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Student's car given full makeover as part of National Geographic's Car SOS




After her brother and father both unexpectedly died within months of one another, 21-year-old Senna Watker was left with the keys to a 1998 Peugeot – which the pair had been in the process of restoring before their deaths.

Unable to afford to finish their pet project, car-makeover show Car SOS surprised the Lincoln University student by fully restoring the vehicle for as part of the latest season of the National Geographic programme.

After 22-year-old Cameron Watker, from Leiston, in Suffolk, took his own life in April 2018 – he left behind his old Peugeot 106 Rally to his dad, 48-year-old Ian Watker, who pledged to finish the car's makeover.

Senna Watker, with her father Ian Watker and brother Cameron Watker. (46662995)
Senna Watker, with her father Ian Watker and brother Cameron Watker. (46662995)

Tragically, Ian took his own life in August that year, and the car was passed down once more to Senna – Ian’s daughter and Cameron’s half sister – who could neither afford to finish the restoration job nor stomach the thought of selling it for scrap.

“I knew it was going to cost a lot and take a lot of time and I knew I couldn’t do it myself,” she said.

“I thought about selling it but I just couldn’t, so I had to keep it on my grandad's drive.”

Miss Watker has been insured on the car for 12 months. Credit: Mecha Morton.
Miss Watker has been insured on the car for 12 months. Credit: Mecha Morton.

In stepped the Car SOS team – after being contacted by Senna’s mother, 40-year-old Lindsey Tinkler – who picked the car out of hundreds of entries to feature on the show’s ninth season.

In January this year, presenter Tim Shaw surprised Miss Watker by turning up to her mother’s home in Attleborough, in Norfolk, with the fully restored and repainted vehicle.

“I was crying, and I was so shocked,” she said. “I never expected to see it done."

“It was emotional to think that was what Cam and my dad were working towards.

“It took a really bad situation, and turned a small aspect of it into a positive.

“I go into the garage, and a piece of them is still there.

“That’s my last thing from both of them, and it links the two of them together.

“I’ve been insured on it for the first year now, and I’m going to keep it forever.”

For anybody struggling with their mental health, they can call Samaritans, 24 hours a day, on 116 123, or click here.

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