Award winning Bury gardener beats stroke with electric mobility scooter
Award-winning gardener David Fordham, 78 from Bury St. Edmunds, is reaping more rewards from life since replacing his car with an environmentally friendly TGA mobility scooter.
David gardens a lot. And then some. You’ll always find him planting and pruning to make his outdoor spaces the best they can be. In fact, his passion has earnt him best front garden by the Bury in Bloom Society. David’s back garden is just as pretty – full of wildlife and a charming sun shelter that’s all lit up at night. Yet David finds walking and bending difficult these days after a stroke. His balance is also not what it used to be. So how does he keep his gardens so good looking with those green fingers of his? A mobility scooter has proven to be the solution for conserving energy, carrying heavy tools and being the green alternative to a car.
Son of the borough librarian and museum curator, David was a brick making manager by trade. Retirement at 55 meant more time in the garden during summertime and making model railways in the winter. All good for the soul but moving around has become the stumbling block, especially when he had to give up his driving licence. On the way to 80 and with his wife having ME, the loss of his car was a big blow day-to-day. Plus hobbies and holidays were also in jeopardy. That was until he called us at TGA.
He’d dealt with the TGA Showroom in Sudbury for years as they’d got him a wheelchair and Powerpack so he could push his wife. He trusted them and as a tall chap, they suggested a bigger scooter to get him out in the countryside and around the garden. And it needed plenty of space onboard for loading up the weekly shop. His Vita E hasn’t disappointed: “The scooter has opened up my life. I go out every day exploring new paths and looking at people’s garden. One my favourite places is Moreton Hall which I can get to on footpaths. People are amazed how far I am going these days and I feel that I am saving the planet by using an electric scooter. We did have a blue badge but don’t feel like we are missing out on anything and going out is cheaper.”
Back at home it’s even better. David’s garden is in full bloom, helped by his scooter to carry things around. “As I can’t kneel anymore, I have planted tall things like lupins, delphiniums and hollyhocks which come up every year. I can weed them without having to bend over. I walk at home as best I can. I still want to use my legs, I just don’t want to wear them out. That’s why I have a scooter. Suffolk County Council have looked after me as they have fitted a ramp up to my house so I can drive my scooter indoors and store it in a bedroom. I’ve also got TV screens in this room with a live feed of my garden so I can watch the wildlife when working on my train layout.”
Being able to carry on with beloved hobbies can be heaven, but still having the ability to do practical things is just as rewarding. In David’s case, it’s going shopping and on long walks. “Getting to the supermarket on my scooter is vital for me as I have celiac disease and have to be careful what I eat. I got sick of internet shopping during the pandemic especially when things were out of stock – it was impossible to explain online the substitution products I could not accept! Now I put my shopping in big bags so I can stack them up on the scooter’s floor well as my wife doesn’t come with me. I couldn’t carry the bags on the bus as I use a stick and need my other hand to grab onto things.”
The future’s looking rosy for David and Angela. Especially as Angela’s hoping to get on a scooter too. It’s the social side that appeals to Angela as David wraps up: “My wife and I have met more people since we’ve stopped driving. Before, as I was always in the garden, she’d go out in the car on her own and wouldn’t get to talk to anyone. Since then we’ve been on more walks together and hope to do more when Angela’s back scooting. However much we love sitting in our garden, sunny days away picnicking with celiac friendly sandwiches are back for good.”