Formula 1 star Jenson's back in town to spring a surprise

Wiltshire Times: Jenson Button pictured with Clive and Pauline Burke Jenson Button pictured with Clive and Pauline Burke

Formula 1 star Jenson Button delivered an early Christmas treat when he paid a surprise visit to the homes of Trowbridge residents on Friday.

The 2009 World Champion knocked on doors in Wiltshire’s county town giving householders festive hampers brimming with cakes, chocolates and bottles of wine before he switched on the Christmas lights in Frome, his home town and gave a display in his McLaren.

Those lucky enough to get a visit were customers of Santander, sponsor of the racer’s F1 team, who were selected at random.

Pauline and Clive Burke, both 71, of Albert Road, found Jenson knocking at their door.

F1 fan Mrs Burke said: “It was absolutely amazing. Santander had rang to see if we were going to be in but we didn’t know what was happening and when we saw it was Jenson Button knocking on our door we were gobsmacked. He was a really nice bloke and even though he lives in Monaco he hasn’t lost his Frome roots.

“He was here for about five minutes, we congratulated him on his Brazilian Grand Prix performance (where he finished fourth) and said we hoped he had a better car next year.”

After meeting their idol, the Burkes went into Frome to see him illuminate the streets before he raced along them in his F1 car.

Another to receive a hamper from Jenson at their home was Wiltshire Police media officer Sam Edwards, 29, who lives in Hackett Place, Paxcroft Mead.

He said: “It was a pretty surreal experience, I was pretty taken aback to see him there in his racing finery and all the cameras at my door. We had a chat and said he was really excited about being able to drive his F1 car through Frome.”

Earlier in the day, Jenson, who learned to drive around the streets of Trowbridge and Frome, had visited children at Royal United Hospital, Bath, stopped off at the Old Manor Hotel, in Bradford on Avon, and went to see staff at Trowbridge’s Santander, in Fore Street.

He said: “Today has been a fantastic opportunity for me to meet a lot of very important people, from the children at Bath hospital to small business owners to people in Trowbridge.

“And, I got to switch on the Christmas lights in my very own town. I remember as a kid coming in to see the lights and the Christmas tree and I would never have thought that I’d be doing this today.”

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