A CHANCE discovery in a dusty travel case has bagged an Aussie businessman a valuable prize that will keep him in close touch with his 70-year-old mum Down Under.
Richard Pate, 38, hails from Perth but now lives in Denby Dale.
He works in the UK and Australia as a trainer for banks and financial institutions.
But when he decided to carry out a spring clean he didn’t expect to turn up a modern “antique” that would win him a valuable prize.
Mr Pate read about a mobile phone ‘amnesty’ run by Leeds firm Pioneer Communication Solutions as part of efforts to raise cash for charity.
He said: “I thought no more of it until I was clearing out a packing case which I first brought to the UK in 1998 – and picked up what looked like a rather cumbersome mobile handset I bought many years ago.
“I knew it wasn’t modern in mobile terms and contacted Marshall Frieze at Pioneer.
“He later told me it was an analogue Marconi handset originally made by NEC – but it was absolutely useless in the current digital age.
“I simply wanted to give it to him as part of his charity drive, but was surprised to learn that he was also planning to donate a state-of-the art Blackberry to the person who handed in the oldest handset.”
Richard, who frequently travels to Australia, was later told that he had won the coveted prize.
He said: “I was delighted, because I had been meaning to invest in a Blackberry for some time. Not only is it great for business, but it’s a rather handy link back to my ‘silver surfer’ mum Glenys, who lives in Oz and regularly sends me e-mails. Now I can answer her while I’m out of the office.”
Pioneer’s phone amnesty raised money for Physcap, a West Yorkshire-based charity dedicated to improving the quality of life of severely disabled children.
About 50 old handsets were collected at Pioneer and in boxes located at various businesses in Leeds.
They will be re-conditioned and donated to people in the developing world – with proceeds from the sale of the handsets being donated to Physcap.
Pioneer managing director Mr Frieze said his firm had been supplying the UK business community with telecommunications systems since the mid-1990s.
He said: “I was delighted that someone from as far away as Australia won the prize. Richard will really benefit.”