Maidstone Care Centre resident Gerald Jones, 82, fondly known as ‘Gerry’, often reminisces about his previous pastimes, especially how much he used to love his motorbikes.
He fondly recalls hours spent riding several iconic motorcycle brands over the years including a Triumph, a Vincent and a Norton to name but a few. He was always saying how much he’d love to take in the smell of an engine again.
His recitation of one particular story is always accompanied by a schoolboy smirk: Gerry’s wife mistakenly thought that agreeing to perch on the back of his motorbike would mean a leisurely ride through the countryside. In reality, it meant almost being swept off as he was going so fast. We think it’s safe to assume he probably slept on the sofa that night.
Last month, Amy Roberts, Activities Coordinator at our Maidstone Care Centre in Kent, came up with the lovely idea to see if it was possible to locate a bike similar to one that Gerry had ridden. If Gerry couldn’t go back to his bike anymore, we’d see if we could bring the bike to him. Through family connections, Amy was able to get in touch with a motorcycle enthusiast named Katherine Hook, who was only too delighted to help.
The following week, Amy took Gerry down to Maidstone’s car park, only revealing that she had a surprise for him. No one was prepared for Gerry’s reaction when he saw a silver Norton Dominator sitting there waiting for him. The sight of gleaming paintwork and the familiar sound of an engine purring like a cat blew Gerry away. He affectionately recalled hours upon hours spent polishing his bikes “until I could see my face in them”.
To Gerry’s immense joy, the bike Katherine brought in was the same model and colour as the one he’d owned in the 1960s. He kept repeating in amazement: “That’s my bike, that’s exactly like my bike”. Katherine and Gerry had a long heart-to-heart about motorcycles, and with their expert judgement, both agreed that a Norton motorcycle is a well-built machine.
Gerry whittled away hours happily evoking memories of the wonderful times he spent with his Norton. With eyes welling up, Gerry thanked Katherine and waved goodbye to both her and the Norton — but it was clear to see that his tears were those of joy. “I never thought I’d ever see another Norton”, he exclaimed with a face-splitting grin.
To this day, Gerry continues to tell everyone about the motorcycle lady and the Norton that magically appeared in the car park.