Announcement of the winner of ‘The Simon Diffey Heritage Motorsport Apprentice Award 2022’

Tuesday 20 September 2022

After a month of discussions, deliberations and interviews with employers, the Award Patron, Simon’s wife, Sarah Jane Adams-Diffey, and the Directors of the Heritage Skills Academy (HSA) are delighted to announce that Miss Emilia Brown, an apprentice and employee from Jim Stokes Workshops Ltd (JSWL) has been selected as the worthy inaugural winner of ‘The Simon Diffey Heritage Motorsport Apprentice Award’.

Emilia met the judge’s four-point criteria with aplomb, demonstrating: engineering skills; passion; enthusiasm; and exceptional commitment as a team player during their apprenticeship.

Emilia, aged 26, joined JSWL and began her apprenticeship with Heritage Skills Academy in September 2018. She completed her apprenticeship as a ‘Heritage Engineering Vehicle Mechanical Technician Engineer’ in April 2022 and is now awaiting final assessment.

Emilia has shown herself to be an outstanding young engineer committed to engineering excellence. Emilia will remain at JSWL, specialising in early Alfa Romeo restoration, preservation and race preparation, following completion of the apprenticeship and continue to develop her skills, knowledge and experience.

Commenting, Sarah Jane Adams-Diffey said:

“Emilia met Simon at the Goodwood Revival in 2021 when she was attending as an apprentice, working promoting the HSA on the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness makers stand at the Make do and Mend village. Simon was my Consort as I was the Coachmakers Immediate Past Master and he was an enthusiastic supporter of the work of the HSA.

“At the Revival he organised the HSA apprentices to push the 250F Maserati that he was due to race, down from the paddock to the collecting area, hoping for a photo opportunity for them to promote the HSA cause. In true Simon style he then regaled them with stories about the 250F. He loved young people and was always inspiring them. When it was time for the apprentices to return to their stand, there was one who did not – Emilia. She asked if she might stay and help Simon and me, both on the pit wall and in the collecting area. Simon was thrilled. It was pouring with rain, they all got thoroughly soaked, but Emilia stayed until the very last, helping me and waiting until Simon was back in parc fermé, safe and sound.

“This is what Simon loved in life. People who stepped up. Who went above and beyond. He would greatly approve of Emilia as the inaugural recipient of this award.”

Commenting, Jim Stokes, Founder of JSWL, said:

“It is incredibly important in this industry that we pay it forward, when employees go above and beyond what is expected, it is to the benefit of the individual and the business. It is our responsibility to encourage, support and mentor these young minds.

“Apprenticeship training programmes are absolutely vital to an industry where skills and knowledge are being lost due to an ageing workforce. These trainees are the future of our business, we need their energy, their enthusiasm, their hunger and their keenness to absorb information.

“Emilia Brown has been fully committed to her apprenticeship, she encompasses all of the above, and more, and this award is extremely well deserved. We are incredibly proud.”

Further information on the Award

The award was established by Sarah Jane Adams-Diffey in memory of her husband Simon Diffey, who sadly died aged 57 in a road accident in May 2022, with the aim of continuing in perpetuity Simon’s ethos of recognising and encouraging the next generation of young heritage apprentice engineers through opportunity.

As the recipient of The Simon Diffey Heritage Motorsport Apprentice Award 2022 Emilia Brown will receive the following:

  • One month working with Classic Team Lotus during the race season in the summer of 2023;
  • Attendance at one international race with Classic Team Lotus;
  • £3,000 to help with subsistence and travel;
  • Motorsport UK will supply a free license race pack which is required to apply for the ARDS test;
  • The opportunity to take the ARDS test to gain a racing licence; and
  • Alpinestars will kit out Emilia with a new race suit and full racing kit, including shoes and gloves.

The Award will be presented to Emilia by his Grace, the Duke of Richmond, at the Goodwood Revival prize giving ceremony on Sunday 18 September 2022 following the conclusion of the Revival meeting.

The Award Patron, Sarah Jane Adams-Diffey, Simon’s wife, is grateful for the support of Heritage Skills Academy, Goodwood, Classic Team Lotus, Motorsport UK, Magneto Magazine, Alpinestars, Mac and Madge Hulbert, HGPCA, Formula Junior and all the helpers who have made contributions to support the award in Simon’s memory.