Hastings care home makes lifelong motorbike dream come true for Diane, 89

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Creative staff at a Hastings care home have made a lifelong dream come true for an 89 year old bike-loving resident.Diane Abbott from Hastings was thrilled to finally sit on a motorbike after years of wanting to do so, when three bike groups from the town congregated in the car park at Hastings Court care home on The Ridge.

“I’ve always wanted to get on a motorbike but when I was young, it wasn’t the done thing,” said Diane. “You’ve got to remember things were very different in the 1950s.

“When this big hulking bit of machinery was in front of me, well I got a bit excited, and I just had to get on it. I’ve always wanted to, and I thought if not now, then when?!”

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Hastings is known for its May Day motorbike rally when riders from across the world descend upon the town. Hastings Court, which provides person-centred residential, nursing, memory and respite care for 80 residents, wanted to recreate the May Day event, bringing the town’s heritage right to the residents’ front door.

Diane was thrilled to finally sit on a motorbikeDiane was thrilled to finally sit on a motorbike
Diane was thrilled to finally sit on a motorbike

“When we take our residents out in our minibus, we can only take three or four at a time, so we thought we’d bring the celebrations to them!” said Lifestyles Team Lead, Frances Gray.

“We are very lucky that we have John Denyer on our lifestyles team. He’s a biker and was able to get in contact with these wonderful people who gave their time so willingly.

“It was a fantastic afternoon. The riders were so generous, discussing their bikes with everyone and letting Diane and some of our other residents sit on their machines. One of our ladies used to ride and you could hear her revving a Harley Davidson two streets away!”

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For resident, Eddie Turner, 92, the event was a trip down memory lane. A former mechanic, he met some friendly faces from his time working at Marina Motors on Bexhill Road.

The home finally made Diane's dream come trueThe home finally made Diane's dream come true
The home finally made Diane's dream come true

“I didn’t expect two of the lads on the bikes to recognise me!” he exclaimed. “It was a total surprise when they asked me if I used to work at Marina Motors. It just goes to show how closely our town is all woven together, that you can bump into someone you haven’t seen in 50 years and they remember you.”

Bikers from The Hogs, Rolling Rides and The Pheasant Pluckers spent a couple of hours chatting with residents and enjoying refreshments provided by the home.

Mark ‘Bomber’ Hopgood from Rolling Rides said it was a thoroughly enjoyable event for them too.

“It was an amazing afternoon, I loved it!” he said.

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Former Hastings mechanic, Eddie Turner, met some friendly facesFormer Hastings mechanic, Eddie Turner, met some friendly faces
Former Hastings mechanic, Eddie Turner, met some friendly faces

The visit was the first in a series of events staff at Hastings Court organised to recreate Hastings’ May Day celebrations. It also hosted the Hastings Maypole Dancers and held a party for residents and their families.

“Many of our residents are from Hastings, or very nearby, and these events are a huge part of who they are,” added Frances.

“If we bring these events to them, it means they can enjoy them with each other and keep in touch with the community that’s so important to them. It’s a huge amount of work but it’s worth it for our residents.”

For Diane, it will certainly be a day she will never forget.

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Riders and residents chatted togetherRiders and residents chatted together
Riders and residents chatted together

“I have marvellous pictures to remind me of sitting on the bike,” she said. “I have never had a photograph of myself that I have wanted to show anyone, but I have had printed one of them out six times, and I am sending them to everyone I know!”

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