Northern Echo article published 3rd April 2008


Mechanics go that extra mile

By Neil Macfarlane



THE family of a young girl with leukaemia have thanked kindhearted mechanics at a North- East garage who stepped in to save her holiday.


Jemima Rourke, aged seven, and her family nearly had to cancel their weekend break in Scotland when their car broke down outside Darlington and were told it could take up to two days to fix. But mechanics at the Nationwide Autocentre, in Woodland Road, Darlington, put the car to the front of the queue when they heard about the family's plight - and refused payment for the repair.


"We were amazed," said Jemima's father, Lee, from Rotherham, South Yorkshire. "People don't go out of their way to help you like that very often. It really made our day."


Jemima was diagnosed with leukaemia two years ago and is still receiving treatment. The Rourkes were driving to a weekend retreat at a holiday centre for children with cancer in Ayrshire when their brakes failed on the A1 at Scotch Corner. After calling the AA, they were towed to the nearest garage. The mechanics in Darlington were busy with Saturday afternoon trade, but manager Peter Warwick rolled up his sleeves and fixed the car himself.

"At first we thought we might have to wait until Monday because they were that busy," said Mr Rourke, 37.

"We had some lunch and then went for a walk around Darlington while we waited to find out if they could help us or not.

"By the time we went back to the garage, we were flagging a bit because we had had such a bad day.

"The manager said he'd have a look at it himself and when he was finished, he refused to take any money for it.

"It wasn't a small job either. It took him a good hour-and-a-half to do.

"He said it was his gift to us.

"We managed to get to Scotland eventually. We had been thinking about giving up and going home, but his gesture really lifted us.

"We were in their hands - they could have charged us £200 and we would have happily paid it just to get on our way."


Mr Warwick said yesterday:

"They were a bit stressed because they had an appointment for their daughter.

"They were stranded and they were in a hurry. It was nothing out of the ordinary - we didn't need any parts or anything, it was just my time. We were happy to help them out."




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Kind gesture: Mechanic Peter Warwick



Jemma Rourke, with her father, Lee

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