How a passion for Morris Minors led to a major not-for-profit business idea
PUBLISHED: 18:52 30 July 2013 | UPDATED: 18:52 30 July 2013
Connie, Trevor and Sally are key players in a new venture set up by North Yorkshire classic car enthusiast Henry Scrope.
But they’re not mechanics or drivers; they’re Morris Minors. Connie is a cute little blue 1964 convertible with a cream coloured hood, Trevor a rather more bookish grey 1968 woody traveller and Sally a sassy 1969 maroon coloured four-door saloon.
All play their part in Morris Minor Tours (morrisminortours.com), set up Henry to offer fellow enthusiasts the opportunity to tootle around beautiful, unspoilt Yorkshire in a vintage vehicle, while helping a very worthy cause.
‘This is not-for-profit venture, helping young adults cared for by Autism Plus at their two houses and at their work place, Easiworks Industrial Unit in Easingwold,’ explained Henry, whose son has autism. ‘The idea is that, as well as helping clean and prepare the vehicles, doing admin and taking bookings both for the cars and for overnight accommodation, the young people will earn money and, even more importantly, self-respect.’
Autism Plus (autismplus.org) is a Sheffield-based charity that supports adults and young people with autism, learning disabilities and mental health conditions.
Its aim is to enable people to take control of their own lives by supporting their choices, whatever they may be.
Henry hopes Morris Minor Tours, which can be booked through Reflections Classic Car Hire (reflectionsclassiccarhire.com), will help young people fulfil their dreams of pursuing a viable, useful career, while giving car fans a chance to hit the highway in a piece of vehicular history.
‘We currently have three vehicles in our fleet,’ he said. ‘Each has the capacity to carry four people, and Trevor is big enough to hold a couple of folding bicycles as well, which we can also provide for a small extra cost.
‘It goes without saying that these vehicles don’t have automatic gears, so it’s essential that drivers have experience with a gear stick. But don’t think you’ll be plodding along with the tractors; all our models are of the later 1000cc type, so they can not only climb the steepest hills at ease, but have a cruising speed of 60mph.
‘We only ask that hirers remember that they are rare vintage vehicles and must be treated with respect.’
As part of the tour service, drivers are given a unique, specially prepared printed satnav guide with inbuilt suggestions of places to stay, routes to take and places to visit. Whether castles, ruined monasteries, stately homes or steam railways are your thing, the guide has got them covered, either suggesting tried-and-tested routes or helping you to create bespoke routes as you go.
‘Just imagine,’ said Henry, ‘full use of a lovely old Morris Minor for a weekend, week or just a day while you motor around the gorgeous, rolling scenery of North Yorkshire, dropping in on its attractions as you go, all at a leisurely pace and in a fun, stylish and characterful car.
‘At 50 years old, these jalopies may be getting on a bit, but they are in splendid condition and are equipped with state-of-the-art satnav systems.’
Charges range from £80 for one day hire of Sally to £350 for a week in the company of Connie. Prices include insurance and up to 120 miles per day.
‘And don’t forget, your Yorkshire adventure comes with the added bonus of knowing that while enjoying yourselves, you are also providing crucial help to vulnerable yet keen-as-mustard young adults in the care of Autism Plus,’ Henry concluded.