A man from Rotherham is selling his beloved classic three-wheeled car to raise money for Sheffield Children’s Hospital this Christmas.
John Holmes, 76, from Hellaby, Rotherham has been the proud owner of a Reliant Robin for the last 16 years, but he’s decided to auction it off through Mathewsons Auction House in Pickering to raise money for the hospital that treated him as a child.
Due to the car’s unique history, surviving two Sheffield floods, it piqued the interest of the TV show Bangers & Cash, and the auction – taking place this weekend – is set to feature on the show next year.
“I bought it in March 2007, and three months after that, it got completely flooded up to window level! It was in Chapeltown, and an underground river that had blocked up had gone back to a reservoir and flooded out through the steelworks.
“The irony is that my boss’ really expensive sports car got totally wiped out, but the Robin survived!”
Once a popular choice with drivers, the Robin is now considered more of a collector’s item. John had always hoped to leave it to his son in his Will so he could sell it for a good cause in his name but was convinced by his family that it would be better to do it himself, so he could see the difference the Robin would make.
“When I bought the Robin, I agreed with my wife, Janet, that I would keep it for 10 years. I’ve overshot that by six years already!
“As I’m getting on a bit now, stiff joints and things, I’d been thinking about selling it, but I didn’t want it to just go to anyone. Then I came up with the idea to donate it.
“I’d been visiting the Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield with Ken, my friend of 70-odd years who is a mechanic and has done all of the maintenance on the Robin since I got it. I could see Sheffield Children’s out the window and I could actually see the part of the building that housed the ward I was treated in when I was a youngster! And I thought why not use the Robin to raise money for them?”
John sent an email to Mathewsons Auction House explaining the Robin’s history and to see if they’d be interested in auctioning it on his behalf. They were very interested and also wanted to feature it on the TV show Bangers & Cash, which is filmed at the Pickering family’s business.
“It’s the right time, right place, and it’s right for me. I thought I’d be upset about losing the Robin but I feel it’s the right thing to do – plus I’m now in the good books with my wife!”
All proceeds from the sale of the Robin will very kindly be donated to Sheffield Children’s Hospital via The Children’s Hospital Charity, plus Mathewsons are very generously waving the auction fees and transport costs to make sure as much money can be donated as possible.
David Mathewson from Mathewsons Auction House said:
“It was a real pleasure to meet John and his wife Janet the other week when I collected their 1989 Reliant Robin. This lovely little car is clearly much loved and has been well cared for over the years, with the help of their good friend Ken.
“My dad, Derek Mathewson, has taken the Robin for a short test drive around Thornton-le-Dale and absolutely loves the quirky, unique character of the vehicle. We don’t have that many Reliant Robins coming through the Mathewsons Auction but when we do, they always spark a fair bit of interest and I hope John and Janet’s motor will achieve a good price in our 15/16th December sale.
“It’s brilliant that John wants all the proceeds to go to the Sheffield Children’s Hospital and at Mathewsons we’ll do our bit by waiving all auction fees and transport costs in order to maximise the cash returned. It’ll be great to see the car on Yesterday Channel’s Bangers & Cash show sometime next year.”
The auction will take place this weekend at Mathewsons in Pickering and those interested can pre-register to bid here: Lot 452 – 1989 RELIANT ROBIN LX – ALL PROCEEDS TO (mathewsons.co.uk).