John Hardwick, 55 from Brighton, is a vibrant character affected by Thalidomide who now enjoys life as a photographer, artist and charity volunteer thanks to a cult-classic TGA Supersport mobility scooter.
Before taking early retirement due to phocomelia, John was a postal room supervisor for a leading bank in London. He enjoyed his job however John now focuses on expressing his artistic talents through photography and painting, all inspired by the East Sussex area. With the assistance of a TGA mobility scooter John is able to seek out new content for his artwork and regularly travels the full length of Brighton seafront meeting and talking to people. As John finds walking a challenge his TGA Supersport is an absolute life-line for him, without it he would be ‘stuck at home getting old and fat!’ John’s scooter also allows him to volunteer for a local charity that supports people affected by Stroke and Aphasia. In particular, the spacious basket on his Supersport is ideal for carrying items that are sold on fundraising stalls.
The 3-wheel TGA Supersport is a cult-classic mobility scooter that resembles a ‘Harley Davidson’ motorbike with a striking black and chrome finish. It is popular with people who prefer a scooter that does not resemble a more traditional mobility vehicle and is renowned for outstanding manoeuvrability and off-road capabilities. John’s robust and eye-catching Supersport is a regular talking point in Brighton as he attends many festivals including Gay Pride and Disability Pride. John is keen on motorbikes however handling a heavy motor trike would not be possible; his Supersport is the next best thing as he explains: “When I meet up with bikers on the seafront all the riders are amazed to discover my Supersport is actually a scooter. It is perfect for me as parking is a nightmare in Brighton. It’s light to steer and avoiding hazards on the pavement such as big bins and tree stumps is no problem. I cruise up and down the seafront and driving over soft wet grass at festivals is a doddle.”
John continues: “My Supersport lets me get out and find inspiration. I’ve had addiction problems in the past and my scooter keeps me away from returning to my old ways. It keeps my mind off drinking and ensures I don’t get lonely or bored. I also have another TGA scooter, a folding Minimo, which I use when travelling on the train or bus – I will be using this when I go to Liverpool soon, it’s so easy to fit in a taxi. Back in Brighton my Supersport is ideal for comfort and stability and even though my hands and arms are affected by my condition, I find the grip controls easy to operate.”
From a safety point of view John is an advocate of sensible driving and believes all scooter owners should adhere to the Highway Code. John adds: “Even though my Supersport can do 8mph I always stick to 4mph on the pavement. Safe driving is so important – you must always be aware of what’s around you, especially people walking and looking at their phones! My Supersport is really responsive and will stop or turn quickly. I have high vis smiley face stickers on my scooter and I am keen to get other scooter users together so we can share safe driving advice. I did speak to the BBC One Show a while ago about it and I am trying to arrange a convoy down Brighton seafront to raise awareness about road safety. I am so glad I discovered the TGA Supersport on Facebook it has changed my life.”