Local man brings piece of India to Preston by driving tuk tuk to cheer residents up during lockdown
A Preston man has started using his three-wheeled tuk tuk for his essential shopping trips to cheer up local residents during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Stuart Richards, 55, a Sales and Marketing Director from Penwortham, is the proud owner of a two-year-old auto rickshaw, also known as a tuk tuk.
Colourful, fast, and with a smidge of thrill-seeking, he instantly fell in love with the motorized three-wheeler's after visiting India through work.
After multiple failed attempts trying to buy a brand new tuk tuk from Mumbai, Stuart finally got his very own after discovering a company that imports them directly to the UK.
Stuart said: "It's insured as a trike so it's got a license and a number plate so you just insure it and tax it like any other vehicle.
"It's got slightly weird hand gears and clutch, but it's a bit like a scooter so it's easy enough to drive as long as you don't go around corners too quickly."
Stuart's auto rickshaw is usually kept safe in a garage, but when lockdown was announced on March 23, he decided to add a bit of fun to his weekly essential shopping trip.
"It lives in a garage so it doesn't get used an awful lot. It's only done about 1,000 miles since I've had it," Stuart added.
"I bought it just for fun, but when we went into lockdown I thought I may as well use a car that's fun for me as I'm only going to be using it once a week.
"You get a lot of people wanting to take photos with it or people who wave as you drive past so it just brightens up people's day."
Not only does the little motorbike/rickshaw hybrid keep Stuart entertained during lockdown, but it also lets him provide shopping for his elderly parents.
Stuart said: "My father is 90 and my mother is 88 so I do their shopping, and our children's too if they need anything as they no longer live at home.
"It's been used for proms and a wedding in the past, but when I retire in the future, I might start using it for a bit more charity work.
"It makes me feel better when I drive it and it makes me happy seeing it cheer other people up too."