Wednesday, July 24th, 2024

On your bike! Residents have a wheely good time on care home’s new tricycle

Residents at a care home in Hildenborough are enjoy the wind through their hair and the freedom of cycling, thanks to its new passenger bike.

The three-wheeled cycle is pedalled by staff at Hyllden Heights on Tonbridge Road, and has a seat at the front plus a seat belt for residents’ safety. It was unveiled at a special launch event at the home where initial rides around the streets offered a taster of the adventures to come.



“I loved it, it was exhilarating!” said resident, Freda Chalis. “I can no longer ride a bike and having this wheelchair-style one means I can still enjoy a ride out.” Pauline Hartfield said she was “honoured” to be chosen to take one of the inaugural rides.

“I had so much fun,” she said. “I can’t wait to do it again!”

Guest of honour on the day was resident Moira Sillet whose family donated more than £1,000 towards purchasing the bike. When her husband Donald, who lived with her at the home, passed away last year, friends were asked for donations instead of flowers.

“We’re absolutely delighted that the wheelchair bicycle is giving joy and happiness to the residents,” said Moira’s daughter Julie Picard. “Our father would have enjoyed an outing to the park himself and I’m sure he would be very pleased to know that we have enabled others to do so.”



Her sister, Deborah Pottinger, said the bike will be an ongoing reminder of their beloved dad.

“It was important for us to feel that we should mark the massive loss of our father with a tangible gain,” she said. “Rather than donating to a national charity, we chose to give to the wheelchair bicycle fund, and we have been able to see first-hand that this has contributed directly to the well-being and pleasure of those residents whose mobility, as for our father latterly, is not what it was. It’s been lovely to hear how much they have enjoyed the bicycle – it helps us to remember our hugely-missed father with a smile.

“This gift, in memory of a beloved husband, father, grandfather and one of life’s gentlemen, will continue to give. As a very giving person throughout his life, that would please him enormously.”

Hyllden Heights is a purpose-built care home offering residential, nursing, memory and respite care for up to 76 people. Its Head of Lifestyles, Sam Allen, said;

“The reaction to the bike rides has been joyful, there have been a lot of ‘whoohoos! The rides release all those endorphins that we need to make us happy. That contributes hugely to the residents’ wellbeing, and the effects last well beyond the rides themselves. The passengers have all said they can’t wait to get back on the bike again soon.”

As well as touring the local streets, staff at Hyllden Heights plan to put the bike in their minibus and take residents for rides at Haysden Lakes.

Deborah added; “We’re just wishing for some beautiful weather now, so that the bicycle can have plenty of use!”


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