Mary, 94, leads the way in pioneering buggy scheme

Mobility scooter rider Pamela Parrott
Mobility scooter rider Pamela Parrott

A 94-year-old woman has become one of the first people in Horsham to successfully undergo training in driving a mobility scooter.

Until attending a new safety and skills session, Mary Radford had never driven a disabled buggy before. The 94-year-old had been seriously thinking of buying one but wanted to be sure she would be safe on it and avoid accidents.

She was loaned a scooter free of charge by Clearwell Mobility and given a demonstration of the controls before driving herself to a quiet area where she was able to practise turning, reversing and other manoeuvres alongside a friendly ‘scooter tutor.’

Within minutes, she crossed a road safely, drove along pavements and paths, negotiated obstacles - while allowing pedestrians the right of way at all times.

She also made sure that the speed of the scooter was below the legal limit of four miles per hour.

Mary said she was thrilled to have progressed so much in just a couple of hours and was pleased to receive a certificate at the end.

The mobility scooter safety sessions have been arranged jointly by Horsham District Older People’s Forum and Horsham Town Community Partnership and aim to help new and experienced scooter drivers remember that they share the pavement with pedestrians.

Another participant, experienced scooter driver Pamela Parrott, said: “This course was really worthwhile and has given me more confidence to use my scooter safely in the future. Anyone thinking about buying a scooter or is already a scooter user should enrol and then perhaps scooter riders will start to get a better name.”

People in wheelchairs elicit understanding from passers-by while mobility scooters can trigger irritation due to past incidents where, perhaps, the drivers did not show enough care. Yet, the scooter is a lifeline for many thousands of people and the only way its owner can get to the shops and see friends.

Scooter tutor David Searle said that it was good to hear the more experienced drivers passing on their knowledge and experiences to others on the course. They also suggested improvements and changes.

If you are considering buying a mobility scooter or already own one, and would like to know more about being safer, call 01403 269384 and book a training session place. Sessions take place in Horsham Park on Wednesday afternoons.

The course is free and will be running for the next six months. Details are also shown on the website www.horshamscootersafety.org.uk