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27 June 2011
Car nut Keith Miller from Burgess Hill, West Sussex is the AA's 2011 roadside Patrol of the Year.
In his new role Keith will spend the next 12 months in the spotlight as the 'public face' of the AA – representing the UK's biggest motoring organisation within the motor industry and before the media.
Local managers nominate roadside patrols for the award every year and shortlisted finalists are put through an intensive day of technical and driving tests, panel interview and mock live TV interviews at the AA's training centre in Leicestershire.
Keith Miller, AA patrol of the year
Keith was working as a garage manager when he opted for life on the road as an AA patrol around five years ago.
He loves classic Minis and is lucky enough to own his dream car, an E.R.A. Mini Turbo, although a Lamborghini Countach quite takes his fancy too. He holds a private pilot's licence, owning a share in an aircraft, and to relax, enjoys golf and scuba diving.
Some of his most memorable breakdowns involve classic Jaguars: an XK140 with 150 miles since new that had just undergone a £100,000 restoration; and an ingenious repair on a 1972 XJ using an ignition rotor arm for a classic Mini to the delight and amazement of the member.
Keith says: "I see the job of AA patrol as one of the best and most challenging in the motor trade, so winning Patrol of the Year is about the highest accolade a technician in the industry can achieve. So I am extremely pleased and humbled and look forward to the year ahead as an ambassador for the company."
Steve Dewey, AA Road Operations Director, says: "Our patrols like to say they fix the member first, then the car, so there's a lot more to being an AA patrol than just the technical aspects. This means that to beat around 3,000 others is some achievement, so it's great to be able to recognise Keith's professionalism, performance and customer care at the roadside."
Mark Vowles, recovery patrol of the year
Motor racing enthusiast Mark Vowles from Clevedon is the 2011 Recovery Patrol of the Year, having won through a similar nomination and selection process to the Patrol of the Year.
The 43-year-old, who is married with three children, has only been with the AA for two years and previously worked at Parceline and Tuffnells as a franchised driver.
Like Keith, Mark is also something of a petrolhead – he's won dozens of trophies at go-karting and closely follows Formula 1. His dream car is an original Mk1 Ford Escort RS2000 and to relax he enjoys a spot of fishing.
Mark says: "I was over the moon, especially as I've only been with the company for two years, and am very proud to carry the flag for the AA recovery patrols. I love helping members who find themselves in an unfortunate situation and to see the smile on their faces when we get them moving again."