“It’s given me a new lease of life!” exclaimed mother-in-law Wynne, deftly executing a three-point turn before parking up outside the excellent art deco café on Blackpool’s Stanley Park.
Wynne was talking about her mobility scooter, a neat red model, and as high-spirited as a schoolgirl.
She’s one of those indomitable ladies of a certain age who, with a band of other volunteer ‘Friends’, keeps the great park at its sparkling best.
A fall on holiday, some years back, had necessitated hip surgery and since relegated her to painfully using a stick and three-wheel ‘walker’.
But with her new battery-operated ‘wheels’, that’s all changed.
After a voluntary shift at the visitor centre, we were enjoying lunch (plus a delicious Lumumba – hot chocolate, brandy and whipped cream) at the café run by genial Sean and his efficient team.
I confess to being one of those able-bodied people who have selfishly had occasion to curse the rising numbers of scooters, along with those multi-purpose pushchairs on our pavements. One or two ‘beginners’ have even reversed into me.
To my jaundiced eye, scooter occupants were often young and obese, but fit enough to stand up and saunter into takeaways for unhealthy meals. I reasoned they would benefit from walking more.
Now I had seen another side of the issue. We should never underestimate the blessing of mobility.
Wynne is no longer confined to neighbourhood shops or taxis. Her scooter gives her new freedom to roam and, creditably, she is using this opportunity to help others.
She and a friend first encountered scooters on a coach holiday in Llandudno. They had been made available to those passengers unable to walk far unassisted.
“I was nervous at first,” she admitted, “but there’s nothing to it!”
So, I stand corrected – and will step aside on our busy pavements, with a smile.
* Visit www.royedmonds-blackpool.com.