The memory of Hazel Chapman, who with her husband Colin Chapman established Lotus in 1948, has been celebrated with the dedication of ‘Hazel Chapman Way’, a new road which runs through the heart of Lotus’ sports cars HQ in Hethel, Norfolk.
- Running through the centre of Lotus’ Norfolk sports car HQ, new road officially named in honour of Lotus co-founder
- Chapman family planted a Maidenhair tree in celebration of Hazel, who passed away in December 2021
- Children of nearby Wreningham VC Primary School took part and planted more trees
The event was led by Matt Windle, Group Vice-President and Managing Director of Lotus Cars, and Hazel and Colin’s grandchildren. It included the ceremonial unveiling of a road sign and the planting of a Maidenhair Tree (Gingko biloba), chosen as a particular favourite of Hazel’s.
It was followed by the planting of 10 trees in an area of land adjacent to the famous Hethel test track which, in time, will become a small woodland. The work was carried out by children from the nearby Wreningham VC Primary School. Earlier they had participated in a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) challenge run by the Lotus Learning Academy, where they designed, built and ran their own model cars.
STEAM activities to inspire the next generation, and a commitment to improving the local area through the planting of trees, are initiatives aligned to Driving Change, the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Charter which Lotus published last year.
Hazel Chapman Way runs alongside the all-new Lotus Retail Centre and staff restaurant, recently completed as part of the ongoing transformation of the Hethel site. The road is flanked by a number of trees including maples, poplars, willows and cherries, planted to follow the site’s horticultural and landscaping plan conceived nearly 60 years ago by Hazel Chapman herself.
On display for the distinguished guests to view was the current range of new Lotus performance cars – the Emira, the last Lotus petrol-powered sports car and the best of breed; the Evija, the world’s first all-electric British hypercar; and the Eletre, the world’s first all-electric hyper-SUV.
By contrast, with them was the original Lotus Mk 3 from 1951 – the second oldest Lotus car in existence, which was built by Colin and Hazel Chapman and raced competitively by them in the early 1950s.
Matt Windle commented: “Lotus is indebted to Hazel Chapman and we are delighted to help celebrate her life and legacy in this small way. The Hethel site is such a wonderful place to work, surrounded by fields in the heart of south Norfolk. Today we’ve added to that natural landscape with the planting of new trees that will further enhance our environment.”
Clive Chapman, Director of Classic Team Lotus and son of Colin and Hazel Chapman, added: “We are very grateful to Lotus for this dedication of Hazel Chapman Way, at the heart of the Hethel site, which is so appropriate. Our family is delighted to see how the Lotus legacy that Colin and Hazel Chapman started 75 years ago is also being nurtured and cared for by its shareholders. On behalf of all my family, we thank Lotus very much for this lovely honour being bestowed on Hazel today.”
The dedication of Hazel Chapman Way coincided with the birthdays of Colin Chapman (19 May) and of Hazel Chapman (21 May).