A regional daily journalist has been reunited with a scooter more than 30 years since he last saw it.
Simon Smedley, who covers sport and music for the Oldham Evening Chronicle, had not seen his beloved red Vespa 100cc scooter since the mid-1980s, when he traded it in after passing his motorcycle test.
But, by coincidence, an old friend of his called Tony Crocker came across a similar model nine months ago in the factory where he worked, and decided to buy it last month.
After making his purchase, Tony sent Simon a picture of his newly-acquired vehicle and the reporter saw it had the same registration plate he recalled from his youth.
Simon, 51, told the Chronicle: “I joked with Tony saying that I could even remember the number plate of mine, and then came the stunning reply. Tony sent me a picture of the reg plate and there it was – ERJ445Y.
“The realisation sent shivers down my spine, and the response from friends and family has been one of utter shock.
“Some of my mates have been looking for their first scooter for years, and my old one has turned up having been covered up in Oldham for 30 years – the 1987 tax disc was still on the scooter.”
Tony now intends to restore the Vespa to its former glory, despite not having worked on or even ridden one before.
He has promised Simon the first ride on it when it’s back in working order.