Here’s Why You Need To Follow Driven Escape!!

With it being Mental Health Awareness Week this week, it can be very easy for us fellow petrol-heads and car people to feel lost in this world. With a lot of us distancing ourselves from the outside world due to being fixated on these inanimate objects, it can be very easy for us to feel down from time to time. For a lot of us, our cars are pretty much one of our only things in life that we have left as sad as it sounds. This is where Driven Escape comes in.

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As a fellow petrolhead with Epilepsy as well as mental health problems due to my illness, on a lot of occasions, my C70 project car is pretty much my only saving grace.  I use my C70 to fight my epilepsy and while a majority of the time it’s not an issue, on some occasions it can be a pain in the backside. While that may be typical project car ownership issues, when mental health is involved and you’re only way of fighting it is in a right state it can certainly get to you. Driven Escape helps out with this in a truly wonderful way.

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Driven Escape is a fairly small but brilliant Non-Profit Mental Awareness social media platform that helps out with mental health in the car community. Ran by a lad called Connor, he decided to set it up after going through quite a bad patch of issues himself, and just like a lot of us, he always had his cars to lift him up and help him fight it more than most people actually realised. Spurred on by this, he decided to create Driven Escape to give fellow car people going through similar issues a place to come together as a community to help people get through whatever issues they may be facing.

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Even though the community and following are fairly small compared to other groups out there, Driven Escape combats this by being a very close-knit community that looks after one another. Unlike other groups that are just for classics only or just modified cars, Driven Escape has a large array of vehicles in the group ranging from MGB GT’s to Austin Metros even up to a very rare but equally lovely Isuzu Piazza. Regardless of what car you own, you’re welcomed in with welcome arms.

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Alongside the social media platforms over on Facebook & Instagram, there is also a website that deals with merchandise like stickers and clothing items. Unlike other places that deal with merchandise to branch out their business, Driven Escape does something a little bit special. All the money spent that goes towards the clothing items and stickers goes to various mental health charities in the UK, a simply incredible gesture to do for the numerous amounts of people going through a bad time with mental health issues.

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I’ve been lucky to speak to Connor himself and he is so welcoming to people regardless if they’re new to Driven Escape or not. Even during this pandemic that we are currently facing, Connor has been acting on it by holding live check-ins and virtual car meets over on Instagram so he can both meet new faces as well as regular faces as well as get to know the cars and any updates made to them.

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Everyone who currently follows and has joined the Driven Escape Community Zone Facebook group are also brilliant people who help out regardless of what is wrong with either the car or the person behind the wheel and it really is a lovely thing to see, especially in circumstances like we have in this day and age.

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The best bit about Driven Escape though is the people who follow it. In a day and age where mental health is ignored in our society simply because it isn’t entirely apparent, to see a group in the car community come together and help out fellow petrolheads is something to admire.

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With the car community and the people in it being quite a bittersweet place to be in this society, it can be very easy for people to show hate for no valuable reason other than either jealousy or their own hidden issues. With Driven Escape and everything that they do, it brings back the car community and spirit of old where regardless of what you own or what stuff you do to said cars, people give respect regardless. Even if it isn’t something you’re into, respect is always given.

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With a vast array of owners and cars who are part of the Driven Escape family, there’s bound to be people, cars, or even styles out there that you can get involved with. Whether it be American muscle cars or small French hot-hatches, there’s a community within a community to get involved with, add in the respect you get, and the lack of hassle you get what isn’t there to love?

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Connor has really done an amazing job by creating Driven Escape and building it into what it is today. It’s not every day that you get someone from the car community going out of their way to create such a hub for fellow car people. Add the generous amounts of money given to mental health charities with the sale of both stickers and clothing items, Driven Escape really is in an element of its own. Just remember, It’s Okay Not to Be Okay.

 

Hope You Enjoy!

By Alex Jebson.

Remembering The Legend That Was John ‘Nosh’ Ronie!!

It is well known in the car community that we as petrol-heads like to go above and beyond for fellow car people. Whether they are in the classic car groups like RPM365, general car groups like Motorheads International, or manufacturer specific car groups like VolvoTuning.net, we as car people both see and do this on the regular. Since owning my C70, I have seen this happening first hand in many groups that I’ve joined but one group and especially one member in particular instantly comes to mind and his name was John ‘Nosh’ Ronie and he helped run a group called VolvoTuning.net or ‘VT’ for short.

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The word Legend gets thrown around a lot in the car community these days, too much in fact. Nosh, as he was known by his friends and peers due to owning a chippy in Sheffield, was a bonafide Legend. Ever since buying my C70 in 2015 I was looking for help and a community to be a part of, and through a friend of mine, I joined VolvoTuning.net and was instantly introduced to John. Within seconds of joining, he made me feel welcomed into the group and instantly fell for the car, I’d never felt more welcomed into anything before in my life. Throughout the 3 years of knowing John we got on brilliantly, jokes were made and help was given by both sides. Even though we both had different Volvo’s, we both respected each other regardless of model or power or anything. Granted, my C70 was more of a Volvo than his FoMoCo V50 estate but that didn’t matter.

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I’m also not the only one who loved and respected the big man neither. Everyone that knew him and met him all have fantastic memories of the guy. From holding a mini-meet at a Volvo Owners Club only meet VT weren’t allowed at to others watching and laughing at him walk out of a Scottish Harry Ramsdens restaurant at the Forth Railway Bridge a few years ago with a face like thunder, everyone that ever had the chance to meet him loved his charm and his ability to simply light up a room. On one occasion, he took a fellow member on a long old jaunt around Yorkshire trying to find an ice-cream shop of all things.

