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Wheelchair man leaves his mark

PUBLISHED: 19:40 31 January 2002 | UPDATED: 15:25 03 March 2010

WHEN John Norris wheeled in to town you could say he left his mark - or perhaps that should be a snail trail of white paint.

The day started off quite ordinary but as the 79-year old set off for a routine visit to the doctors' surgery his problems began.

WHEN John Norris wheeled in to town you could say he left his mark – or perhaps that should be a snail trail of white paint.

The day started off quite ordinary but as the 79-year old set off for a routine visit to the doctors' surgery his problems began.

First he had no choice but to drive his mobility buggy through a puddle of white paint left on the pavement and then he realised he was blazing a trail along the path and in to the surgery.

Embarrassed was not the word for how he felt as he put white stripes on to the beige waiting room carpet.

Mr Norris, of Tuddenham Avenue, said: "I was going up St Helen's Street to turn into Orchard Street when I saw that someone had dropped a large amount of white paint on the pavement.

"I thought I had missed it but one of my wheels went through it, so I carried on towards the health centre. It was a big puddle of white paint and I couldn't avoid it as it was on the pavement and I'm not allowed on the road. There were ladies with prams that had to go through it as well as they couldn't avoid it either."

The 15cm right rear tyre of the three-wheeled scooter had scooped up a large dollop of the paint, but it wasn't until Mr Norris arrived at the doctors that he was informed of his paint trail, which gave a completely new look to the surgery floor.

He first became aware of his line-painting activities when surgery staff said: "Mr Norris, what have you done?"

"I was really upset as I left a trail of paint all over the upstairs and downstairs carpets. They had to put down cardboard on the floor so I didn't make any more mess on my way out."

Andrea Clarke, manager at the Orchard Street Medical Centre said: "We knew that someone had dropped some paint in that area and another patient soaked up some of the paint on his trainers before coming to the surgery.

"Mr Norris came in the same afternoon and went downstairs, in the lift and upstairs with the paint on his wheels – we tried to lay cardboard down but in the end myself and receptionist Barbara Colman had to get on our hands and knees and scrub it clean."

On his way home, with the makeshift white-line painter still very much in operation, Mr Norris called in at X-Spurt Tyres in Cemetery Road to get help with his sticky situation.

Damian Carrell, of X-Spurt said: "We know Mr Norris as he normally comes in here to get his tyre pressure tested but on the day in question, he came in with the emulsion paint all over his wheel. We tried to get it off with water, but in the end a bit of soap and water was needed to get most of it off. He was scared that his wife was going to kill him if he made a mess at home!"

In the meantime, doctors had made a phone call home and alerted Mrs Norris who had laid down plastic sheeting to await her husband's white-wheeled buggy.

A reflective Mr Norris said: "I saw the funny side of it in the end but I was upset at the time. What I really wanted was a helicopter to get me through that mess on the pavement!"

Knowing his activities has caused staff at the health centre extra work, Mr Norris made a return visit the next day armed with cakes as a way of saying sorry.

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