bennett explained.
'His son, Paul 'Tiger' Whiting, was my football manager at Bungay Town veterans and after a game one day – about three years ago – Lauren was speaking to Ernest about three-wheelers and as he was too ill to drive he pledged to give her his own Reliant. Paul delivered it a few weeks later, but sadly Ernest died from cancer shortly after this.'
It was then that Mr Bennett came up with the idea of revamping the three-wheeler to become a charity vehicle.
The new-look Lauren Lou was then unveiled – and unbeknown to the Whiting family, after many months of hard renovation work, the car was dedicated to the memory of Ernest John Whiting.
'That was a massive thing – Tiger was over the moon with that,' Mr Bennett said.
'The vehicle has been stripped inside and out, resprayed, re-upholstered, and has had special, unique features added – for example, Lauren Lou has her own postbox, so that donations can be posted securely.'
Mr Bennett was also keen to thank the many 'amazing sponsors' who have helped get Lauren Lou on the road. He said he was grateful to: Jason Beck, of Auto Repairs; Philip Rasbery, of Lowestoft Boat and Car Trimmers; Ian Cook, of www.Wonderlifts.com; Debra Fenn, of The Oak Tavern; Sharon Sandwell; Tina Saucier; Steve Clarke, of Seletar Signs, Shelly Nicholls and her family for covering the fuel costs; Glen Curtis, of Pitstop Tyres; and Simon Ereira for marketing and design work including an online shop which will sell Lauren Lou merchandise.
Next Friday Lauren Lou will be at a charity night from 7pm to 1am at Lowestoft Town FC in Love Road. There will be music and a raffle. 'There will be a resident DJ and live music courtesy of Second Hand Blues, Trailerpark and The Wright Stuff, all kinldy arranged by Adrian from Soundwaves Roadshow,' Mr Bennett said.
'There will also be a raffle with some fantastic prizes.'
Tickets cost �5 from Lowestoft Town FC, Tones Hair Design or from www.laurenlou.co.uk
To book the car to attend an event, contact Mr Bennett on 07880 957871 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org