Widow aghast as mobility scooter goes by

AN 80-year-old widow today told how she watched aghast as a Tesco employee tootled round the store's grounds on her mobility scooter.Rita Tomkins, of Knutsford Close, Pinewood, Ipswich, had driven her scooter to Copdock superstore.

AN 80-year-old widow today told how she watched aghast as a Tesco employee tootled round the store's grounds on her mobility scooter.

Rita Tomkins, of Knutsford Close, Pinewood, Ipswich, had driven her scooter to Copdock superstore. However, she found a barrier across a pathway off the main road blocked her entrance to the forecourt.

Finding no other alternative, she was forced to leave the vehicle outside the barrier and walk the rest of the way to the shop.

When Mrs Tomkins emerged some time later, she spotted a member of staff riding past on her scooter heading towards the store.

Although Tesco's catchphrase promises 'Every Little Helps', the sight of the employee driving her vehicle certainly didn't as far as the pensioner was concerned.

She said: “I asked him 'what do you think you are doing with my scooter' and he said he had been told to move it for security purposes to stop it being stolen, but I said 'surely that is my problem'.

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“I was very annoyed. It wasn't even on their grounds.

“I don't see why they could not have put a message across the loudspeaker to announce this or even got someone to wait by it until I got back. If I had got back and found it was not there, I would have had a heart attack.

“The whole thing has made me really nervous about going out. I've only recently lost my husband and I'm still trying to do things for myself. It's all been too much.”

A spokesman for Tesco said: “We apologise to the woman for trying to help her.”

In recent months Mrs Tomkins has had to resort to using a mobility scooter as she suffers from arthritis in her legs.

She is still getting used to driving the scooter and said she was too afraid to ride on the main road leading to the store.

Her son, Richard claimed that had his mother not seen the member of staff on her mobility scooter, she would have walked all the way across the car park to find it had gone and assumed it was stolen.

He added: “I think there was a complete lack of respect for my mother's property.

“The positioning of this barrier prevents the access of mobility scooters along the pathway and forces disabled people to negotiate the busy approach road because this is the only entrance that can be used.

“When the employee agreed to push the scooter back to the barrier for my mother, he had some difficulty getting the machine up the grass bank to get round the barrier. How are disabled people meant to manage that?”

Have you had trouble accessing places with your mobility scooter? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk .

For too long the older generation has been overlooked as people suffer care homes closing, dwindling pensions, hospital wards closing, and not enough carers in the community.

Our new Golden Years series aims to make sure that the older years really are Golden Years.

We will:

Listen to our older generation.

Fight for dignity in old age.

Make sure older people get the voice they need to raise the topics that matter to them.

Crusade on issues affecting pensioners.

Inform older people about the help and assistance available for them.

Dig out those inspirational stories that show old age need not be the barrier to a fulfilled and active life.

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If you have a story for Golden Years, call James Marston on 01473 324731, e-mail james.marston@eveningstar.co.uk or write to him at The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.