Northern Ireland news

Popemobile handed over to Foyle Search and Rescue charity

The car used by Pope Francis during his visit to the World Meeting of Families last year has been officially handed over to the Foyle Search and Rescue charity in Derry. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus McKinney

A car used by Pope Francis during his historic visit to Ireland last summer has been formally handed over to Derry’s Foyle Search and Rescue charity.

The Skoda Rapid estate was one of two used by the Pope during his visit to Dublin and Knock last August. One of the cars was donated to Dublin social care agency, Crosscare while the second was given to Foyle Search and Rescue on the recommendation of Catholic Primate, Archbishop Eamon Martin.

Fr Tim Bartlett, who coordinated the Papal visit, travelled to Derry yesterday for the official handover of the car.

The car’s original diplomatic number plate SCV 1 – Stato della Citta del Vaticano (Vatican City) – was replaced by XUI 2066, along with the yellow and white papal colours, before the official handover.

Spokesman Pat Carlin said the charity was astounded when it learned it had been nominated to receive the papal car.

“We are absolutely delighted. We intend using the car for education and operational purposes. Archbishop Eamon Martin said he thought of us because of the work we’ve been doing over the last 26 years,” he said.

“There’ll be many benefits for us, not least financial. It takes £135,000 each year to run Foyle Search and Rescue and we’re currently looking at our transport so, if you think about, the car means £25,000 plus that we don’t need to think about,” Mr Carlin said.

The papal colours of Pope Francis were attached to the car used during last summer's visit when it was handed over to the Foyle Search and Rescue charity in Derry on Tuesday. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

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