Father Pip Bevan, a 79-year-old with mobility difficulties, has regained the joy of safe independent travel in London thanks to a folding Maximo.
A retired priest, Father Pip was ordained in Liverpool in 1965. His ministry took him to The Bahamas for seven years before he became a member of a monastic community for a further seven. Following this, he worked for charities supporting homeless people until retirement at 65, whereupon he took up the voluntary position of trustee at the Museum of Homelessness.
Pip and partner Richard now worship at a Grade I listed Anglo-Catholic church, where he occasionally attends the shorter weekday Mass. Over the last few months however, his ability to walk to church and back had become too tiring. Rather than stopping what he enjoys, he came up with a solution – a mobility scooter.
But before he could discover his ideal scooter, lockdown came into force. He continued to research options online and contacted TGA to see if his needs could still be assessed and if he could be provided with a Maximo test drive. After safety procedures were explained, an assessor visit was arranged to take place in a side street next to his home. “Daniel came out and gave me an assessment whilst social distancing,” he said. “I was able to drive around to get a feel of the scooter and to see if it would suit my needs. I’d had no previous experience of a scooter so was a little unsure, however Daniel put my mind at rest. He explained everything so well and was clearly passionate about helping us. He was such a helpful chap, he simply advised and checked whether it was right for me. I took to it like a duck to water, I felt comfortable and safe.”
Now lockdown restrictions have eased slightly, Father Pip is using his scooter every Sunday to benefit from fresh air. “I love my Maximo, it's a godsend,” he said. “Since government guidelines have changed slightly, I’ve ventured outside very carefully for a while around Regent’s Park. It's only a five-minute drive from my flat on the scooter. The sense of freedom is fantastic. We have a lovely view from our balcony, but this doesn’t compare with the joy of going to the park.”
Living in a flat in the West End of London means access and space can be limited. However, the folding Maximo has been designed for these challenges. “As we live on the seventh floor, the major plus for us was that the battery comes off for charging upstairs, meaning we could leave the scooter downstairs in our storeroom,” he says. “The Maximo also folds, making storage easy and we can fit it into our car. I love the way it has been beautifully put together as I understand engineering. Even if you look at the joints and moving parts, you can see they don’t need to be oiled or greased. Just wonderful design, brilliant.”
For Father Pip, though, it's the prospect of pain-free mobility to church when it reopens which is most satisfying. “Before owning my Maximo I could just about get to the church and back, whereas now I can drive,” he concludes. “Access can be tricky in London sometimes however my Maximo copes admirably going up and down drop kerbs or tackling slopes. It’s perfect, not too big and I can see it will be ideal for local shopping and museum trips too. I can stay on the pavement and I can get through quite remarkably narrow gaps which I thought impossible. It will really open up central London for me, I’m really delighted with it.”