Collectors' collector (one)
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s a boy,the Hawk began a stamp collection but it never amounted to more than a few colourful Australian numbers steamed from relatives' letters and a Victorian penny black, common as muck in those days. Similar lack of success met a brief obsession for collecting tropical birds cards from tea packets: the album remained incomplete. These days, I stick to amassing small shiny coins in a tin by the fireplace with which I fill my pockets on my nightly walk to the Ferret & Black Pudding.
Hats off then to Derek Leach of Petersfield who is obsessed with junk and has a garage full of the stuff. He runs a vehicle repair business and has built up a huge collection of motoring memorabilia over the years, much of it just turning up by chance. "I did not start out as a collector," he admits, with an air of resignation.
"But my job brought in various items that I just put aside." These objects include road signs and advertising signs, old tools (handy for renovating older vehicles) and turnof-the-century spark plugs which in those days came in carved wooden vases. Many of the components are unused, bought or given from workshops that closed down: oil cans with their original contents; wonderful potions to cure motoring ailments that have come and gone. A large collection of foreign number plates decorate one wall. Even some old road works warning lamps remind of times past, when, if you saw a car every half hour you thought it was a traffic jam. But Derek doesn't keep the collection just to himself: many an enthusiast of veteran and classic vehicles have been able to locate that elusive part by a visit to his Aladdin's cave of a workshop.
drawn out the other end. This ensures the vehicle is kept dry and prevents rust, whereas ordinary air soaks up moisture.