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Plant hire firm Fork Rent take delivery of Union Jack JCB backhoe loader

Ipswich-based plant hire firm Fork Rent has taken delivery of its unique Union Jack JCB digger after a successful £70,250 auction bid – and pledged to keep the machine working hard for charity.

The company’s winning bid for the machine gave a big boost to Help for Heroes (H4H) following an online auction in aid of the well-known charity before Christmas.

As he was handed the keys to his colourful machine at a special ceremony at JCB’s World Headquarters in Staffordshire, Fork Rent’s Managing Director Guy Nicholls declared: "This is the beginning of a fundraising journey, not the end.

"Our wounded servicemen and women are on a long road to recovery, so Fork Rent will make sure this distinctive Union Jack JCB digger carries on doing its bit to raise even more money for Help for Heroes. This means that our wounded service personnel, and their families, can continue to benefit from the wonderful rehabilitation support that Help for Heroes provides."

JCB decided to stage the online auction over a two-week period in the run up to Christmas as part of a fundraising initiative for H4H and the work it does to support servicemen and women wounded in conflicts around the world. The Union Jack JCB 3CX Eco backhoe loader was the centrepiece of a festive Christmas-themed 200ft barge moored on The Thames opposite London’s South Bank to draw attention to the company’s fundraising efforts.

Bryn Parry, CEO & co-founder, Help for Heroes, said at the handover ceremony: "I’d like to say a huge thank you to JCB for this great auction opportunity that was such a success and I’m delighted that Fork Rent were so supportive of it and secured the winning bid. This has raised a lot of money for Help for Heroes and what’s even better is that Guy has come up with some great ideas to use the machine to continue doing his bit for our wounded Heroes."

Yvette Henshall-Bell, JCB’s UK and Ireland Sales Director, said: "It has been a fantastic joint effort by JCB and Fork Rent to help our wounded heroes. I’ve met some of the guys that get vital support from Help for Heroes and I’m in absolutely no doubt that the money raised by the auction will be put to very good use."

Some of the money generated by the online auction has already been used to fund some gifts that were placed in festive Christmas stockings provided to some of the most seriously wounded servicemen and women at the charity’s Headley Court rehabilitation centre in Surrey.

After the handover ceremony, Guy Nicholls, Bryn Parry and Yvette Henshall-Bell discussed how the Union Jack backhoe loader might be used to raise more funds for H4H. This included the possibility of using the machine as a support vehicle on a H4H charity cycle later this year from Plymouth to Edinburgh with a modified loader bucket on the front for taking cash donations from the public. JCB has also agreed to make some modifications to the machine if necessary to help Fork Rent leverage the future fundraising potential of the machine in support of H4H.

The Union Jack JCB 3CX Eco backhoe loader is part of a new range of ‘Eco’ machines from JCB. It is 16% more-fuel efficient than its predecessor and saves customers over £4,337 in fuel costs over a three-year operating cycle.

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