David Fenwick, 51 from Cornwall, is a remarkable naturalist that despite several disabilities, has been able to continue building a world-renowned photographic wildlife catalogue through ownership of a rugged TGA mobility scooter.
David has been involved with horticulture most of his life. He was a horticultural therapist for the NHS before becoming a carer, before becoming disabled himself. In 2007 he became ill following a tick bite whilst photographing wildlife in a local wood. He now suffers from moderate to severe CFS/ME, polyarthralgia, myalgia, lower spine problems and cervical stenosis. David has walking difficulties, and these greatly restricted his ability to continue his studies in coastal and rural areas of Cornwall, that's until he discovered the TGA Breeze 4 mobility scooter. The Breeze 4 is an 8mph scooter that is the flagship product from TGA – it provides world-leading stability, reliability and comfort and hence is the preferred choice of many disabled adults and elderly people living in rural or remote Britain.
The TGA Breeze scooter is renowned for its off-road capabilities and rose to nationwide fame when it appeared on BBC TV’s Top Gear programme. In this episode it won an extreme mobility scooter challenge by successfully scaling a rocky and muddy welsh mountainside. The same performance and traction as demonstrated on the BBC has allowed David to continue photographing, collecting and analyzing a huge variety of marine, fauna and flora species. His vast and highly comprehensive online catalogues represent over 10 years of work and are regularly utilised by schools, universities and academic establishments worldwide. David has been responsible for the discovery of a number of new species around Cornwall and continues to record wildlife when working independently on his scooter, with his wife, who purchased a TGA Breeze S4, just to keep up with him and they are now able to share every experience.
David explains: “Field walking needed for flora, fauna and fungi was something I had given up. The TGA Breeze 4 was my first scooter and I found it ideal for covering large distances which is something that is needed to find a wider range of species in different habitats. For marine life study, something I now concentrate on and all collated at www.aphotomarine.com, my robust TGA scooter can get me closer to the shore. I have adapted it with a galvanized shelf so that necessary equipment can be transported. The TGA Breeze 4, with its higher weight carrying capacity, is excellent because specimens need to be transported in buckets of seawater, which is obviously very heavy. Specimens and samples of seaweed, sediment or rock often need to be taken home for identification under a microscope.”
David continues: “I find doing all this gives me fresh air and exercise, the activity, allows me to focus and concentrate which helps me relieve pain, and importantly it gives me purpose to remain active. It also keeps my mind occupied which is no bad thing, although cutting through the brain fog can be difficult at times. In 2015 I was awarded the NBN David Robertson Award for marine and coastal wildlife recording, a national award, which as a disabled person I thought was quite an achievement. It just goes to show what dogged determination can achieve, and of course I’d not be able to get as close to the shore if it wasn't for my TGA Breeze.
David adds: “As well as looking for wildlife I also get involved with environmental issues, so in reporting coastal pollution. Earlier this year there was a container spill of Vanish, and tens of thousands of bottles of Vanish washed up around the coast, the sea turned pink with them in certain areas. Without my TGA Breeze I would not have been able to carry and dispose of so many containers to ensure they were taken out of the marine environment and food chain forever.”
David concludes: “If wildlife recording isn't your cup of tea, and you just want to see wildlife, my best advice is to say: ‘the slower you go the more you'll see and become aware of.’ On a TGA scooter you can do this and see more of what our amazing natural world has to offer – in comfort from a very sturdy, stable platform.”