Caroline Roberts-Quigley is a community fundraiser for Sussex based children’s hospice Chestnut Tree House.
A petrol head in an earlier life, Caroline gained her National B Motor Racing Licence in the 90s and raced at many tracks across the UK. This background has clearly influenced her choice of car so we wanted to know more.
Tell us more about your motor racing days please – what car did you drive and where?
My boyfriend at the time drove a Porsche; a left hand drive that we drove down to Germany to purchase. It was his love of Porsche that got us attending Brands Hatch track days. I enjoyed watching the race series, such as the Lotus Elan, TVR Tuscans and Touring cars, but the cost of joining in with these was prohibitive and way beyond our means, so we did driver training track days at Brands Hatch followed by the comprehensive written exam and upon passing joined the Porsche 924 Championship, which was far more achievable and a lot more fun.
We drove at circuits all across the UK; Castle Coombe, Donnington Park, Oulton Park, Snetterton and my favourite of them all, Brands Hatch.
What does a Community Fundraiser do?
My role as a Community Fundraiser is to inspire, motivate and assist individuals, groups, schools and small businesses to engage and support the hospice. It is key for me to establish relationships that benefit both the charity and supporters ensuring that both parties get what they need from the fund-raising activities they undertake.
Tell us about your choice of a BMW Z3 in this role.
I stumbled across the BMW Z3 by accident. I had been driving Mazda MX5’s for many years’, but when my Mark 1 Japanese import was stolen on a New Year’s Eve, I was prompted to look for a another car and after many disastrous test drives of the MG Sports, I began looking at the Z3. Ten years on, I still have my beautiful car in racing green with gold flecks and beige leather interior.
However, I must confess it is not actually the best car for my role (as in the photo). I often need to take a lot of fundraising tools around with me to set up charity stands at events, such as gazebos, tables, chairs, leaflets and fundraising games.
Therefore, the solution is that, I have a smaller gazebo, 2 small folding tables and 2 folding chairs – this all fits in my fair sized boot (the spare tyre is neatly under the car chassis) and the rest of the fund-raising kit goes on the front seat!
For females looking for stylish and sporty motoring what else might impress them about the Z3?
Aside from kerb appeal and being fun to drive, reliability and safety is crucial for me and this car is dependability personified. Nearly 20 years old, even today this car passes MOT’s with flying colours. Apart from everyday items like new tyres and replacement brakes (recently), I have never had anything go wrong with it (she says touching wood).
This was an expensive car when first produced and I paid a handsome amount for it when it was 7 years old but it was well worth it, and as the old saying goes; ‘You get what you pay for’!
Being totally honest, what is the biggest drawback about this car?
That’s easy. It only has two seats so it’s not a good car for women with children (that’s why I never had any) and you can only give a lift to one person – so no chance being the driver on a party night. Another advantage for this party girl!
Spoiled for choice in terms of scenic routes in Sussex do you have a particular ‘top down’ favourite drive and why?
I love the scenic and traffic jam free drive on the A283 from Arundel to Brighton; it goes through Houghton, Amberley, Storrington, Washington and Steyning. There is a book that has been written about this stretch of road called ‘Ode to a Road’ and is quoted on Wikipedia ‘This road gives the driver an experience which is reminiscent of English country roads as they were 50 or more years ago’.
When the time is right for a newer car, what makes and models are likely to be on your shopping list and why?
If I had the money, I would treat myself to the Mercedes SLK. I would like both the old 1960’s version 230 SL for weekends and the latest 250 SLK for weekdays.
But for the time being I am more than happy with my BMW set of wheels as is!
For more information about Caroline’s work and Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice why not follow their Facebook Page.