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Winter 2018Vintage Lambretta restoration

Labour of love

A vintage Lambretta scooter has been brought back to life following a long labour of love.

The Lambretta Li150 was bought from a shop on Oldham Road back in 1967 by current Deputy Mayor and Mayoress, Billy and Lynn Sheerin, during their first year of marriage.

Manufactured in 1966, it cost £125, or the equivalent to around six weeks’ pay for a skilled engineer, and was their main means of transport for many years.

Billy laughed: “When our first child was 14 days overdue, I took Lynn to Birch Hill on the back of the scooter and hid the scooter behind the bushes before going in.”

His pride and joy was forced into early retirement in 1971 after scooter insurance premiums doubled overnight.

Billy promised himself that he would someday restore the Lambretta, but time passed, the scooter becoming a sad sight, gathering dust and rotting away in the corner of the garage.

The years passed, and after Billy’s family home was sold, the Lambretta was given a new home in 1999 with family friends, Brian Roberts and Cindy, under the condition that Billy would restore the Lambretta when he retired.

Billy agreed, but with retirement came a host of other jobs, further preventing the Lambretta from returning to her glory days: odd jobs around the house and garden, building sets for plays at the Curtain Theatre, and being elected as a councillor for Castleton. It seemed there was no time for working on the scooter.

However, the day to fulfil his lifelong ambition arrived in summer 2015. Billy decided he needed a new project to ‘take his mind from problems that local politics had conjured’.

There was no stopping Billy as he set to work carefully restoring the Lambretta for two hours almost every Saturday afternoon.

A complete strip down of the scooter was done and, with Brian’s help, rubbing down and respraying the Lambretta began.

Replacement parts were purchased from Seeley Scooters on Water Street, plus valuable advice from owner Peter Merchant when reassembly problems arose.

The restoration was financially heavy, but after a long labour of love, the Lambretta was ready after passing its MOT before Christmas 2017.

The Lambretta made her debut at this year’s Classic Car show, having received a new lick of paint in her original red and white colours.

Billy added: “Jaws dropped when they found out I’d had the Lambretta from new, and I’ve been invited to join a local club. All our children are fighting over who gets it now, and they bought me a crash helmet for Christmas.”

The real question is, would Billy do it all again?

“Absolutely! Riding the scooter along the road on a summer’s day brings back so many happy memories and makes me feel young again. It’s like going back in time,” Billy beamed.