Paul Malahoo (also known as ‘Felix’), who works at Vauxhall Motors Luton plant, had been chosen last autumn to bear the torch. “Carrying this meaningful and ancient symbol through my home county was a wonderful experience,” said Felix. “I am so glad to have been offered this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.“
Vauxhall had been working with students from Bedfordshire university’s art department on a design for its carnival float, connecting Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter with Luton’s hat-factory heritage. The final float consisted of a Vauxhall Vivaro promoting a ‘hats off to Vauxhall in Luton’ while a heritage Bedford Truck was showcasing the Bedfordshire university-designed Mad Hatter’s tea party and walking ‘Vauxhall families’ cards came along for the ride.
Mengistu Etim and Sophie Carpenter, Bedfordshire university art students who contributed to the design, said: “We had loads of fun working to Vauxhall’s brief, which also put our design skills and knowledge to the test. It was particularly rewarding to see our final work cheered as it was driving and walking through the streets.”
Paul Crane from Bedfordshire police, who was making the rounds all weekend in an electric Vauxhall Ampera, said: “Decked with police decals and fitted with sirens, the usual light canopy and our indispensable communication tools, the Ampera was of great support to Luton’s festivities, and it was also keeping our fuel bill down in the process.”
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