Hartlepool gran celebrates turning 80 with ride on vintage scooter

Neil Dobson takes 80-year-old Sylvia Thompson for a spin around the block on his scooter.
Neil Dobson takes 80-year-old Sylvia Thompson for a spin around the block on his scooter.

A petrolhead pensioner had the ride of her life around town on a scooter as part of a special surprise to mark reaching her 80th birthday.

Grandmother Sylvia Thompson, from Swanage Grove in Hartlepool, fulfilled a life-long ambition to ride on the back an iconic scooter.

Julie Dobson takeswith 80-year-old Sylvia Thompson.

Julie Dobson takeswith 80-year-old Sylvia Thompson.

Her wish came true thanks to the help of caring neighbour Eve Timlin who wanted to give her friend an experience to remember as she enters her ninth decade.

Eve enlisted the help of Hartlepool Scooter Club, whose members turned out in force to surprise Sylvia, who has been a widow ever since her husband Derek passed away aged 70 a decade ago.

Friends and neighbours watched on as members of the club arrived to take Sylvia, who is mum to Stephen and Peter and a grandmother of five, out on a vintage Lambretta for a spin.

Stunned Sylvia was expecting a much more serene day after Eve telling her she planned to take her for a slap-up meal instead.

Eve said: “We were out one day at Dalton Park shopping centre and Sylvia saw a picture of a scooter and told me that she had always wanted to go on one.

“So I said to her that as I am 70 in September and she is 80 around the same time, why don’t we have a joint party?

“We arranged to go out for lunch, but instead I went on Facebook and got in touch with the Hartlepool Scooter Club and organised it as a surprise for her.

“I then asked all the neighbours and her family to come along and see her.

“It’s a lovely area and you can see how popular she is by how many have come along to watch.

“We’ve been friends for a long time and I thought this was the least she deserved.”

After taking on the challenge sprightly Sylvia, who turns 80 on Wednesday, said: “It’s been fabulous and not something I was expecting at all.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do for ages and I really enjoyed the ride.

“We used to ride motorbikes years ago and this has brought everything back.

“To have so many people come out and see me is absolutely great, even though it’s been a bit windy.”

Neil Dobson, of the club which is hosting an event at Hartlepool United Supporters’ Club on Sunday from noon, said: “We love doing things like this.

“If it’s something that will put a smile on someone’s face then we’re up for it.

“Hopefully this had made her birthday.”