Reverend David Hutchison, 52 and Chaplain at the University of Aberdeen, has been funded with a new TGA Breeze Midi 4 mobility scooter so he can continue supporting over 14,000 students and 2,000 staff despite living with a disability.
The University of Aberdeen dates back to 1495 and is situated on a truly spectacular campus. David, whose office is on the historic cobbled High Street, is responsible for pastoral care, Chapel duties and formal University events, alongside a team of multi-faith representatives who offer a range of support. As a minister, David had to take early retirement from his parish ministry in the Church of Scotland due to his condition, however he has subsequently worked at the University for the last 12 years. During this time, he has seen a diversification in faith, beliefs and cultures on campus. This has in turn led to him taking on a more varied role – ranging from religious duties, therapy sessions and trauma support through to simply sharing a cup of tea with students, academics and alumni.
David lives with a rare condition called Primary Lateral Sclerosis, which is a type of Motor Neurone Disease,that causes muscle nerve cells to slowly break down, causing weakness and mobility deterioration. Before the University managed to raise funds for a scooter, David was having to move slowly around the campus with the help of a stick or crutch. This was becoming almost impossible and unsafe due to the many uneven surfaces and kerbs on the ancient site. David is prone to falls and with so many trip hazards, it was impacting on his work. However, thanks to fundraising at the University, David has just been given an eye-catching new TGA mobility scooter so he can tackle the cobbles much faster and without the worry.
David explains: “I’m used to taking tumbles with my condition, however my new TGA scooter has changed all that. I don’t love my condition however I love my scooter. I am like any other disabled person who has to deal with difficulties every day, I am not brave or inspirational. My condition is debilitating and progressive however I now know I will not come a-cropper on the ancient cobbles anymore, the scooter has ruled that out. It’s really robust and not scared of the bone-shaking cobbles and kerbs which are smoothed out by its suspension.”
David continues: “I can access the campus so much more quickly and help more people with my new Breeze Midi. My role is so rewarding as we seek to support and encourage people of all faiths and none. Pastoral care continues to be more and more vital here as the community adjusts to economic pressures partly due to the vagaries of the oil industry. The most recent downturn is hitting the local area hard, so I hand-hold those who need support during difficult times. My TGA scooter will enable me to continue now and into the foreseeable future.”