Riding the Bury St Edmunds rickshaw
- Credit: Bury St Edmunds Rickshaw
Betty Ranson felt like royalty as she was pedalled around Bury St Edmunds by rickshaw
It’s the new way to get out and about in Bury St Edmunds.
A rickshaw has taken people, who would otherwise find it difficult to see the sights, more than 1,000 miles since June.
One of them is 89-year-old Betty Ranson, of Bury. “It was marvellous,” she said. “I waved to people as I passed, like the Queen, and got lots of smiles back!
“They took me around the First World War trail. My father was in the war, so I had really wanted to see it. He was in the cavalry and used to go up to the front line to take food to the soldiers, but he said very little about what he had seen.”
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If passengers are not joined by a friend or carer, they can book a volunteer ‘chatty chum’ to accompany them on the free tour of the town in a specially-adapted battery-powered tricycle.
Joan Rowland is 84 and reckons she enjoys each tour as much as the passenger. “I like being with people and I like talking to people,” she said. “I’ve never had a bike so I can’t do the pedalling, but I can definitely do the talking. I’ve done three tours in one day!”
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The rickshaw offers free rides, seven days a week, and evenings too. Specially trained volunteers pedal the rickshaw on each slow and chatty tour of the town, with passengers up from home or day centres.
Sam Reid, one of the founders, said: “It helps people get some fresh air, see what’s happening outside, and be part of their neighbourhood. We get people with dementia coming for rides and they often love being outside, chatting, waving at passers-by. It’s a really joyous, uplifting experience.”
The rickshaw was launched in June, with funding from the town and borough council and a brief to help people who struggle to get out and about. Passengers can request their own route, or be guided by the volunteers - with Bury’s World War I trail particularly popular at the moment.
To request a free ride, call 01284 339449, or visit bserickshaw.org.uk