A Coquetdale hero is to be honoured in a special car restoration programme on TV this evening.
Tom Mason, 73, from Rothbury, works six days a week and volunteers across the valley, working for the archaeology group, wrestling club, churches, football club, cancer charities and even dresses up as Father Christmas for the children.
His daughter Nicola was flicking through TV channels when she spotted the restoration show Car S.O.S.
Tom is the proud owner of a 1934 Morgan F4, which belonged to his uncle and which has lain unused for the last 50 years.
Nicola entered Tom into the show, which doesn’t just look at the car restoration, it looks at the characters behind the wheel.
She said: “As soon as I saw it I thought wow, wouldn’t it be great to do something like that for dad.
“I applied online to the Car S.O.S. team and I know they have thousands of entries but I was amazed when I had a message back saying that they would be in touch and they were really interested.”
Tom’s car was chosen out of a shortlist of 30. The TV team was touched by Tom’s passion for the community and how many lives he hasreached out to.
“He’s the most selfless man I’ve ever met in my life and he’s loved by everyone,” said Nicola.
The family had to resort to subterfuge to get the car out of Tom’s sight so the restoration project could begin.
They used a recent break-in at a nearby farm to persuade him to lock up the rusted Morgan F4, which would allow the team to take away the car.
Once the work was done, a film crew from Car S.O.S. turned up at Tom’s home, on the pretence of interviewing him about a stone circle that he has erected in his garden.
But Tom was to get the biggest shock of his life.
The Morgan, fully restored and gleaming, was driven into the garden, followed by Rothbury Highland Pipe Band and a group of about 200 family, friends and villagers.
Tom said: “The day of the actual return of the car to me was such a fantastic day but completely out-of-the-blue.
“Half-way through the conversation, the presenter gave me a nudge and said ‘very interesting this stone circle but what do you make of that?’
“I turn around and here’s my car coming driving through the gate with the pipe band behind it.
“There was 200 people who’d turned up and it was very emotional to me, I was crying.”
The programme, entitled Morgan Mayhem, will be screened tonight at 8pm on the National Geographic Channel.