I should have taken the apprentership to be a goldsmith as my parents wanted when I was 16 and itching to get out of a school that didn't understand diabetes. However, I knew better, and I wanted to work in a garage so I could work on cars. WRONG.
Incidentally I nearly started to work at the Vauxhall main dealer where one Charlie Whiting was (race controller for the GP's) although I did get to meet him quite a bit while racing in special saloons etc., modified saloons along with Nick Whiting, Gerry Marshall and many more.
I have recently received an award from Diabetes UK. The Nabaro Medal which is given to any patient/"client" who has had diabetes for over 50 years ( and survived).
At about the age of 8 I thought I would build a go-kart and race it at the race run at the Goodwin Sands only, as I got my paperwork in order, the RAC specified that anyone with diabetes could not hold a competition licence.
I was devastated! I tried appeal after appeal and writing to the likes of one Graham Hill and one Jackie Stewart but still no joy.
Oh well, I'll have to make do with watching and becoming a mechanic perhaps, or so I thought.
At the age of about 17 a friend of my brother asked me if I could spray a bonnet ( all-in-one front) for his Anglia 105E ? I jumped at the opportunity having shared some time spectating with my brother, his friends and my father, it was a chance to get involved with something I wanted to do and it would help my job as an apprentice panel beater with the extra experience and all, brilliant I thought.
Please see a list of some of the projects and people I have worked with and met over the years.
1973-75 1000 MAE Special Saloon Anglia 105E Peter Halls.
1976-79 Zephyr MkII Classic Saloon (639 HYM) Peter Halls/David Dees. Dees of Croydon & Sidcup. Ex. Gerry Marshall etc., etc.
1979-80 998cc and 1220cc Special/modified Imp Peter Halls with George Bevan.
1980-84 850, 998and 1300 Space framed special saloon Imp Peter Halls
1980-83 998cc Mini Miglia Graham Hill trophy Paul Rowland
1985 7600cc VW Variant/F5000 Special GT Terry Mitchell
1991-92 3400cc Lister D/Type Jaguar replica Eike Wellhausen
1996 2500cc Formula Classic based at Donington and W/S The Deer Farm Don Herriage and Tom Wheatcroft
1997-98 4500 TVR Tuscan Challenge with WLA Racing in Larkfield and TVR
All the above I worked on while I thought I would never get a competition licence but just hoped the rules would change ( never say die!)
Come 2001 and I found that it might be possible to get a race licence if I could prove I was stable enough and sensible enough to control my diabetic condition.
I took my ARDS test in the January of 2002 with Chris Hodgetts and it must have been a bad day for him but begrudgingly he approved me for my Nat B licence!!! By the time I was allowed to race my father, my favourite uncle and my extremely close friend George Bevan had all passed-on but I know they would all have approved!
2003 Pug. 205 Hatchback 1.6 GTI Prod. Saloon.
2003-05 Modified 205 Hatchback 1.6 GTI
2005-06 Legend 600 ( good fun but far too much contact).
That's my story David and I hope I've not missed too much.
This last picture is of my
daughter with Chris Rea at Donington this year, a big classic racing fan and also a great fan of my car as well as being a diabetic himself!
I'm still trying to get him to do a race with me!
More of the same please David and good luck.