A Wheelie Good Time

A Stratford-upon-Avon care home resident is inviting local people to join him for a cruise down memory lane.


On Saturday 1st June, from 2pm – 4pm, the team at Care UK’s Ambleside, on Evesham Road, is helping make resident John Bacchus, aged 87, wish to get behind the wheel again come true, with the help of the community.


A fleet of 15 cars from 1930 to 2000 will be pulling up outside the home, provided by Arden MG Club. Guests and residents can admire the craftsmanship, as well as share stories of their own memories with the classic cars.


Growing up with cars, John’s father was in the motor trade industry, managing a group of showrooms in North Wales, which sold Hillmans. John’s first car was a half share in an Austin 7, before later getting his first “proper car”, a 22 Bentley Gurney Nutting. During World War Two, he loved driving his Rolls-Royce into Europe and spent a lot of time in Brittany, France.


John said: “When I used to pull up at hotels in my Rolls-Royce, people assumed that I was an English Lord and the staff used to bow as I went towards the hotel entrance.”


John’s career began at Ford as part of the team that brought out the original Transit van. He then went on to become Product Planning Director for Austin Morris in the ‘small car’ division at British Leyland, which eventually became Rover Group. John was responsible for bringing the MGB GT V8 into production and he designed the radiator grill, the Wolseley 2200, and the Austin-Morris Princess. 1979 saw John part of the Rover Group and Honda collaboration, which resulted in the Triumph Acclaim and the Rover 200, 400, 600, and 8000.


He shared an anecdote of “chucking” Jeremy Clarkson off his trade stand at the Geneva car show, while trying to get information relating to a Honda collaboration which was a “trade secret”.


The event is part of the home’s Wishing Tree initiative, which encourages residents to put wishes forward, allowing them to reconnect with a past hobby or try something completely new. From flying a plane to enjoying a fish and chip supper, no wish is too big or small.

John added: “I’m very much looking forward to the day and talking to the owners about the fantastic engineering of days gone by.”


Charlotte Levin, Home Manager at Ambleside, said: “Everyone here at Ambleside knows how much John loves classic cars and when the team learned that he wanted to get behind the wheel once again, they were determined to help him.


“Our Wishing Tree initiative is a great way for residents to share their dreams and passions, and it’s incredibly rewarding to be able to make these a reality. I am looking forward to seeing John in his element and sharing his knowledge with local people.


“It will be brilliant to see some new and old faces at Ambleside for what we anticipate will be a fun afternoon for everyone involved!” 


For more information about Ambleside and to book your place at the event, please call Customer Relations Manager, Staci Reeson on 01789 868 298, or email staci.reeson@careuk.com


Ambleside is a state-of-the-art care home which provides full-time residential, dementia and nursing care, as well as short-term respite care. Designed to enable its residents to live enjoyable and fulfilling lives, the care home has its very own cinema, café and hair salon, and there is plenty of space, both indoors and out, for relaxation and recreation.


For more information about Ambleside, visit careuk.com/ambleside