‘Turbo Timmo’ completes Trans Pennine Trail for charity on TGA mobility scooter
Frank Timmings nicknamed ‘Turbo Timmo’, 77 from Burscough, has raised over £11,000 for charity by driving his TGA Breeze mobility scooter the complete length of the Trans Pennine Trail.
Before taking early retirement due to ill health, Frank owned a successful business supplying the motor industry. When his wife Beryl passed away several years ago, Frank’s health deteriorated, and he spent a long time ‘in a dark place’ as he puts it. When he was on the road to recovery, he decided to give something back by organising a fundraiser for causes close to his heart. Frank would attempt to drive the complete length of the Trans Pennine Trail on his TGA scooter in aid of Cancer Research and his local church.
The Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) is a famous 215-mile path that spans Northern England from Hornsea on the East coast of Yorkshire to Merseyside’s Southport in the West. In 2019 Frank started planning his coast-to-coast attempt however Covid postponed his challenge. Undeterred, in the summer of 2022 Frank managed to complete the trail in seven days on his TGA Breeze S4. He received a surprise reception from around 150 well-wishers as he crossed the finish line in Southport on the 17th July.
“I needed to do something that would make Beryl proud,” says Frank. ”So, I decided to do a challenge and my friend suggested tackling the TPT. I can’t walk far and I’ve got mobility problems so have a TGA scooter to get around – it’s great, it’s my car. I knew my Breeze would get me from coast-to-coast, I had complete faith in it.”
Frank set off on the 10th July alongside a cyclist friend who had ridden the TPT before. His knowledge helped Frank keep going especially when there were gates and barriers to overcome. Large distances of the TPT were accessible however many ‘A-frames’ make progress tricky in parts. Nevertheless, by taking the Breeze’s seat off, or lowering the tiller, they never got stuck in a tight spot. It also helped that Frank had organised for many gates to be unlocked – the TPT Manager, Hannah Beaumont, who made this happen was ‘absolute amazing’ he says. Frank hopes his story will raise awareness about the importance of barrier-free trails for people with disabilities.
On the journey Frank’s faith in his scooter was never in doubt: “The performance of my Breeze was great with no complaints. I easily managed around eight hours and 35-miles per day on one charge. I used my heavy-duty batteries which I knew could give me up to 50-miles, on the flat, on a nice summer’s day. My scooter tackled all the terrain even when it got a bit tricky after the pass at the peak, but we kept going. I did a 12-hour, 47-mile stint for the last leg which was a bit tough in the heatwave but seeing the crowds lining the streets at the end made it all worthwhile – it was so emotional.”
Now fully recovered, Frank is back using his scooter for everyday living as he adds: “I use my scooter every day to travel locally or venture out to Preston and Liverpool. Liverpool is around 20-miles away, so I charge up when I get there. I gave up driving years ago, I didn’t see the point. In actual fact, I went in the car with my daughter the other day and do you know what? I prefer being on my scooter. In a car you miss so much of the outside world.”
“In a car you are always going somewhere defined whereas you don’t have to on a scooter – it’s easier to stop and change your mind. I love the flexibility. On my scooter I also talk to lot of people; my journey times can vary so much dependent on who I met. I can get into the countryside in minutes from where I live; it’s very scenic. I especially like to drive along the Liverpool to Leeds canal which has become much improved over the years.“
Frank is already planning his next challenge on his mobility scooter. He aims to beat his fundraising total by travelling much further. His idea is ‘top secret’ for now however donations can still be made to his Cancer Research coast-to-coast fundraiser here