THE TRUST IN ACTION
...getting lives back on track
Since the Trust’s creation, it has helped a significant number of former and current mechanics and their families who have fallen on hard times and needed financial or medical assistance during and after their careers.
Every case is treated individually and in confidence so to respect the beneficiaries’ privacy, names and details are rarely made public.
In this section, you’ll find a selection of tales about how the Trust has influenced the lives of the mechanics. Thanks to those who have waived their right to anonymity.
Chris Mays, ex-Williams F1
Recently departed Chris "Mop" Mays had been a pit lane regular for years, working for Williams F1 in control of the drivers’ pit boards. In 2006, he suffered serious head injuries in a motorbike accident while out in Koh Samui during the off season and was taken to intensive care. The Trust contributed to the costs incurred in bringing him back to the UK quickly. As a result, Mays' family were then able to get him into a hospital close to home so he could spend the final part of his life with his family around him as he received long term neurological care by the NHS.
Paul Summerfield, ex-Pacific
Medical/Subsistence/Private Rehabilitation support
Paul Summerfield worked as the refueller for the Pacific Formula 1 Team when he requested assistance from the Trust. During the 1995 European Grand Prix, the car he was refuelling set off prematurely, breaking Paul’s leg as it exited the pit box. Unfortunately, his bones did not heal properly and subsequent complications meant that his quality of life was compromised. The Trust stepped in and covered his medical costs, made subsistence payments and paid for him to go to Willi Dungl’s renowned rehabilitation clinic in Austria. After just one month at the facility, he was able to rebuild his life, get back to work and look after himself and his family.
Bob Torrie, ex-March, Lotus and Williams
Bob Torrie enjoyed a long career in Formula 1, working for March Engineering, Lotus and Williams over a 27-year period. Initially a mechanic, he set up "sub-assembly" and looked after the hydraulic systems, gearbox, uprights and brakes. After retiring from the sport in 2000, he began suffering mobility problems and having heard about the Trust during his time at Williams he got in touch. The Trust paid for consultations and contributed to the treatment.
"I would not have found out what was going on with my health without the Trust’s help which was amazing. I was able to see the best medical people promptly and this did me very well indeed. This has helped with managing my condition," said Torrie.
Stan Collier - ex British Racing Partnership and Brabham
Stan Collier started the British Racing Partnership in 1958 with Sir Stirling Moss and Ken Gregory. He went on to work in motorsport until 1982 and "still messes about with cars" in his retirement. After hearing about the Trust from a fellow mechanic, Stan got in touch after he began suffering eye problems.
"I could never have afforded the treatment without the Trust’s help and I would have been blind in one eye without it. It has been such a help to me," said Collier.
Neil Davis - ex-Tyrrell
Neil Davis worked with Sir Jackie Stewart, Francois Cevert and Jody Scheckter during his time with the Tyrrell team. Neil had known about the Trust for a number of years thanks to shooting competitions in aid of the Trust arranged by Sir Jackie and decided to get in touch when he was diagnosed with myeloma which causes a weakness in the upper body. The Trust contributed to a special chair and electric bed to help Neil become more independent.
"I know they have helped a lot of other people in worse circumstances than myself and I think that the work being done is important," said Davis.
A surviving partner - anonymous
The partner of a mechanic with three young children was left with no access to money when the mechanic passed away suddenly. Bank accounts were frozen because they were solely in his name and although funds would eventually become available, in the short term, the partner had no access to cash for day-to-day expenses. The Trust stepped in with a lump sum payment within just a few days of the death, freeing her from financial concerns while she grieved.
A working former mechanic - anonymous
Advice and medical support
A former mechanic suffering from a diagnosed heart condition was struggling to get satisfactory answers from the NHS regarding medical treatment. At the same time, circumstances surrounding his job became insecure. The Trust was able to provide financial support to get a second opinion on treatment options, while the also offering advice on tax credits and benefits available to him. This resulted in him and his family receiving a higher income because they were previously unaware of the financial support available from the government.
A terminally ill mechanic - anonymous
A former mechanic who lived in New Zealand was advised that his illness was terminal. He investigated alternative medicines and found them to be of help in improving his quality of life. Unfortunately, the medicines had to be bought privately and the family couldn’t afford to purchase them as regularly as he needed. The Trust stepped in and provided monthly support until he passed away to ease the pain during the final stages of his life.