Why 'petrol head' is riding 25 miles from South Shields to Durham on a mobility scooter

A South Shields man is swapping one set of wheels for another as he takes on a 25 mile charity ride in his mobility scooter.

Ron Harding is riding from South Shields to Durham in his mobility scooter for charity
Ron Harding is riding from South Shields to Durham in his mobility scooter for charity

Ron Harding, 73, is aiming to travel the distance from Hogarth's in South Shields to Durham city centre in his mobility scooter on Saturday, September 7, to raise money for the RNLI and Great North Air Ambulance.

He is hoping to complete the ride in around four hours, setting off from the bar on Mile End Road at 10am.

He will head from South Shields to Whitemare Pool in Gateshead, through Springwell, Birtley and Chester-le-Street before heading down to Pity Me, Framwellgate Moor and finishing at the Three Bridges pub in Durham city centre.

Ron, a lifelong car and motorbike fanatic, got the idea when health issues forced him to invest in a mobility scooter to help him get around earlier this year.

The former electrical engineer has a condition which causes the vertebrae of his spine to wear down and leaves him with limited mobility and unable to fully support his neck.

“I’m full of daft ideas,” said Ron.

“I have wanted to do something for charity for a while but I didn’t know what to do, until I got the scooter about six weeks ago.”

Unable to qualify for an assistance vehicle on the NHS, Ron was forced to sell his prize possessions to fund the scooter.

“I have always loved cars and motorbikes – I used to go from South Shields to Durham on my motorbike all the time,” he explained.

“I was too old to get a scooter on the NHS and they cost around £6,000, so I sold my motorbikes last year and had to get rid of my car.

“I’ve never been without a set of wheels since I was 16.”

Ron, who spent 15 years working on helicopters and many more on the rigs at sea, has decided to split the money he raises between the two charities.

“I’m not putting a figure on it. As long as I raise some money, I’ll be happy,” he added.

“I’m looking forward to it. If it’s sunny it will be great, but I’m prepared, I’ve got my cape.”