On Thursday 6th October, we celebrated Darren Barber’s 35 years with Elite Garages!

The team celebrating with Darren at Elite Garages Head Office

Darren joined Elite Garages through the Youth Training Scheme (YTS) in October 1987 and was trained as a vehicle technician, working alongside colleagues such as Mick Cartwright (who retired in 2020 after many years with Elite Garages), Bob Sawkins and Joe Simmonds. Under the tutelage of Joe Simmonds, Darren was trained as an MOT tester and soon became the principal MOT tester at our Mannings Heath site.

Darren fondly remembers the time when Elite Garages only had sites in Mannings Heath, Roffey Central, Pulborough and Brighton. Darren said, “it’s amazing how much Elite has expanded over time with Caterham and Haywards Heath to follow, then later many more sites.”

When Darren joined, there was no computer system and tyres were still booked and ordered via paper slips!

Darren developed as the company grew and helped as new sites joined the Elite Garages family. He became responsible for MOT testing across the entire Elite Garages group in 2008 when we purchased 10 new properties. Darren now oversees 16 locations as the Group MOT Manager.

Darren Barber at Elite Garages Mannings Heath
Darren at our Mannings Heath site when it was under construction – 2006


Richard Whittemore worked alongside Darren when he first joined in 1987. Richard said, “Darren has grown with Elite Garages over the years. I remember clearly when he first joined the team as part of the youth training scheme. I wondered as a young school leaver if he would cope with a group of much older, experienced motor mechanics. Well, he certainly survived and has grown with the company. In the early years, he worked closely with Joe Simmonds and developed his interest in MOT testing, maintaining and growing our relationship with the MOT industry. We now operate 15 MOT stations and regularly do in excess of 100 MOTs per day. A big thank you to Darren for all the support he has given me and the Elite team.

Dave Morrison, who recently celebrated 25 years with Elite Garages himself, also celebrated Darren’s 35 years with the company. Dave said, “Can’t believe it’s 35 years Darren! Over the years you have received recognition and appreciation for your loyalty and MOT knowledge which has helped other new and experienced MOT testers on their journey with Elite Garages. It’s been a pleasure to be part of that journey working with you through sometimes challenging times and good times. You can look back and smile and feel that it was an achievement in itself. Congratulations Darren!