Suffolk man buys rare Mini built to mark Queen's Silver Jubilee for £10k

EAST ANGLIA NEWS SERVICE, tel. 07767 413379
Kieran Roper and his son Reuben of Westerfield, Suffolk

Kieran Roper and his son Reuben of Westerfield, Suffolk, pictured with the 1977 model Mini which was won in a competition by school teacher Margaret Irvine who could not drive. He bought the car for £10,000 with just 5,501 miles on the clock. - Credit: Paul Nixon/East Anglia News Service

A silver Mini won by a school teacher who could not drive in 1977 has been bought by a Suffolk man nearly 44 years later – with just 5,501 miles on the clock.

Margaret Irvine did not have a driving licence when she won the brand new motor in a competition to mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

The classic car is said to have stayed in her garage for three years until she passed her test, and she only took it out for occasional drives after that.

It had still only done 2,500 miles when she sold it in 2008 to her neighbour in Buckstone, Edinburgh.

EAST ANGLIA NEWS SERVICE, tel. 07767 413379
School teacher Margaret Irvine pictured with the Mini a

School teacher Margaret Irvine pictured with the Mini after she won it in a completion in 1977 to mark the Queen's Silver Jubilee. - Credit: Paul Nixon/East Anglia News Service

The car remained in the same family, being taken out for only around 200 miles a year, until it was bought last week for £10,000 by Kieran Roper, 36, of Westerfield, near Ipswich.

Mr Roper, a property developer, said: “It is in fabulous condition and has an amazing history. It is just incredible that it has done so few miles.

“I had been looking for a Mini for ages when this one came up. It is an absolute classic because it was painted silver for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.”

EAST ANGLIA NEWS SERVICE, tel. 07767 413379
School teacher Margaret Irvine pictured with the Mini a

School teacher Margaret Irvine pictured with the Mini after she won it in a competition in 1977 to mark the Queen's Silver Jubilee. - Credit: Paul Nixon/East Anglia News Service

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Mr Roper set his sights on getting an original Leyland version of the Mini because his dad Ivan and brother James each had one as their first cars.

He now plans to keep the motor safely in his garage with only an occasional outing before handing it over to his 20-month-old son Reuben when he is old enough to drive.

EAST ANGLIA NEWS SERVICE, tel. 07767 413379
Kieran Roper of Westerfield, Suffolk, pictured with the

Kieran Roper of Westerfield, Suffolk, pictured with the 1977 model Mini and the telegram telling school teacher Margaret Irvine who could not drive that she had won it in 1977. He bought the car for £10,000 with just 5,501 miles on the clock. - Credit: Paul Nixon/East Anglia News Service

Mr Roper received paperwork including MOTs and servicing bills proving the car’s low mileage as well as pictures of competition winner Miss Irvine behind the wheel.

The bundle of papers even included a copy of the telegram informing her that she had won the car as first prize in a competition run by St Cuthbert’s Co-op and Colgate toothpaste.

EAST ANGLIA NEWS SERVICE, tel. 07767 413379The telegram telling Margaret Irvine that she had won t

The telegram telling Margaret Irvine that she had won the Mini in 1977. - Credit: Paul Nixon/East Anglia News Service

One letter from the competition organisers even revealed that Miss Irvine had also won a 1970s Raleigh Chopper bike as a second prize in the same contest.

But Miss Irvine thoughtfully refused to accept the bike so it could go to someone else after pointing out that the rules prevented her from winning two prizes.

EAST ANGLIA NEWS SERVICE, tel. 07767 413379Kieran Roper of Westerfield, Suffolk, pictured with the

Kieran Roper of Westerfield, Suffolk, pictured with the 1977 model Mini which was won in a competition by school teacher Margaret Irvine who could not drive. - Credit: Paul Nixon/East Anglia News Service

The car was one of only 25 silver Minis made to mark the Queen's 25 years on the throne and was given special blue seats to go with the Royal theme.

Miss Irvine kept the car for 31 years before selling it. Her neighbour who bought it then sold it on to her brother Mark Everett around ten-years-ago.

Mr Everett only rarely drove it before selling it a few months ago to his son Andy Everett of Bathgate near Edinburgh.

EAST ANGLIA NEWS SERVICE, tel. 07767 413379The mileage on the 1977 model Mini which was won in a c

The mileage on the 1977 model Mini which was won in a competition by school teacher Margaret Irvine who could not drive. - Credit: Paul Nixon/East Anglia News Service

The 40-year-old painter and decorator said: “I decided to sell it because it was in the garage and just getting in the way.

“It is a lovely little car with a fascinating history and it drives very nicely. The mileage is totally authentic which makes it really special.”

Mr Roper also had to pay a £500 premium to the auctioneers and £600 to get the Mini brought down to his home on a low loader to avoid putting on extra mileage.

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