Major award win for Mini man Josh

Young Restorer of the Year 2018, Josh Smith of Sleaford, pictured with his Mini that he is restoring. EMN-191102-095627001
Young Restorer of the Year 2018, Josh Smith of Sleaford, pictured with his Mini that he is restoring. EMN-191102-095627001

A Sleaford 16-year-old who has made restoring an old Mini a labour of love has been named the UK’s Young Preservationist of the Year 2018.

Josh Smith will attend the historic Brooklands motoring museum on June 17 to receive his award from Prince Michael of Kent, a patron of The Transport Trust, which runs the awards.

He said: “I was up against people restoring steam trains, traction engines and a classic lorry, so I cannot believe I won with a Mini.”

The St George’s Academy teenager has been working on his project since he was 14 having taught himself to weld, grind and install electrical wiring in his spare time.

He will receive a certificate of recognition and £500 towards his restoration work, although he intends to donate some of the cash to Cancer Research UK.

Josh is partly doing it in honour of a family friend, Robin James, who died seven years ago, and has developed a sizeable following on his YouTube channel giving updates on his progress.

He was visited by a judge in January when he demonstrated his welding and grinding skills and heard he had won the overall prize for restorers aged 13-20 a week ago.

Josh said: “I am quite proud to win after the work I have put in. My mum and dad are too and our family friend, if he was still alive, would have been.”

He says his project is almost complete: “I rebuilt the engine from scratch and bought brand new components, but the oil pump had a fault on it. It should be ready for MOT in March or April.”

He will not be able to learn to drive until November and said: “This will be my first car and it is never going to be for sale - it will stay with me for life after winning my award.”

Josh intends to start an apprenticeship as an electrician with Butlers while restoring more cars as a side interest.