Community help 12-year-old racer get back on track after burglars steal his go-kart
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Burglars who stole a 12-year-old boy's go-kart could not take away his dream of becoming a Formula One driver after the community rallied round to get him back on track.
Matthew Hawkins, from Costessey, broke down in tears after finding his go-kart had been stolen from his home garage on September 14, 2017, just days before he was due to compete at an event in Wales.
Matthew, who had started karting with the National Schools and Youth Group Karting Association (NatSKA) in March of that year, had just been gearing up for the new season.
He and his father, Chris Hawkins, had worked tirelessly to build the beloved go-kart, and even a year later they are still clueless as to who may have taken it.
Moved by his story, the community came together to get Matthew racing again and it was not long before he was able to compete in a new go-kart.
Family friend Nathan Dack, of Nathan Dack Caravans, in Norwich, set up a fundraising page which raised more than £1,000 to go towards a new go-kart, with Gavin Wright of Gavin Wright Ceramic Tiling, in Taverham, donating £100.
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As the replacement kart was being built, Matthew was given one to borrow in order to compete at Whilton Mill, near Northampton, on September 30 last year.
Rollerdor, in Bowthorpe, fitted a new garage door to help secure the new kart and Breckland Finishing Ltd, in Thetford, stripped and powder coated Matthew's kart chassis free of charge after hearing of the theft.
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At the start of November last year, less than two months after his kart was stolen, Matthew was back on the racetrack at Camberley, Surrey.
Since then, he has won three trophies and has risen to fifth place in the NatSKA championships.
Mr Hawkins said his son was elated to be back behind the wheel, adding: 'He was devastated when it was stolen but seeing the money coming in and to realise he could compete again, it was really good.
'I am extremely grateful, I'd like to thank everybody who has helped, so many people have donated large amounts.'
To sponsor Matthew Hawkins, visit his Facebook page @matthewhawkinskarting