On Monday 8th August, TGA got yet another glowing reference from an experienced Supersport owner in The Daily Express. The article about Janet Weller reads:
On with the show
Mobility and the freedom to get about and enjoy life are things many of us take for granted these days. When illness or injury strike, preventing you from going about your normal daily life, the impact can be devastating. That's when mobility aids such as scooters, stairlifts and adjustable chairs and beds come into their own. For Janet Weller, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and has very limited mobility, it is a versatile TGA Supersport mobility scooter that has enabled her to continue pursuing her lifelong passion for dogs and in particular dog agility competitions. She has owned and bred Belgian Shepherds for more than 27 years and her star performer is Dipti, a four-year-old Belgian Shepherd Groenendael, who competes regularly at UKA dog agility competitions in and around the area of Tewkesbury where they live.
She said: "Even though my mobility is restricted, nothing gets in the way of enjoying competing with Dipti. We have developed a great understanding around the course and even though I may be on a mobility scooter, we have recorded some decent timesthanks to its stability and overall manoeuvrability." Ms Weller, 63, started using a mobility scooter about 10 years ago and today owns two.
She said: "I had a four-wheeled scooter to start with but changed to the Supersport model after I became involved with the agility competitions and I then needed something that was more versatile and easy to manoeuvre that could cope with different conditions on the ground.
"My four-wheel scooter takes me everywhere else, including around my garden. I drive a van to get to the shows and it takes such a long time to load the dogs in the back, the scooter in the middle section, and then myself into the driving seat. But my mobility has become so poor that I really couldn't manage without my scooters."
The Supersport scooter features many of the characteristics of a motorcycle and can handle most off-road situations, with a top speed of 8mph and a range of 20 miles. It can transport a user weighing up to 25 stone, is capable of negotiating a 21 per cent incline and is among a new generation of more powerful scooters with improved design and functionality.
Of the 90,000 or so people in the UK currently using mobility scooters and wheelchairs, most opt for the smaller, more compact, vehicles that can be used in the home or for travelling short distances. However a growing number are choosing the heavy-duty models capable of taking them farther, across more challenging types of terrain, and giving them back their freedom. Many scooter users and they also have to rely on other types of mobility equipment to help with different aspects of daily life.
Ms Weller swears by them. She said: "I have to use sticks to get around my house and around eight years ago I had a stairlift installed, when getting up and down the stairs by myself became just too diffcult for me. "I have a riser chair which makes it easier to get up and down from my seat and a wonderful adjustable bed that is comfortable but which also sits me up gently and allows me to get in and out of bed." Bathrooms can be another problem area for people with mobility issues who worry about slipping as they struggle to get in and out of the bath or shower. These can be quite easily adapted with the installation of a walk-in bath, which has an opening side panel, or a level-access shower. Additional features such as handrails and non-slip flooring are also available for extra peace of mind.
Meanwhile, encouraged by her scooter-riding owner and trainer, Dipti is improving her times around the competition ring. Ms Weller added: "She is getting faster. I wish I could get just an extra couple of miles per hour out of my scooter but unfortunately 8mph is the UK limit. It's wonderful to be out there taking part."