Chewy the bunny car is rescued!
THE community has rallied to the aid of an animal rescue charity which put out an SOS to save their mascot – a furry rabbit mobile.
Chewy was purchased on eBay by the Staple Hill-based Littlest Rescue several years ago and has been raising money for the charity by appearing at events, fairs and fetes.
But disaster struck when the Ford Ka - complete with grey fur, teeth, long whiskers and a pink nose - failed its MoT.
Mechanics told the charity it would cost £550 to repair Chewy's bodywork which had badly corroded and on top of that further funds were needed to tax and insure him.
The charity, which looks after 'pre-loved' rabbits and guinea pigs, launched an online fundraising appeal and were amazed when donations rocketed to more than £1,000 in a matter of days.
Littlest Rescue founder Bev Taylor said: “We started a Go Fund Me page to save Chewy and, believe it or not, raised £1,100 in just 48 hours!
“Chewy is an old car and to some people he's not even worth repairing but for us he's worth his weight in gold. He raises a lot of money so we were prepared to pay whatever it cost.”
When kind-hearted workers at the garage, B M Motoring Centre in Broad Street, Staple Hill, realised the repairs were for charity they said they would only charge for materials and would waive labour costs.
“They were amazing,” said Bev.It means we now have a little extra over which will enable us to have the advisory work carried out which had been flagged up on the MoT. Hopefully Chewy will be fully restored so he can carry on working for another year at least. The garage did a really good job on his bodywork so we are hoping that next year he may go through the MoT but there's no guarantee. Being covered in fur, you can't see when he gets corroded but we try as much as possible to keep him out of the rain.”
Chewy was returned to the Littlest Rescue on May 10 and was back working the next day - this time to raise funds for a boy with epilepsy.
“He's not just used for our own benefit,” said Bev. “We use him to support other causes, which is really good.”
Bev said it was great to see Chewy looking much healthier.
“It was really good to drive him again. Chewy is immensely important to the charity because he captures the attention of children and enables us to give education talks about rabbits.
“He's also great at raising money at events as people want their photo taken with him and are happy to donate.
“To me he's important because he's named after a rabbit I sadly lost. To have Chewy back on the road was like having my rabbit back. He lives on and I want to keep him going for as long as possible.”
David Peel, owner of B M Motoring Centre, said: “One of the volunteers dropped Chewy into us and said they had been trying to raise money to keep the car on the road. As soon as we found that they were a charity we tried to keep cost down to help them out. We've had some weird and wonderful vehicles but we've never had a bunny car before.”