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Tale of Bishop and his Escort

IT was the Bishop who had a confession to make when he met students at West Suffolk College.

Ten years ago, he told students gathered for a prize-giving he had bought a kit car, a Jago Jeep, but it was still nowhere near completion.

"My son and I got hold of two old Mark 1 Escorts that we took to pieces," said Richard Lewis, the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.

"The plan was to use the pieces to build the jeep. But we got stuck. We had lots of pieces and built a rolling chassis then Nick went to college and well...."

After hearing the sorry story Nicholas Foster, the college's principal, asked the Bishop if he would like some help from his motor vehicle department.

The student mechanics took a trailer to Ipswich to collect the Bishop's abandonned chassis and assorted parts Some of the kit - including wheels and headlamps - had been stolen in a burglary, and the plans for assembly were incomplete.

Undaunted, workshop technician Ken Cobbold directed a group of first-year full-time motor vehicle students through the project. They had to strip down and re-assemble the engine and break up an old Ford Escort to provide replacement parts and wiring.

"The students loved the car; some of them would have liked to have owned it, " said Mr Cobbold. "But it's a young man's car - I wouldn't want to have done my courting in it!" The finished result, in British Racing Green, delighted the Bishop, who has already given it a test drive on college premises. After stringent tests it is expected to be roadworthy. But the Bishop has another car just in case - a Peugeot.

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