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27th May, 2022

Disabled support worker ‘feels alive again’ thanks to dog walking mobility scooter

The joy of owning dogs has remained for Lorraine, 61 from Livingston, thanks to a disability beating off-road TGA Breeze mobility scooter nicknamed ‘Daisy’.

Living near Edinburgh, Lorraine is a former support worker for those with additional needs, who owns two characterful Goldendoodles Katie and Sophie. Walking her dogs is a massive part of her life so when she started to have mobility difficulties following cancer treatment side effects, Lorraine worried how Katie and Sophie would get the exercise they needed. The answer appeared to be a mobility scooter however Lorraine needed one that could cope with going off road in the countryside, especially in the winter. The Murieston Trail right next to her home was a favourite walk that was now not possible especially as severe fatigue was a problem. She was having to conserve energy and couldn’t risk not being able to get home. The search for a scooter with high ground clearance and good suspension led to the TGA Breeze.

Lorraine spent months shielding at home. She lost her freedom which was hard to cope with as she explains: “In 2020 my back garden becomes my world. Not anymore, I have my freedom back and I don’t feel disabled. Why should I? Cancer was a setback, but I’d say not being able to go out is a bigger set back. A scooter gives you your life back. With Daisy I can go anywhere, she often comes back covered in mud when we’ve been out. The Scottish term is bogging. It is so important to be able to escape from whatever is in your head. Going out and seeing things around you takes your mind off worrying. Being outside, hearing the birds singing, breathing fresh air, it all takes you to a positive place. My scooter makes me feel alive again.”

“Before I had to choose whether I went for short walks with my husband around the shops or to take the dogs out. I didn’t have the energy to do both. Now I can save energy on my scooter and still do other things. I have more energy reserves. I can go out in the car knowing the dogs have had a good walk. Katie and Sophie got used to walking next to me on my Breeze really quickly, they weren’t bothered at all as it is quiet.”

“What does it feel like to drive a Breeze? Well, it’s stress-free independence, accessibility and not getting tired. I can get home without worrying I won’t make it. I couldn’t do this without my scooter. If you also look at it from a safety point of view, I can get back home quickly if needed.”

The TGA Breeze is an 8mph scooter that has been involved with world record attempts and appeared on BBC Top Gear. It is popular with ramblers who need power and stability to tackle mud, puddles and uneven ground. This performance gives Lorraine confidence around the shops or in the countryside and tends to surprise most people as she adds: “I see people’s reaction when I’m coming along a woodland trail and they think they’ll need to get out of the way but no, no, no, I can drive around them on the grass no bother. Time and again they have been so surprised thinking that I’m going to get stuck, no chance with my Breeze. I love seeing their faces when I do a sharp turn into the undergrowth. They have no idea what this baby can do!”

“I think the design of the Breeze is spot on, it ticks so many boxes that other scooters do not. I would add Harry from TGA who supplied the scooter was so good, no hard sell at all. He just left me to make my own decisions, there was never any chasing on the phone. So many companies harangue you these days and won’t leave you alone. This always makes me think they know their product is not good. It’s clear TGA have confidence in their products. When buying a scooter, it can be an emotional time for people. Often, they are vulnerable and the last thing they want is a salesman on their back with a high-pressure pitch. I had no phone calls chasing me, TGA have been brilliant.”

The future for Lorraine is looking bright as she is keen to ‘extend her horizons’. She is hoping to get a trailer for her Breeze so she can tow it to their caravan on the coast at Dunbar. Lorraine is also pro-actively getting barriers and gates adjusted by her local council so fellow scooter owners can access the many picturesque walks around Livingston. This reflects many other initiatives across the UK including Miles with Stiles and Access the Dales – both supported by TGA.

Lorraine concludes: “Getting fresh air is so important. You can do it on a car boot scooter and that’s ok, but with dogs and wanting to go off road you need something more substantial. People should never look at having a scooter as a negative, there is no loss of dignity, not at all. Exactly the opposite. It’s all about finding new capabilities and opportunities.”

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