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Aside from the silliness, Even though Nosh was built massive and looked scary and unapproachable at first, he actually had a heart of gold. He was an avid supporter of numerous charities and always done something each year for charity, whether that was a VT meet or even a Shoebox Appeal at Christmas, he did it all and he loved it. He was also there for his numerous friends and family as well. From inviting friends over and feeding them and giving them drinks in return for a bag of sweets to giving mates around the area lifts to certain places if so needed. No one even asked for it all, John simply done it out of the kindness of his own heart. If anyone had car issues at meets or even needed parts delivered or even fitted, he’d be down and helping them out without even asking.

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As well as being an avid Volvo & overall car guy, John was also a family man as well. He had a wife called Sam, two sons & a step-daughter called Skye who he absolutely adored. He also had 7 grandkids between his two sons and Skye that he’d do anything for as well. To the ones that knew him best, he was one of the greats. Whether that was family or even close friends, no-one ever came close to the love John gave out and received back.

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Unfortunately, in early 2018 Nosh was diagnosed with terminal rectal cancer and when the news came out, everyone stopped in their tracks and cried. It was if the world had stopped spinning on its axis, that’s how bad it hit us all. For those lucky enough to have money spare decided to set up a JustGiving page to help out the hospice care look after him as he got worse. The overall outpours of love came flooding in and after everything had seemed to settle, the fund was up to well over £15K raised by fellow VT members and the Volvo community in general. After the news came out of his diagnosis, many people who made merchandise for the group decided to dedicate numerous stickers and mug designs to both show support and help the fund.

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John ‘Nosh’ Ronie passed away on the 23rd April of 2018 after only 6 weeks of fighting his cancer, up to the day he passed he fought it with grace, a good laugh, and a brilliant heart. Even though he was fighting something absolutely devastating for both him & everyone involved, he still put other people first. This was a typical John Ronie thing to do and that was why he was so respected in the Volvo communities.

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When he left us and the funeral was arranged and sorted out, Sheffield, where he was from, quickly became full to the brim of multiple Volvo’s lining the streets and the car park of the crematorium where everyone started to say their goodbyes for the last ever time. For such a small community, everyone rallied together to say their final goodbyes and it was a real tearjerker to see.

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After the funeral, It was John’s wish to have his near 500bhp V50 wagon stripped for parts and sold to other members to help finish or upgrade their builds. While it was sad to see his car to go like that, John knew that it’d go towards other cars and also to the family to cover any costs they may run into. This was a completely selfless thing to do, anyone else could’ve easily sold their car on whole and just let things be but not Nosh, he really was a legend in his own right.

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Even two years after his unfortunate passing, Nosh is forever remembered by numerous Volvo community members and friends of his. Recently, for example, Teddy bears have been made up by a Volvo Community member’s wife using some of Nosh’s old clothes with capsules of his ashes put inside so that he is remembered. I myself never got to meet John in real life due to either distance issues or car problems but even with that, he was one of the best people I have ever had the pleasure of talking to and laughing with.

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No one did things like John ‘Nosh’ Ronie, to everyone that knew him personally can even back me up and agree. When he left us, he left behind a massive legacy that will never be filled by another individual. He is thought of every single day by everyone in the community and for obvious reasons. The Volvo community lost a gem of a bloke two years ago today and it shows.

 

By Alex Jebson

I’ve Been Given The Opportunity To Fundraise For SameYou But I Need Your Help!!

While writing these days, it is not every day I am given the opportunity to help out others in need. Most days I sit here typing away at my keyboard listening to music at way too loud a volume inadvertently winding people up. More recently, however, I’ve been given the opportunity to help out some people in need and that is by fundraising for a charity close to my heart called SameYou. While this is a fantastic charity and one I’d love to help out, due to never fundraising in my life, I have no clue where to start or what to do and this is where I need your help.

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For those that may not have heard of the charity SameYou, they’re a small UK-based brain injury charity that is run by the one & only Emilia Clarke from HBO’s ‘Game Of Thrones’ series boxset. It was originally set up by Emilia and her team after her own personal fight with a brain injury at the young age of only 24. This was one of the many reasons why it hit me personally. With me having Epilepsy from my late teens and writing more in-depth about it here only a few weeks back, I thought it’d be a brilliant idea to write to them about fundraising. After a few weeks of no reply, I finally woke up yesterday to a reply from them with a couple links for setting up a GoFundMe Fundraiser event for them, the thing is, as I mentioned above, I’ve never fundraised before for anybody.

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With this blog, website and all the social media pages that run alongside it all being about cars, I feel as if the fundraising should be car related in some way or other. The only issue is that my mind is drawing a blank when it comes down to using the art of cars to help fundraise. Of course, you can do the classic Car wash and raise money that way but with the weather being sketchy at best around here recently, I can’t see that ending well for anyone.

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Now while I may not have many ideas flowing, I do have one idea that is a possibility but would need a lot of physical & mental training as well as permission from numerous doctors & professionals in the know before it could even go-ahead. I am of course talking about pulling one of our cars over a certain distance. Not just would this need to be overlooked by doctors and medical professors, I’d also need to get the right apparatus to pull the car in question. with both ProjectC70 and our 2007 Seat Altea XL both being about 2 tons in weight, the apparatus would need to support both my weight and the car’s weight as well. On top of that, I’d obviously need a location as well as space to do it in. This is of course just an idea, for now, that might not even come to any fruition but it is an idea nonetheless.

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Is there anything else that could possibly be done through the art of using cars to fundraise other than that?. With my memory not being great at the best of times, it is at this time where I could be doing with some help to put something together to put this wonderful charity on the map a little bit. Brain Injury is and can be a killer for many people and for it to hit young people before they even get their lives on track is simply awful, so with some help and some suggestions, I’d be willing to help out where needed to fundraise.

 

Hope You Enjoy!

By Alex Jebson